By Charles Abraham
The Waitati Fire Brigade is now carrying a defibrillator (AED) and other medical equipment on its truck. This allows us to offer higher levels of medical assistance to members of our community.
Until now the brigade has been limited to providing support to the St Johns ambulance service. Brigade members have undergone further training to back-up St Johns in "collapse" events where ambulance officers are unable to respond quickly enough. In time, as we take on new skills the range of incidents we attend will increase.
However, this does not mean the fire brigade will replace St Johns. We will be called only where St Johns is unable to attend within its own prescribed call-out timeframes. Our role will be limited to providing first aid support until St Johns arrives.
If you need medical assistance you should still dial 111 and ask for an ambulance.
We also need to stress that the additional equipment and training costs for medical response needs are meet by the community.