St John SafeZone returns to city
A service for revellers needing time out or medical help in the central city is back for summer.
The SafeZone is somewhere party-goers can go to if they have overindulged in alcohol or drugs, are injured, or are concerned about their safety.
It's a joint initiative of the Auckland Council, St John, ACC and the Red Frogs youth volunteers.
Ambulance callouts tend to peak from mid-December to early January in central Auckland when crews respond to around 50 to 60 incidents between midnight and 6am, compared to an average of 29 incidents outside the peak period.
The SafeZone concept was trialled in March. More than 600 people visited it and 88 people were treated by St John staff during the four weeks.
Nearly all of those who were treated were drunk.
St John Auckland District operations manager Derek Liefting says the SafeZone frees up resources.
Patients can be treated on the spot and collected by family or friends rather than taken to hospital.
"This is a real advantage because it allows ambulances and crews to be available for more critical jobs, like a cardiac arrest," Mr Liefting says.
"It also prevents the vulnerable person becoming a potential victim of violence and in need of more serious medical attention."
St John has been gifted a six-berth mobile home as a base for SafeZone staff and volunteers and to provide somewhere to treat patients.
The SafeZone is based on Queens Wharf and operates from 10pm to 5am on the following weekends: December 13 to 14, December 20 to 21, January 17 to 18, January 24 to 25, and January 31 to February 1.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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