Bega St John Ambulance in need of aid

THE St John Ambulance First Aid Service will continue in Bega.

This week, the division’s members have denied rumours circulating that the service was closing. 

Member in charge Elizabeth Lucas confirmed the division will remain in operation.

“There were rumours going around that we’ve closed – we haven’t,” Ms Lucas said.

However, the St John service has started a recruitment drive in 2014.

The division once had 41 active members, a number that has now dropped to just nine.

Unlike other voluntary services, Ms Lucas said the team was searching for senior members.

More than half of the St John Bega division is under the age of 18.

Members can join at eight years, where they will be ranked as a junior until they turn 10.

From ages 11 to 18 years, members are classified as cadets, before becoming a senior.

Senior member Tina Simpson said St John Ambulance could have a 3:1 cadet to adult ratio.

Ms Lucas said the branch needed more experienced members.

“We have lots of younger members, but they can’t go anywhere without the senior members,” she said.

“The senior first aid level can be equivalent to a basic paramedic.”

The St John Ambulance First Aid Service attends community and sporting events from Bermagui to Eden.

Ms Lucas said all members can undertake first aid, while the senior members can do advanced first aid.

Advanced first aid includes “heart start” techniques, pain relief and taking blood pressure.

Ms Lucas said members can be “flat out all day”, or it can be very quiet at events.

“It always varies,” she said.

“But you’re always on your toes because when it happens, it happens big.”

“It” can mean a lot of different things.

Ms Lucas said members have applied first aid for broken body parts, or for people who have fallen from horses.

She said the most serious injury occurred at a past Bega Show.

“A couple of years ago at the demolition derby, the radiator in a car exploded and caused that driver major burns,” Ms Lucas.

“We have then had minor stuff like applying band-aids, or ice packs for friction burns from rides at shows.”

Ms Lucas invited anyone interested in joining to attend one of the service’s weekly meetings.

Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 7-9pm at the new St John training rooms on Bega St, next to Les Hayes Automotive.

Ms Lucas said there was no cost to join and St John will provide training and equipment.

Interested members will need to complete 60 volunteer hours of work per year and attend 12 meeting nights.

For more information, contact the St John Ambulance First Aid Service’s Bega division on 0427 921 699.

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