St John ambulance officers are often the first at the scene of a tragedy. Hamish McNeilly went out on a Friday night shift with the paramedics in Dunedin last week.
At the sound of a siren or pager alert, thousands of rural people drop everything to answer emergency calls, be it for a fire, car crash, medical emergency or lost tramper. Volunteers are the glue that keeps remote rural areas and larger regional urban centres together. Otago Daily Times reporters investigate the health of Otago's volunteer services.
In a bid to encourage people to volunteer for St John, free first aid courses are being offered potential volunteers in rural areas.
A 38% fee increase for non-emergency St John ambulance private hire trips is hitting the South especially hard because of vast distances to main hospitals, Aged Care Association Otago Southland board member Malcolm Hendry says.
St John has decided to retain a presence in the township, despite urgently needing more volunteers.
Lake Hawea man Ian Rae and Dunedin woman Shirley Hennessy have been awarded one of St John's highest honours.
The youth division of St John in Oamaru has two more recipients of the St John Youth's top award in its ranks.
About 50 ''absolutely competitive'' St John cadets patched up, resuscitated and comforted patients at the Alexandra Holiday Park yesterday during the St John Youth area competition.
St John Penguins (from left) Connor Buckland (7), Scott Duncan (8), Hamish Early (8) and Ayla Balona (7), with (from left) leader Claudia Faichney, senior cadet Laura Laurenson and Central Otago divisional youth manager Tania Haugh, relaunched the Penguins movement in the Wakatipu by popular demand on Tuesday.
Helping people in times of crisis and thinking on her feet to solve problems have kept Jeanette Anderson volunteering for St John for an extraordinary 27 years.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden said awards presented to St John personnel at the annual Wakatipu awards ceremony on Friday night were ''well deserved''.
Dunedin's St John has more volunteers than it needs - a far cry from the situation facing St John's regional branches.
ASB Queenstown customer services officers Clare Boanas (left) and Kaylyn McBrearty (right) teamed up with St John Wakatipu Health Shuttle driver Claudia Faichney to collect much-needed cash from Coronet Peak visitors for St John at the start of the emergency service's nationwide appeal week last month.
St John staff and volunteers and their ASB supporters are hitting the streets and slopes of Queenstown as part of the service's national appeal week. Funds raised will go towards the St John Wakatipu health shuttle.
The long service and hard work of dozens of St John volunteers and paid staff was recognised in Balclutha on Friday night.
When the call goes out for help after an accident or medical emergency, St John is first to respond. However, as St John's workload grows, the pool of volunteers needed to help crew ambulances...
The St John Wakatipu health shuttle is at risk of being axed, just six months after it was launched, if more people do not use it to attend their medical appointments in Invercargill.
More than half the patients needing an ambulance in remote Otago areas were left waiting longer than the St John Ambulance Service response time target of 25 minutes, figures from St John show.