Volunteer and help save lives

Daryna ZadvirnaNarrogin Observer
Lyn Hilder, Dee Patterson, Louise Pomykala, Jodie George and Patricia Moulton.
Camera IconLyn Hilder, Dee Patterson, Louise Pomykala, Jodie George and Patricia Moulton. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

St John Ambulance Narrogin is desperately calling for more volunteers, as the station struggles to keep up with daytime call-outs.

As with all other small communities in regional and remote areas, Narrogin relies on volunteers to provide lifesaving ambulance services.

But St John also relies on the same community to provide the volunteers to run the service.

According to St John Narrogin vice-chairwoman Patricia Moulton, the station has been running low on volunteers for some time, particularly for day shifts.

“People need an ambulance with volunteers ready to go and we’re getting very, very desperate,” she said.

“We’re down to just a few volunteers and they’re either retired, working part-time or mums and are not always available during the day, so sometimes we can’t send anyone out.”

Ms Moulton said there had been several occasions where a St John Williams or Wagin ambulance had to be dispatched to Narrogin due to the lack of local volunteers available.

“I strongly encourage anyone, of almost any age who is reasonably fit to put their hand up,” she said. “Even if we could just get five or six drivers, so we’d only need one volunteer instead of two to go out, it would be a huge benefit for the community.

“For a driver, you just need your first aid training, which we’re happy to supply with the volunteer drivers course.”

Ms Moulton said the increasing workload had also significantly added to the strain on the station.

“We used to get about 350 calls a year, whereas now we’re probably getting over 1200,” she said.

“So we’re averaging out at about three or four a day and the volunteers we do have are getting burnt out and too old to do it.”

St John Narrogin vice chair Patricia Moulton.
Camera IconSt John Narrogin vice chair Patricia Moulton. Credit: Daryna Zadvirna

Narrogin police customer service officer Diane Ferguson has been a St John Ambulance volunteer for six years and said the role could not be more rewarding.

“It’s like a big family here,” she said. “It’s such a great way to give back to the community and it’s always so nice to get a big thank you for helping someone and getting them to the hospital in time.”

A St John Ambulance WA spokesperson said there were strategies in place to help sub-centres when numbers required attention.

“On occasion some ambulance sub-centres require recruitment of more volunteers to achieve the optimum numbers required to spread the workload of 24/7 response amongst the available clinical volunteers,” the spokesperson said.

“In those cases we can give a break to our amazing volunteers by calling on neighbouring sub-centres to help.

“St John also deploys community paramedics in the regions to drive recruitment, retention and training of clinical volunteers.”

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