St John volunteers caring for the safety of field day visitors

 August 14, 2015

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At Henty, the St John team usually includes a paramedic, nurses, first responders and cadets.

The last thing on a field days visitor’s mind is the need for the expert skills of the St John first aid volunteers.

But, in the last few years there have been three visitors suffering cardiac related conditions, with the quick response by the on-site St John paramedic and first responders saving their lives.

Three volunteers from the Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative were presented with Save A Life Awards by St John Ambulance after a medical emergency at the 2013 field days.

Joshua Maher, Holbrook, Barry Scholz, Culcairn, and Ross Harper, Mangoplah, were recognised for their co-ordinated effort with a team of highly skilled health care professionals from the St John First Event Health Services when an elderly man collapsed at the field days.

St John (NSW) area manager Helen Chant, of Albury, said the early intervention by the volunteers and health professionals had saved the patient’s life.

“The volunteers ensured there was clear access to the patient and communicated well with the St John Ambulance team to ensure the best outcome for the patient,’’ Mrs Chant said.

This year, St John first aid trainers will be among the guest speakers in the Country Lifestyle pavilion, with demonstrations of defibrillators, cardiac pulmonary resuscitation and first aid advice for the home and farm.

The St John’s Albury Member and Training Centre in Kiewa Street provides a meeting place for the Albury Division of St John volunteers, and is a central training venue for a range of first aid courses for the public.

Until 2013, St John had relied on the generosity of local clubs to provide the venue for divisional meetings and first aid training.

Training is also conducted regularly in Wagga, and will be available in other regional areas such as Corowa and Griffith soon.

St John is a not-for-profit organisation active in NSW for more than 130 years and is now one of Australia’s largest first aid training organisation.

Each year, St John teaches practical life saving skills to more than 86,000 people in NSW and attends more than 8000 events and emergencies.

St John is a leading provider of first aid training, kits and products to keep homes and workplaces safe.

The proceeds of these activities support the voluntary efforts in the community in the areas of event first aid, childhood literacy, immunisation support and ophthalmic programs.

“St John (NSW) is a trusted organisation of highly skilled volunteers who assist in first aid and first response situations by providing community event support, empowered learning programs and essential care when you need us,’’ Mrs Chant said.

“Our volunteers have enthusiasm for helping others.

“At Henty, our team usually includes a paramedic, nurses, first responders and cadets.

“For the cadets, Henty is a real development opportunity and allows them to interact with the public and health care professionals.

“Our volunteers initially come to us with basic first aid skills and we train them to advanced levels including the use of oxygen, AED and pain management.

“We also offer them the opportunity to develop skills in areas such as logistics, communications and management.

“When we come to Henty we have a paramedic with us – some of our volunteers are health care professionals in their day job.

“Recognised healthcare professionals are encouraged to volunteer, assisting in education and training, as well as taking on advanced roles at major events.’’

Mrs Chant said St John junior volunteers start at eight years of age, graduating to become cadets at 11 and adult members at 18.

“Henty is the biggest event of the year in our region and we look forward to it like looking forward to Christmas,’’ she said.

“We love coming out because we feel like we are part of the family there, we enjoy the atmosphere and the relationship we have with the field days committee and staff.’’

Mrs Chant said the event was an ideal learning opportunity for volunteers seeking extra interaction with the St John health care professionals.

“It’s a great way to allow the wider community to learn a bit more about St John,’’ she said.

Mrs Chant said the St John team was fully equipped to manage any pre-hospital care, however, patient transport was provided by Ambulance NSW.

She said St John received no government funding and first aid courses help subsidised the voluntary first aid work, including the purchase of uniforms, equipment and training.

“Every workplace, work vehicle and home should have a first aid kit. We would also love to see more workplaces with defibrillators.

“It’s also important people know what to do with the contents of that first aid kit and have access to a first aider in their workplace.

“We encourage the public to talk to us at the field days about training and volunteering opportunities, look at the kits we have in our pop up shop and hear information about first aid courses.’’