Fitzroy proves to be good base for St John

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2012
tdn fitz stand
CAMERON BURNELL
Roger Blume and Karen Susans are now based in Fitzroy so they can get to job on the other side of the Waiwhakaiho Bridge faster.

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The value of the Fitzroy ambulance deployment point was proven from the first day when a serious crash happened right outside.

Since October 21, St John ambulances have been using the Beach St Community Hall in Fitzroy as a base to get round the city quicker.

Within hours of their first day at the site, a serious crash involving a vehicle and a pedestrian on the corner of Beach St and Devon St East put their response time to the test.

"Being right here just makes this end of town so much quicker and the statistics don't lie," St John district operations manager Ian May said.

The target for responding to urban callouts, which includes New Plymouth and Bell Block, is that St John reach 50 per cent within eight minutes.

"We've had an increase of 7 per cent since using Fitzroy as a deploy point, which means we're now reaching 71 per cent in that time," he said.

The next trial will be on the northern side of Waiwhakaiho Bridge to see whether further improvements can be made, Mr May said.

"We've improved our 12-minute rural target response time by 26 per cent which is awesome but we can always do better."

Purple calls are the most extreme emergency situations and nationally Mr May says response teams are getting to those callouts two minutes faster because of new systems.

"We believe the deployment points will be significant for us to help with the Christmas traffic flows, which traditionally have plagued and slowed us," he said.

Once the trials are complete, staff will have a better idea of where the best place is to establish a more permanent deployment point.

At the moment when there are two ambulances available, one is at the Taranaki Base Hospital and the other is in Fitzroy.

"If there is only one unit free, then it will be deployed to Fitzroy during the day shift," he said.

From the time St John staff get an emergency call to when the wheels start rolling on the ambulance is 36 seconds in Taranaki.

"The target is 45 seconds nationally so these gains in all these areas add up and contribute to better targets overall," he said.

As a charity organisation Mr May said they could not do their job without community support and the help of people like the Beach St Community Hall committee.

"They've got behind us and offered us their facilities so staff have a kitchen, toilets and a lounge when there is some down-time.

"All of that helps us to do well and get better solutions," Mr May said.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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