Surf Studio: Brittaney Banks and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones
In the latest episode of Surf Studio we chat to Brittaney Banks from North Bondi who talks us through her journey in surf lifesaving from Nipper at Fingal Beach to her passion in the Support Operations crew for Surf Life Saving Sydney Branch as a Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone Pilot.
“I started as from under sixes, when I started as a little Nipper, Dad decided that I needed to join Surf Life Saving,” Brittaney says of her first introduction to surf lifesaving.
“From there I became involved in competition… and really fell in love with the sport and originally started as a competitor.
“And then I really found my passion for support operations and everything really outside of the competition world when I moved to North Bondi and became involved with Sydney Branch.”
Not only is Brittaney a surf sports competitor, volunteer surf lifesaver and part of the SLS Sydney Branch Support Operations team but she is also an emergency paediatric nurse and currently studying to become a qualified paramedic.
“I now work in emergency and one of the biggest things that surf lifesaving has taught me is managing myself, caring for myself and also managing in stressful situations,” Banks said.
“Something I wasn’t prepared for when I finished university and what they really can’t prepare you for is the real world and surf lifesaving allowed me to see parts of what the real world was like.
“Moving into full time work and having an outlet in surf lifesaving…having that outlet on the weekends or in the afternoon just to go and ski paddle was something that’s really helped me out.”
As one of the drone pilots for the SLS Sydney Branch Support Operations, Brittaney has experienced how effective the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drones program is in search and rescue scenarios and recalls a recent rescue off the cliffs of Bondi Beach.
“We were searching for a missing person that had left their identification at the bottom of the cliff,” Banks said of the recent Support Operations mission.
“We did a big search with police divers, lifeguards at Bondi, obviously surf lifesaving duty officer’s teams, Surf Rescue 30 and the jet ski, just to assist and support those operations with looking in close to those cliffs
“What we identified and a lot of people with us identified was how useful the drones were at really getting in close to the cliff edges and identifying if there was something or someone there that we could be searching for that previously we haven’t had that the access too.”
If you or someone you know would like to become involved in the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Drone program, please get in contact with your local branch, State or Territory for more information.
Surf Studio is regular online show with each episode featuring stories from around Australia and covering a range of topics such as sport, lifesaving, leadership, education etc and Surf Life Saving Australia encourages everyone to be involved. If you, or anyone you know has a story that you would like to share via Surf Studio please email [email protected]