St John Ambulance’s Yarra Ranges team now recruiting

The Yarra Ranges team of the St John Ambulance Victoria are seeking new members. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Callum Ludwig

The Yarra Ranges-based team of St John Ambulance Victoria are seeking new volunteers to join their ranks and help with disaster response and event management in the region and beyond.

St John Ambulance Victoria has been operating since 1883 and currently has over 2200 volunteers in its ranks.

Regional Officer for Deployment and Readiness for the Central East region at St John Ambulance Victoria Fillip Pritchett said they’ve got a pretty close-knit team in the Yarra Ranges.

“There’s only about a dozen of us at the moment, so we are looking to expand that out a bit,” he said.

“We look after anything that’s in our local area from local events at places like Rochford Wines through to emergencies such as fires and floods, which can take us out across the state and even interstate sometimes if there’s a bad disaster and interstate teams need help.”

St John Ambulance volunteers include first-aid trained responders and healthcare professionals and are in high demand to help out at popular events like the Melbourne Cup racing carnival, the F1 Grand Prix and music festivals like Beyond the Valley and Pitch Music and Arts.

Mr Pritchett said they train once a week and ask for a minimum of 60 hours of volunteering a year.

“It’s basically six days a year it’s not a huge amount and you can do it in smaller amounts, we provide all the training, so there’s no need to have any former training previously,” he said.

“You start with getting the first aid certificates and then we’ll call you through to the first responder qualification, we also have a lot of student health professionals in St John as well and you quite often get to work alongside doctors, nurses, paramedics and students, particularly at bigger events.”

St John Ambulance volunteers can also play an important role in community transport close to home, joining a Community Transport team to help residents with door-to-door transport, helping them maintain their independence.

Mr Pritchett said it’s great to be giving back to the community and to get all the training that comes with it.

“It’s a great group of people and some of the events you get to go to and see, you never would even think about going to sometimes, but you get there and you get out and it’s a great time,” he said.

“I think it’s really important for the community, whether it’s St John, CFA or SES, without those volunteers in the community there’s lots of things that just wouldn’t get done, especially when it comes to disasters.”

An information session for those interested in joining the Yarra Ranges team of St John Ambulance Victoria will be held on Tuesday 13 February at 70 Wray Crescent, Mt Evelyn.