There's just been a mid-air crash between a plane and a helicopter. Emergency services rush to the scene, along with a group of Northland teenagers. They're all ready to respond.

The plane crash isn't real – it's a scenario dreamed up for a training exercise as part of Red Cross' Youth in Emergency Services (YES) programme, designed to test the young Northlanders' skills.

The YES programme is run collaboratively with the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management. It is designed to strengthen young people’s connection to their community, encouraging them to engage with a range of emergency services and build their skills. 

The air crash scenario was a chance for the teenagers to put what they learnt during the programme into practice. Actors, props and make-up were used to make the exercise as realistic as possible to measure the participants’ responses under pressure – just like in a real emergency.

The six-week programme ended with a graduation ceremony, where local MPs, parents and whānau came together to celebrate the teenagers' success.