Arrowtown's volunteer firefighters are more likely to be
called out to medical incidents than to fires.
Firefighter Steve Murch said if a medical incident was
particularly urgent and it was likely a fire crew could get
there faster, they were called upon to manage the situation
before ambulance officers took over.
Arrowtown is about 15 to 20km away from the St John base in
Frankton and Mr Murch said this was why the Arrowtown fire
volunteers attended a higher number of medical incidents.
Ambulance communications called fire communications and the
fire volunteers would be called out as they would for a fire.
''They [ambulance communications] would call us out if they
were going to be delayed or if they needed a fairly urgent
response,'' Mr Murch said.
Until recently, ''we were doing between 11 and 13 calls a
month ... and seven or eight of those would have been
Of the 25 volunteers, 13 were trained in pre-hospital
emergency care - a level up from first aid, which all are
Mr Murch also has an emergency medical diploma.
''We would respond as first aid but it's a lot nicer if you
know a lot more - when you get a call, you never quite know
what it's going to be.''
Usually, the ambulance officers were not far behind the fire
''If we can get there two or three minutes faster than them,
it's worth having us.''
St John Central Otago territory manager Kelvin Perriman said
because of its distance from the St John base, the Arrowtown
fire crew received a higher number of medical callouts
compared with Frankton and Queenstown.
Last month, Queenstown volunteer firefighters were called to
a Gorge Rd motel after a guest collapsed in his motel room.
They brought a defibrillator but the guest was unable to be