Wells Haslem had the pleasure of being involved in providing ongoing support to the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church’s charity arm the Rapid Relief Team during 2015.

The highlight of the year was the official launch near Hobart of 14 Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) tankers fitted with the revolutionary Compressed Air Foam (CAFS) system. Six of the tankers’ CAFS systems were funded by a $166,000 donation from the Rapid Relief Team (RRT), which had worked for two years to raise the donation after many of its members experienced firsthand the 2013 bushfires at Dunalley and Molesworth in south-east Tasmania.

The six tankers are based at the Dunalley; Bicheno; Dodges Ferry; New Norfolk; Nubeena; and Bagdad Volunteer Fire Brigades. CAFS uses significantly less water to produce foam concentrate for firefighting suppression.The tankers were part of a fleet or 14 trucks officially launched by the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, the Hon Rene Hidding MP, in October at a ceremony attended by members of the RRT.

The Team’s national co-ordinator, Daniel Alderton, spoke at the ceremony and handled media interviews with aplomb. His Wells Haslem media training clearly paying off! The event was covered by ABC TV, WIN TV, the Hobart Mercury, Launceston Advocate, Burnie Advocate, Melbourne Herald Sun and Brisbane Courier Mail. Dan says the RRT volunteers provided catering services to TFS crews fighting the 2013 fires and were inspired by their bravery and commitment. “The RRT team saw how stretched those TFS crews were and wanted to ensure that the next time they faced a similar emergency they were better equipped to protect Tasmanians,” Dan said.

“The RRT sent out an appeal to the PBCC community in Tasmania and interstate and was overwhelmed by the generosity it received,” he said.

The Rapid Relief Team is a volunteer, not-for-profit organisation, set up to support local communities in times of need; it assists at charity events, helps the homeless and feeds emergency personnel during natural disasters. 

Wells Haslem’s social media specialist, Maddison Richards, has provided advice to the RRT around its efforts to raise its profile in the digital space. 

Following Maddie’s advice, the RRT has split its original single Facebook page into three – one for each of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It has also taken to Instagram and LinkedIn. 

2015 was the RRT’s biggest year to date. 

By December the charity had assisted at 331 events; served over 47,000 meals and involved 3,220 of its volunteers. And that’s just in Australia. 

Highlights included providing snacks and drinks to participants during a three-day Pollie Pedal bike ride in northern Tasmania, launched by then Prime Minister Tony Abbott; Cooking some 1100 gourmet hamburgers for the staff at Westmead Children’s Hospital’s Christmas Party; Purchasing and retro-fitting a Volkswagen Caravelle vehicle for the Mills family of Newcastle, whose two daughters, Leanna and Bethany have Primary Dystonia; and providing cooked breakfast and lunches to over 4000 people attending Homeless Connect at Sydney Town Hall. Similar efforts have been rolled out in New Zealand, the UK and North America.