The Rescue and Technical Support Team (the RATS) is a volunteer Civil Defence response team. The team of volunteers are highly motivated and skilled at assisting Canterbury communities during Civil Defence emergencies. The team, if requested, can also support the emergency services in their normal daily duties.
The team is owned by Environment Canterbury on behalf of the Canterbury CDEM Group. It is also supported by its own charitable trust, the Rescue and Technical Support Team Trust.
In May 2003 the team became the first team to be registered nationally as a New Zealand Response Team. Designated as NZ-RT 1, the team is available to support any other area in New Zealand in response to an emergency.
Updates and activities
For updates and coverage of what the R.A.T.S team has been up to lately, check out their Facebook page.
We train hard and regularly so we can provide service to our community in time of need.
Ian Craig had a major impact on rescue and emergency response locally, regionally and nationally.
Ian began the development of this legacy as a dog handler with the New Zealand Red Cross Search Dog Unit. While he quickly moved on to be the Team Leader of the local Emergency Relief Team, Ian's belief of the value of search dogs continued and he was instrumental in the development and implementation of national USAR dog standards.
In 1996 Ian was appointed the Chief Rescue Instructor for Environment Canterbury Civil Defence. At this time, he also started the Rescue and Technical Support Team. The R.A.T.S, under his leadership, developed skills in many areas and are recognised for bringing the term "professional volunteers" into reality. Soon after Ian's death the R.A.T.S received accreditation as the first registered USAR Response Team and the members wear NZ-RT1 badge in Ian's honour.
With the more recent development of a national Urban Search and Rescue structure, Ian was involved with the National Training and Standards Working Group. In this forum the concept of the "Orange Card" was developed and Ian himself was one of the first recipients of this USAR Responder qualification. He was also played an integral role in the development of national training courses and assessment for instructors consistent with his strong personal belief on the need for high standards of training for all involved with rescue and response. In 2001 Ian completed the Category 2 USAR Technician's course and was a member of USAR Taskforce 2.
While this is only a snapshot of Ian's personal achievements, what he will also be remembered for is his ability to inspire others. His passion for rescue and the need to have a well-prepared community, and his belief in the role of volunteers attracted many to become involved. He was a friend and mentor to many.
Rest in Peace.