No declared emergencies

Saturday 29 Apr - 3:40 pm


NZ-RT1 (RATS) Canterbury

Key contacts

Team Leader

Ian Ross


Phone: 021 763 227

Team Manager

James Thompson

Team Leader

Regional Emergency Management Office

Canterbury CDEM Group


Phone: 027 277 1505

Web site

History and activities

The RATS (Rescue and Technical Support) team was formed in 1996 by Ian Craig and other Civil Defence and Red Cross volunteers who wanted to develop a specialist high angle rope rescue and K9 search team. The team is supported and managed by Environment Canterbury on behalf of the Canterbury CDEM Group. The team is also supported through its charitable trust.

With the development of USAR capability in New Zealand in the early 2000’s the team took on this as a natural development of CD General (Basic) Rescue. The team became registered as NZ-RT1 in May 2003.

These days the team concentrates on:

  • Light rescue / General rescue
  • High angle rope rescue
  • Communications
  • PHEC level first aid / patient care

Some team members are also trained in confined space rescue and swift water rescue.

The search dog component of the RATS is now mostly absorbed into USAR Task Force II although there is still a relationship through the team’s trust and occasional joint training and exercising.

The team has a maximum size of 20 members and recruits new team members every one to two years. There is a waiting list for people interested in becoming team members.

The team trains regularly on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings with the occasional full weekend away for exercises.

Team goals

The team is dedicated to achieving high standards of professionalism and expertise in our chosen fields.

The overall goal is to support the people of Canterbury whenever a response is required. It does this through training hard and personal dedication.