Ambulance Victoria calls for Wimmera volunteers

AMBULANCE Victoria has called on Wimmera residents to consider becoming a part-time ambulance community officer at Hopetoun and Rainbow or to join the community emergency response team at Jeparit.

Hopetoun ambulance community officer team leader Kathy Poulton, who has been a team member for almost 20 years, said first responders including ambulance community officers and response team volunteers played an important role in rural and regional Victoria by working alongside career paramedics to deliver treatment to patients.

“The volunteers are members of our community, who have an interest in patient care,” she said.

“We need more people to put their hands up and get involved to help people in their time of need.”

Volunteers attend traffic accidents, respiratory and cardiac cases and a variety of incidents, which require emergency care.

Both ambulance community officers and response teams have the same training when they are inducted.

“This is followed up by regular monthly sessions to build upon what has already been taught,” Ms Poulton said.

Ambulance community officers also have additional driver and occupational, health and safety training as they are also involved with transporting patients.

“Volunteers can be employed, self-employed, not working or semi-retired,” Ms Poulton said.

“They are also always supported by paramedics from nearby towns once they have been called out to assist someone who is ill or injured.”

Volunteers are required to be available for a minimum of 20 hours a month, which might involve after hours and weekend rostering. 

“Community emergency response team volunteers do not transport patients, but are first responders dispatched at the same time as an ambulance to potentially life threatening emergencies,” Ms Poulton said.

‘They provide advanced first aid until the ambulance arrives and provide timely responses to medical emergencies, with early intervention and support for patients.”

Ms Poulton said community spirit and involvement was an integral part of Hopetoun.

“Hopetoun has traditionally always had high levels of support, so it would be fantastic to draw on that community spirit in our time of need,’ she said.

Ms Poulton said more more information in becoming a volunteer, people can call paramedic community support co-ordinator Greg Hallam on 0448 457 260 or email frwimmera.apply@ambulance.vic.gov.au.