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St. John Ambulance Australia (N.T.)
St. John Ambulance Australia (N.T.)
Vollie News Thursday 11th August 2011 Page 3 History stuff Frank Dunstan This following edited extract from a newspaper article tells what things were like for St John Ambulance volunteers in 1969. Operations Branch members may wish to compare this with their current situation. Northern Territory News, Tuesday 11 February 1969 Yesterday the Superintendent of the Darwin Combined Division of the St John Ambulance, Mr Morrie Setton, explained the duties of each brigade member. Upon joining the division and subject to acceptance a member is known as a trainee ambulanceman or as a trainee nurse. He joins a first aid class and is placed on the duty roster, performing his duties under the supervision of a fully qualified member. The course takes three months during which time he receives a thorough grounding in first aid, Superintendent Setton said. When he has obtained his first aid certificate, he goes through an ambulance transport nursing course which again lasts for three months and in which time he is thoroughly trained in all aspects of ambulance transport work. He is well equipped to act in any emergency, he said. Nursing The nurses undergo a house nursing course which also lasts three months. They then go through the ambulance transport course. The most recent extension of duties for female members is helping the staff of the Darwin hospital by working in a ward, Nursing Officer, M. Rowlands said. Nurses are also rostered for a weekly duty which entails being a part of the ambulance crew, she said. Superintendent Setton said qualified members may later be put through a driving course and if successful qualify as a restricted driver. This means he is always with an unrestricted driver, cannot drive to an emergency call and cannot drive whilst a patient is in the ambulance, he said. The restricted driver may eventually apply for an unrestricted drivers permit. The unrestricted driver then assumes the role of senior crew member or senior man. As our ambulances are radio controlled, it is necessary from time to time to put qualified members through a communications course. As the communication room is the nerve centre of the service and therefore all important, it is imperative that these members be fully conversant with all aspects of the service, Superintendent Setton said. Another vital facet of the brigade is the cadet division. The cadets first aim is to obtain a preliminary first aid and home nursing certificate, Cadet Superintendent Grant Keetley said. From there they strive to gain 12 proficiency certificates thus making them eligible to become a grand prior cadet. After they complete 200 hours duty they receive a special service shield, he said. Cadet training is broken up into weekly lectures, practical work and occasional weekend camps. On reaching the age of 16 a cadet who has an adult first aid certificate is transferred into the adult division. The brigade service operates from 5 pm to 6 am each weekday and throughout the weekend from 5 pm on Friday to 6 am on Monday. Researching these old newspapers shows the incredible amount of support given to the St John Ambulance Brigade by the Northern Territory News in the 1950s and 60s. The paper extensively publicised the Brigades recruiting and fund raising campaigns and regularly published their monthly and annual statistics. The ambulance service changed to 6 pm to 6 am week nights in 1970, previously being 5 pm to 6 am. The hour later start also applied to weekends and public holidays.