Rescue team to be proud of

Retrospective and portrait of outgoing president Enrico Hazenoot

Enrico Hazenoot had four goals in mind when he became chairman of the Noordwijk Rescue Brigade (NRB) eleven years ago. During the 100th Annual General Meeting on Friday 26 March, Enrico handed over the gavel to Harry Admiraal. A look back and portrait of an inspired (brigade) man.

Enrico is 13 years old when he reports to the Noordwijk Rescue Brigade. He is warmly welcomed by Jan Ooms (senior) and Wim Star with whom he will follow the lifeguard training. It is the beginning of a lifelong dedication to the brigade or, as Enrico puts it: "I got the lifeguard bug early on." There he meets his wife Liesbeth who is also a lifeguard.

Swimming as a basis

In 1978, Enrico became a swimming instructor. "It is very important that you instruct people, young and old, about the dangers of the sea and teach them how to handle them." Elementary swimming, the Swim IQ, is the important foundation, according to him, to be able to save yourself. "Those basics may be highlighted much more. For lifeguards, sport is also an important component. You have to be in good shape to be able to carry out rescue operations in the sea and surf under high time pressure. After all, your own safety is always paramount.

He remembers a lifeguard exam at another lifeguard center. From a raft with a 6 hp outboard motor, he painstakingly sets out a 40-meter line of floating anchors in a high sea, prior to the exam. For one of the candidates, the swimming course turned out to be too difficult due to the circumstances and he was hastily pulled out of the sea. An experience that opens his eyes early on to the risks in the sea. Several times he experiences drowning. "Fortunately, we usually get there in time, or bathers manage to save themselves. But when an incident like this occurs, it has a major impact on everyone involved. Therefore, it is important to take care of your rescuers after every action, regardless of the consequences, and provide aftercare where necessary.”

Enrico also participates in the Emergency Response Team, which is available for deployment 24 hours a day, year round. He participates with the Alarm Squad in exercises and deployments in the Netherlands, such as during the actions in Limburg during the flooding of the Meuse River in the 1990s. In addition to the brigade, Enrico also has a soft spot for politics. From 1998 to 2010 he was a member of the City Council.

"We are lucky in Noordwijk that mayors show a lot of interest in the work of our rescue team. Over the years, they have regularly been seen at the posts on the beach. And recently during our 100th anniversary on March 9, Mayor Wendy Verkleij was present.

Enrico Hazenoot at far left, 4th from left Harry Groen

File of format

It is March 26, 2010 when Enrico is elected at the General Assembly (ALV) as the successor to Hans Bal, who was previously chairman of the NRB board for over 19 years. Then-mayor Harry Groen offered the brand-new president and outgoing city council member the council chamber as a meeting location for this ALV. A memorable start for Enrico who, together with the board, immediately brought along a dossier of stature. "After all, the board had been looking for new housing since 1992. I set myself the goal of finding a new home no matter what." This is much needed.

People, equipment and materials are increasing in size and with them the need for a suitable building close to the sea. It turns out to be no easy task. The file grows to several meters over the years. Various locations and forms of cooperation are considered, as well as political and administrative discussions. In the winter of 2008-2009, along a large part of Wilhelmina Boulevard, a so-called dike in dunes is constructed as part of the coastal reinforcement project. Enrico sees an opportunity for new construction on the beach.

Not long after that, in 2014, then alderman Bas Brekelmans pointed out to him that the old clubhouse of the Sailing Association (ZVN) was about 80 cm too low according to the standards of the Water Board. This is the basis for cooperation with the ZVN and cooperation of the municipality to achieve a new rescue station and clubhouse for the ZVN. "In this 100th anniversary year 2021, the plan comes to fruition. With the ZVN, the NRB will move into a beautiful multifunctional building at the height of Huis ter Duin during this year, each in its own separate part of the building."

Safety Region

A next objective will arise with the restructuring of the Safety Regions in 2010, of which the NRB will be a part. With the Safety Region, Coast Guard, KNRM and Reddingsbrigade Nederland Enrico is working out agreements on cooperation. "It is a unique moment for us as coastal brigades when these agreements result in a covenant with the Hollands-Midden Safety Region in 2011. An example that will be followed by other safety regions." One of the consequences is the aforementioned joint national exercises with the Alarm Squad. "These are exercises where we often use 2 vlets. It is very intensive and at the same time we always had a lot of fun on the road in the Laro (Landrover).

Lifesaving World Cup 2016

In 2012, Reddingsbrigade Nederland approached Enrico with the request to organize the Lifesaving Ocean Events, part of the international World Lifesaving Championships, on the Noordwijk beach and Boulevard in 2016. A unique opportunity according to Enrico and the board and agrees. "I'm still proud of how we pulled this off. A huge organization for our volunteers. We can look back on a unique, spectacular and successful event."

Enrico didn't hear a single whimper after the event. And the same was true for the brigade's colleagues in Eindhoven, where another part of the World Cup took place in the Pieter van den Hoogeband swimming stadium.

The youth and the future

After 11 years as president, Enrico handed over the gavel on March 26. 'I really wanted to experience the milestone of the 100th anniversary as president. Now it is time for new blood, for the good of the association. I have every confidence in my successor Harry Admiraal, who knows the NRB inside out. He has been a member of the Alarm team, a board member of a previous board, and for the past six months, a deputy secretary in the current board. In this function, he took the initiative to work on renewal for a future-proof brigade. See also the Multi-Year Policy Plan NRB-2021-2023. During the ALV Enrico was appointed honorary member of the association for his many years of service. When asked what he would like to give as a message to the NRB he replied: 

"Nurture the youth. Try to interest and engage them. For example, with attractive, suitable material for youth lifeguards. Give them (appropriate) responsibility. Feel free to let them have a slip, but in a responsible way."

"The residents of Noordwijk should be proud of having a rescue team like the NRB in their community. And please be all welcome on the beach to learn about our new building and how we operate during the year."