All power to St John helpers

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 10:05 20/02/2014

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Twizel's St John is still desperate for volunteers, despite a rescue bid from Meridian.

Team leader Steve Lennon said the town now had 10 regular volunteers on its books, but it required at least another half- dozen to ensure a 24-hour "on- call" service.

"We had a decent response last time we had a call for volunteers, but there were a couple who have since left, so it's a bit of an uphill struggle," Mr Lennon said.

"There are major gaps in the schedule. There are times when we will have to call on the assistance of Tekapo or Kurow crews, which adds another 30 or minutes or so to the response time."

In the past week, at least six Meridian staff have signed up as volunteers. Mr Lennon said this was "fantastic news".

"I didn't expect it at all, they will take a while to train up properly, but it's great to get their support," he said. "We still need more people to help out, but this will go some way to addressing the shortage."

St John Twizel had two ambulances, but Mr Lennon said it did not have enough volunteers to ensure they were "double-crewed". "Some of the volunteers are OK with travelling solo, but it can be risky taking a patient long distances."

Meridian Energy asset maintenance manager Matthew Bayliss said the staff volunteered their services after hearing concerns from Twizel St John. "It's really good that the team decided to put their hands up to keep this important service in our community," he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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