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Safe Summer Coromandel promotes safety messages

This summer emergency services and health professionals are determined to reduce the number of deaths and injuries in the Coromandel by working together to promote several safety messages.

A recent report shows there were 11 deaths around the Coromandel and several people suffered serious injuries in the 2010/2011 summer period.

That year over 250 young people were treated in the St John tent at Coromandel Gold that year – the majority because they had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol.

Initially the campaign began out of discussions between Police and St John Ambulance. However, the initiative now involves a 14 agencies and emergency services who work together to promote safety messages across the Coromandel during the summer period.

The current partners are St John and New Zealand Police, NZ Fire Service, Thames Valley Rural Fire Authority, Land Search and Research, Maritime Safety NZ, Surf Life Saving NZ, ACC, the Hauraki Family Violence Intervention Network, Coast Guard, Thames Coromandel District Council, Eastern Waikato Road Safety, Hauraki Herald and Population Health Waikato District Health Board.

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Dr Ruth Large

This year the campaign will focus on boat and water safety, drinking in moderation and sun safety.

Thames Hospital emergency department clinical leader Ruth Large said the reality is people travel to Coromandel to have a good time, safety is an important part of that.

“It is a horrible time of the year to lose someone, especially if it is avoidable sadness,” she said.

Senior Sargent Graham Shields of Thames Police said the messages they had developed “piggy backed” off national campaigns.

“We sort of added our own flavour to things like the Say Yeah, Nah campaign and wearing your seatbelt,” said Shields.

Shields reiterated some of the national campaign messages but said the number one avoidable death in the Coromandel over summer where cardiac arrests.

“We have about eight cardiac arrests to one drowning. People come up here and decided to get really fit but then just overdo it. We want people to enjoy the outdoors but think about their own limitations,” he said.

His final also stressed the importance of properly fitted life jackets.

“A life jacket has to be fit for the purpose – if you buy a life jacket that will fit kids next year it is no good for this year. It is a false economy,” he said.

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