St John ready for action

After two years' planning, dozens of St John staff and volunteers are ready to tackle the biggest tactical challenge they have faced.

Each Rugby World Cup match in Dunedin requires a total of 48 St John employees and volunteers to be on duty before, during and long after the game is played.

Doug Third, who has the responsibility for planning St John's operations for the Rugby World Cup in the South Island, said the biggest group in Dunedin would be the 22 staff at the stadium, who would have two ambulances with them.

Seven staff would be based at the Central Dunedin Fire Station with two ambulances and a vehicle to transport mass casualty kits if needed, and there would be a liaison officer at Dunedin Central Police Station.

The remaining staff and volunteers would be running booths at the Dunedin Railway Station and in the Octagon from two hours before the game. The railway station booth would close two hours after the match, but the Octagon booth would continue and be reinforced with more staff.

A duty manager in a response car would also be working and two other ambulance crews would be available for all usual work around the city both during and for about 10 hours after each game.

Possibly the busiest weekend in Dunedin would be September 10 and 11, when there were games in Invercargill and Dunedin on the Saturday, and the Moro Marathon in Dunedin the following day - an event which would require about 20 St John staff.

Having so many people in the city over the Rugby World Cup period would undoubtedly result in a heavier workload at all times, Mr Third said.

The event was on an unprecedented scale, but after a year of intensive planning with other emergency services and city councils, St John was well prepared. Staff and volunteers were committed to providing the usual excellent service throughout, he said.

St John was very impressed with the two first aid rooms at Dunedin's new stadium, which were outstanding compared with facilities at Carisbrook, he said.

"It's like having our own emergency department to work out of."


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