Rolleston firefighters cut back on attending medical callouts

The Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade has moved to a co-response role for medical callouts in an...
The Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade has moved to a co-response role for medical callouts in an effort to reduce strain on volunteers. Photo: Supplied
Rolleston volunteer firefighters are no longer attending most medical callouts.

The brigade, which has held a first response role for decades, will now like all other Selwyn brigades be a co-responder to medical calls. It will only respond to cardiac arrest callouts and other serious medical incidents in the area to reduce strain on volunteers.

Dave Stackhouse.
Dave Stackhouse.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand Canterbury district manager Dave Stackhouse said the decision was made earlier this year and the policy was introduced on Wednesday.

"In the days where Rolleston was a small town and the nearest ambulance was in Christchurch, our volunteers made a massive difference, supporting both Hato Hone St John’s response and the local community.

"However, as Rolleston has grown, so has the number of medical response callouts.

"This has placed greater strain on our valuable volunteer staff who already contribute their time to Fire and Emergency’s main functions and community risk reduction activities," Stackhouse said.

Since January 1 the brigade has responded to 153 medical callouts.

Stackhouse said they will still support Hato Hone St John.

“This will allow the Rolleston Volunteer Fire Brigade to offer support to both Hato Hone St John and the community of Rolleston, while placing less strain on our volunteers. “

Ian Rex.
Ian Rex.
Despite the pullback, Hato Hone St John Mid Canterbury area operations manager Ian Rex said it would not affect the service.

“We would like to reassure the public that this decision will not impact on our response to patients in need as our ambulances work as part of a network, and the Rolleston team is supported by ambulances from across the district, including Christchurch, Leeston and Darfield, as well as helicopters from Christchurch,” Rex said.

Hato Hone St John has one ambulance in Rolleston that operates 24/7 and one ambulance that operates 12 hours a day from 10am to 10pm.

There are 17 paid and 30 volunteer ambulance officers based at the Rolleston station. Rex thanked the Rolleston fire brigade for their service.