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Attended by 40 members of St John and the community, a dedication ceremony at St John's Dunedin ambulance station in York Pl yesterday included a demonstration of new $40,000 hydraulic stretchers in the two vehicles, which were funded by the Otago Community Trust.
St John coastal Otago territory manager Doug Third said the stretcher upgrades would mean a decrease in staff injuries.
''What the stretchers do is minimise the manual handling required by us and are more comfortable for those having to take a trip in them.''
St John South Island fundraising and marketing manager Debbie Pipson said a collective effort from the Otago Community Trust, donations and bequests had made buying the ambulances possible.
''Each year we try to replace 12 ambulances in the South Island and operationally it was decided that we needed to replace several vehicles in Dunedin. It's fantastic that with everyone's support we were able to do so.''
The ambulances replace two older models which would go elsewhere as part of the national replacement programme for St John.
The new ambulances will soon be joined by a new command unit, which will be added to the Dunedin fleet at the end of the month.
-By Emma Perry