There’s an ad which sometimes plays on TV with someone singing “It’s a Coffee Club kind of day”. I didn’t visit that coffee club today, but to the Cancer Society Coffee Club, held monthly, which is a support group for patients and family members. Or in my case, former patients who just like to keep in touch. My quilt club, Town and Country Quilters, loan quilts to hang inside the house, and these are rotated regularly, so I like to check them out when I attend. Helen from my Sew Wot group has taken over the responsibility of supplying Winchester House with quilts this year, and her lovely peach and green row by row quilt was in pride of place today.
Our speaker was Eric, the Station Manager of St John’s Ambulance Service, which covers a large area from Peka Peka Beach in the south, to Shannon in the north. Eric asked the audience how many had dialled 111 for the ambulance, and just about everyone raised their hand – except me. He went on to tell us that the calls are routed through the communication centre, and the particular procedures which must be followed step by step to collect information. Generally the person phoning through is upset and distressed and cannot understand why all these questions need to be asked.
Levin has three ambulances, one is dedicated to hospital transfers for rest home patients, or those who are immobile, and the other two are used for emergency work. The ambulances in our area clock up in excess of 110,000kms a year, travelling the roads to call outs and accidents, and on to the Palmerston North hospital and back.
This dedicated man obviously enjoys the challenges of his job, and is pleased that funds will be shortly made available to increase the number of full time paid staff nationwide by 158, with just two coming to Levin. Volunteers often help with double crewing the ambulances, and have the same qualifications as the paid staff. Eric was full of praise for these people who so selflessly give up their time, attend training sessions, sit exams, and often hold down full time jobs as well.
After answering questions from the floor Eric checked his watch. Ooops, he was running late, and had to get back to the station, no time to stop and join us for morning tea. Like many households in our area, we have joined St Johns which gives us a push button medical alarm to call the ambulance in case of an emergency. And peace of mind knowing that help is close to hand if needed.