Join in ... with St John Ambulance SA
Christine Thompson invites you to become a volunteer first aid officer in Murray Bridge.
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There are plenty of events on at this time of year – many of them with a pair of St John Ambulance volunteers in attendance.
You might have seen them in Murray Bridge’s Christmas pageant, at school sports days, or at a festival, market or race day.
In fact, the Murray Bridge division is asked to attend up to four events per week.
Unfortunately, fewer and fewer volunteers are available to do the job.
Just seven remain on the books at the organisation’s Murray Bridge station, the one near the hospital roundabout, and only four are regularly active.
An event at Murray Bridge Speedway even had to be cancelled in November due to a lack of available St John paramedics, though speedway events are usually staffed by volunteers from Adelaide rather than locals.
Even two or three newbies would make a difference, local volunteer Christine Thompson told Murray Bridge News.
When did you first get involved with St John Ambulance?
I got into it because my mother, sister, brother-in-law and another brother were in it. I started in the background, then my mother retired and I became treasurer … in about 1993.
What do you spend your time doing each week?
Week to week, during school terms, it’s learning, either here or at Mount Barker. We do the skate park, International Day of People with a Disability, Monarto go-karts, Angas go-karts, races … events at Murray Bridge and Strathalbyn, Christmas carols, speedway in the first aid room, shows. If something happens, somebody will walk in or we’ll get a call saying “XYZ has happened, can you go and check them out?” We make sure people stay alive. If you’ve got any doubts, you ring the ambulance. The local ambos are really good.
A lot of times you’ll go out and do events and get nothing – a band-aid and a Panadol.
What do you get out of your involvement?
You go to events you probably would never have thought about attending. We’ve done carriage driving; you thin that’s going to be like watching paint dry but it was fascinating. You get out, go places, meet people. I don’t know people’s names, but you get to know them. If you run into trouble, all those people will help.
A lot of people start at St John and go into the industry: into aged care as a carer for a parent or an aunt or someone, or if they’re younger they’ll keep working at Macca’s, start a nursing course and go on to be a paramedic.
What is your clearest memory of your time with St John?
Probably a CPR. I can think of four. I don’t even remember their names, but they’re the ones you do remember. Broken arms, dislocated shoulders, broken legs, in the end it all merges. There are very few you’ll significantly remember.
What is your goal with St John Ambulance?
I guess I was looking for something a bit different. Since my family had been heavily involved, they needed a treasurer, so in I went. Then I found it interesting.
Why should people join St John Ambulance?
It’s interesting. You learn a lot that can help you in your life. It’s more than just a first aid course. It can teach you how to look after an ill child, help you on your way to being a carer – it’s life skills. You learn how to deal with people who are in trouble, who are possibly panicking: you learn to keep them calm. That’s where the training comes in.
We have a really great group.
More information: Visit www.stjohnsa.com.au or call 1300 785 646.
Clarification: A quote was removed from this post after its publication at St John Ambulance’s request.