Blessing for new St John lifesaver on wheels
BY JULIA WADE
A specially designed, brand new vehicle designated to enhance the healthcare of the people of Kaipara was the centre of attention recently at a public dedication event.
As part of the welcoming ceremony at the Otamatea St John station on August 31, the new emergency First Response Unit (FRU) received a blessing by local pastor Paul Chambers. Also in attendance was the St John crew, members of the community, Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith and Northland MP Matt King, who both expressed their admiration and gratitude for the work of St John and its officers in the district.
In mid-July, a fleet of 14 Volkswagen FRU’s specifically designed to support New Zealand’s rural and remote communities, made their debut in the country, with a further 60 vehicles to be rolled out nationwide over the next two to three years.
The FRU will not only enhance response times in the community, an important step by St John to improve the equity and access of healthcare to all New Zealanders, it will also benefit the areas volunteers says St John Rodney territory manager Megan Fairly.
“This FRU will be operated by volunteers, who play a crucial part in the delivery of our emergency ambulance services. It will enhance emergency response times in isolated communities, allowing for patients to be located, treated quicker then transported locally or to meet a helicopter or transporting ambulance. This means there will be shorter job cycle times and volunteers can remain in their local community,” she says. "We are thankful for our amazing group of paid ambulance officers who do a great job of guiding and mentoring our volunteers and ensuring we can provide the care our community needs.”
Every day St John has more than 3300 clinical volunteers on the frontline of emergency call-outs, saving lives and providing clinical care to those in need, and the Otamatea organisation is now calling for more volunteers to join the station.
Besides helping others, volunteering with St John can also benefit volunteers’ personal lives, providing an opportunity to build social networks, connect with the community, learn new skills and knowledge, gain work experience, boost career options as well as self-esteem, and help find a sense of purpose, meaning and direction in their lives.
Interested in becoming a volunteer? Visit join.stjohn.org.nz or call 0800 ST JOHN.
Kaipara mayor Dr Jason Smith, Megan Fairly, Paul Chambers, MP Matt King, and Stephen Rosser with Otamatea’s new emergency FRU, donated by George and Laura Chan. The FRU is the fourth emergency vehicle the Chan family has donated to St John.