St John needs more volunteers

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The Ranfurly St John Ambulance crew is being stretched to its limits and needs another five volunteers, station manager Glenis Crutchley says.

Mrs Crutchley said volunteers were covering up to four extra shifts a week to ensure the service was available 24 hours a day, but the current workload was not sustainable.

“It’s not fair. It’s not healthy and you can’t expect that of people.

“It’s the day shifts that are giving us huge problems.

“We’ve never been offline .. we don’t want to do that to the community.

“On weekends we don’t have a doctor .. It’s one way when people take ill they can get to the right medical help in a time of need.”

While three people were lined up to begin training in September, Mrs Crutchley said the station needed as many volunteers as it could get. She encouraged anyone with flexible hours during the day to consider giving back to the community.

“Another five people would be ideal.

“We’d just really like people to come forward to help their community.

“We need to be looking at getting younger people on board to carry it on.”

Ideally, volunteers would cover two shifts a week, which involves being on-call from 7.30am to 6pm or 6pm until the following morning, although Mrs Crutchley said there was a possibility of splitting the day shifts.

“I’m very flexible to make it work.”

Qualities of a good volunteer included being a good listener, confidentiality, empathy and staying cool, calm and collected under pressure, she said. Helping someone in a time of need was a rewarding aspect of the role, she said.

“I’ve been here for 29 years, so it’s not all bad.

“You meet lovely people, you work with lovely people.”

Training to become a St John volunteer included several courses covering elements such as trauma response, first aid, and a driving course.

Anyone interested in becoming a St John volunteer is asked to contact Mrs Crutchley on 027 437 5247 or Duncan Helm on 027 276 7022.