by Helen Martin
While St John’s ambulance operations are 72% funded by Government, the organisation relies on the generosity and support of the public to help fund the balance, including new ambulances and equipment such as first response kits and defibrillators. It was therefore a very joyful ceremony outside the library on 5 August, when ASB Regional Manager Ngaire Angus presented St John Helensville with a fabulous 2020 GEN-4ambulance. Those at the ceremony included ASB, along with its mascot elephant and St John staff and volunteers and members of the Helensville community. The patron of the St John Northern Region Trust Board Richard Blundell KStJ accepted the ambulance on behalf of the St John Order and, after it was blessed by St John District Chaplain Rev. Dr Colin Marshall, a group of excited St John Youth cadets and penguins unwrapped the sparkling new vehicle.
Acknowledgement was made of the generosity of South Head resident, the late Bruce Cochrane, who gifted Helensville’s last ambulance to the community. As explained by St John Waitemata Territory Manager Mike McAulay OStJ, that ambulance is still in use, but because its mileage is now at 330,000 km, to extend its life it will be doing a 12-hour day around Waitakere Hospital from now on. He says St John is grateful for the ongoing support of ASB, as the typical lifespan of an ambulance is eight years. “The new ambulance is fully equipped with lifesaving equipment. It is also fitted with new features including advanced driving aids, which offer both ambulance officers and patients increased safety and security.”
Some useful facts and figures:
As a 12-year partner of St John, ASB’s donation is the first ambulance to kickstart St John’s winter 2020 fundraising campaign to increase the number of frontline ambulances to prepare for winter and uncertainty over COVID-19. On average, St John attended 90emergency incidents per month in Helensville over the last 12 months to 30 June2020.
ASB’s involvement with St John:
All ASB branches are equipped with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) and have first aid-trained staff ready to help in an emergency; in 2016 ASB became the sponsor of ASB St John in Schools, a first aid programme which teaches Kiwi children lifesaving skills and the confidence to take action in an emergency; ASB staff contribute to the St John Annual Appeal fundraising campaign and volunteer on St John Area Committees, at local St John events, and as Caring Callers; this is the eighth ambulance ASB and its customers have donated in recent years to St John.
St John provides emergency ambulance services to 90% of New Zealanders and covers 97% of the country’s geographical area. With more than 540,000 calls into their 111 Ambulance Communications centres and more than 470,000 patients treated and/or transported to hospital in the past year, their ambulance officers are at the frontline of emergency services. St John has more than 4,000 paid and volunteer ambulance officers and more than 700 ambulances and operational vehicles throughout the country, responding to emergencies 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It offers a range of free community health services including Caring Caller, Health Shuttles, Friends of the Emergency Department and St John Youth and also delivers event health services, medical alarm services and first aid training, and operates St John stores across the country, including one in Helensville.