New ambulance for Kawerau
16 February 2018
A BRAND-NEW St John ambulance has found its home in Kawerau.
The $178,000 ambulance was blessed during a ceremony at the Kawerau ambulance station in River Road on Tuesday.
St John communications advisor Jess Miller said the new ambulance would replace the current one, which was reaching its maximum kilometre limit.
The new emergency vehicle was made possible through a grant to St John from the New Zealand Community Trust.
“The ambulance service in Kawerau has seen a steady increase in demand over the last five years,” said Ms Miller.
“Our ambulance responded to over 1400 incidents in the past 12 months, and many of these jobs involved travel over rural roads where patients are then transferred to either Rotorua or Whakatane hospitals.
“In the last year, 60 percent of the jobs we attended were classified as immediately life threatening or time critical.”
At the blessing, representatives from St John, New Zealand Community Trust, Cayman’s Sports Bar, and the Kawerau community were on hand to welcome the new vehicle.
St John central region infrastructure support manager Colin Tan said the ambulance was equipped with advanced latest technology which kept staff safe and patients comfortable.
Where two paramedics previously had to lift a patient on a stretcher into an ambulance, the new vehicle is equipped with a fully motorised hydraulic stretcher which can lift over 300 kilograms at the touch of a button.
“Everything is within reach and it comes with a mobile data terminal, and staff can process patient reports electronically.”
Kawerau St John staff have undertaken training to become familiar with the ambulance’s new technology and equipment.
“With the new stretchers, staff refuse to go back to the old ones,” Mr Tan said.
The old vehicle had served the Kawerau community for eight years.
St John Eastern Bay territory manager Richard Waterson the new ambulance was a good boost for the staff who now have something brand new.
“Rural centres don’t normally get new ambulances.
“We have a good core group here in Kawerau and four paid staff now. They operate like a tight whanau here,” Mr Waterson said.