Hauraki-Coromandel Post - 2021-07-22


New ambulance will serve rural, remote areas


Anew ambulance created especially for rural and remote communities has been rolled out in Coromandel Town to enhance St John’s emergency response times. The new Volkswagen First Response Unit was launched in June as part of developments to St John’s service delivery model, as the organisation rolls out the fourth and final year of its double crewing project. As well as providing better tools for the dedicated team of volunteers, the project has enabled seven additional paid staff to be hired to double crew two transporting ambulances, which will serve communities between Coromandel Town and Whitianga. The new state-of-the-art vehicle joins those already operating in Tairua, Hahei and Colville, to build resilience in these rural areas. “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our emergency ambulance service and we are thrilled to be able to provide them with a fit-for-purpose vehicle in Coromandel Town to better equip our incredible volunteers to carry out their essential, lifesaving work,” says St John Hauraki territory manager John Armitt. “The new vehicles will benefit both our staff and patients. They are smaller and nimbler compared with traditional ambulances, which will enable our crews to navigate tight, rural roads, and quickly locate patients,” says John. “They are also tall and provide the space required for treating and stabilising patients, which enables the best clinical care to be applied.” Apart from having modern features, the new First Response Unit is designed for crews to transport patients locally or to meet a helicopter or transporting ambulance, which will shorten job cycles and enable crews to remain in the local community and be available to respond to emergencies more often. This will improve response times and lead to better health outcomes for patients. The rollout of the new rural ambulance means more volunteers are required to work alongside current and new staff, who play a critical role in delivering the important lifesaving work across the Coromandel Peninsula. For more details or anyone interested in volunteering on the frontline, contact the local St John station, call 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646), or visit


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