Ambulance staff hindered by drunken incidents

Three incidents in Dunedin have prompted St John to remind students and the public that damage and abuse of its vehicles, patients and staff is not acceptable and action will be taken.

St John said one incident on Friday night involved an intoxicated male who jumped onto a moving ambulance and rode on it before falling to the ground 200m later, narrowly avoiding serious injury.

In a second incident a group of intoxicated young people opened the doors of an ambulance while a young child was being treated by an ambulance officer, meanwhile in a third incident a young man kicked an ambulance as it was responding to a call, it said.

St John Coastal Otago Territory Manager Doug Third said the behaviour hindered ambulance officers from doing their job treating sick members of the public.

“We are out in the community caring for the people of Dunedin and incidents like this are hampering the life-saving work we do. Not only is it distressing for patients being treated, it is also upsetting for our people.

"It’s just not acceptable.

He said it was another example of the harm alcohol causes and the poor decision making of those under the influence.

“St John has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse of its people and equipment and any footage that we obtain of people abusing our people or equipment will be passed onto the appropriate tertiary institution or New Zealand Police immediately,” Mr Third said.

Otago Coastal Area Prevention Manager Inspector Wil Black said the reckless and irresponsible behaviour shown was completely unacceptable.

“No-one should have to put up with this during their workday, especially while assisting those in need.

"Those responsible should know that they are not only putting themselves in danger, but innocent people too.”

Anyone who witnessed the incidents was urged to contact Police on 105, he said.

St John and New Zealand Police ask students to enjoy activities during O Week, but to do so safely and responsibly while being considerate of others.

A University of Otago spokeswoman said the university was working with emergency services to identify if any offenders were students.

If they were Otago students, the consequences would be serious, she said.

Many non-Otago students and other members of the public were also attracted to events in the student area, she said.