Milton St John operational team manager Malcolm Flett says serving with St John involves commitment "but it really is rewarding". Photo by Helena de Reus.
The hunt is on for volunteers to crew Milton's ambulance
Last year, Milton St John attended 520 emergency callouts,
and operational team manager Malcolm Flett said demand was
Milton has a team of 12 volunteer ambulance officers crewing
the town's one ambulance but a viable rural volunteer
ambulance service needs 28 volunteers, he said.
"Our community relies on St John to provide an emergency
ambulance when needed - preferably one responding from our
own town, not from another station at least 20 or 30 minutes
Mr Flett is seeking people interested in volunteering for St
John, as current volunteers are facing bigger workloads.
A paid St John paramedic, Mr Flett has served in Milton for
more than 20 years, and said the organisation recognised the
"vital importance" an ambulance had to the town.
An ambulance has been based in Milton since 1966.
"We need an ambulance in our town; that's why I joined."
The Milton ambulance covers a large area from Taieri Mouth to
halfway to Lawrence and Wangaloa, and also Balclutha when
Volunteers work on a roster to ensure the Milton area is
Mr Flett said new volunteers would take induction and
training courses, including advanced first aid and a two-day
"It's a bit of commitment, but it really is rewarding."
Some Milton volunteers had been with St John for more than 30
years and provided the team with a wealth of experience, but
new members were needed to keep the service running.
St John services in other South Otago towns were also facing
"We have a good team of volunteers here in Milton - they're
pretty dedicated. Recruitment and retention are our biggest
issues. It's a problem nationwide, but particularly in South
St John staff and volunteers will be at the Tokomairiro
A&P Show in Milton next Saturday, and Mr Flett encouraged
anyone interested in becoming a volunteer to visit their
local St John office or call 0800 785-646.