Rescue squad plight
By GENEVIEVE ALLPASS
THE Tweed District Rescue Squad needs a sponsor - and fast. The price of fuel has hit our emergency services so hard that the TDRS has lost a sponsor and its volunteers are having to pay for petrol out of their own pockets. The squad's major response vehicle Rescue 3 lost one of its sponsors recently and TDRS President Graham Benard and other volunteers have been left with the bill. "The increase in the price of fuel affects our sponsors a lot," Mr Benard said. "If the fuel costs more then it costs the sponsors more and some just can't keep up with the cost." This comes at a time when other rescue services on the Tweed are coming under pressure because of rising fuel and ancillary costs. The Tweed Coast Rescue Squad, Volunteer Marine Rescue and even RACQ Careflight are all feeling the pinch with the latest fuel price inflation. Mr Benard yesterday had to fill the Rescue 3 tank after a major rescue on the border the day before and at $125.9 cents a litre, he paid $60.43 out of his own wallet. "It does put a stress on my personal finances and it will continue for myself and other volunteers until we can get a sponsor," he said. "We share it amongst us but it just makes it all harder because we have to dig deeper into our own expense accounts." The TDRS is responsible for such services as releasing motorists from cars if they have been trapped inside after an accident, assisting the Ambulance service in emergencies and search and rescue. They attend an average of 120 accidents or rescue missions a year and have been part of the Tweed district for 33 years. The group has 14 active members and runs three trucks.