Everyone appreciates the efforts of our volunteer ambos. But would you put your hand up to join them?
This week’s paper includes a story explaining how neither the Maitland nor Ardrosssan SAAS stations could crew an ambulance for almost a whole day late last month. Three people in those towns needed help that day and had to wait for ambos to travel from Wallaroo.
It has taken a while for us to confirm the information required for that article from SAAS, but it did not take long for us to hear about the situation originally. Someone told the paper that very day, which shows how concerning it was to certain people in the know.
A shortage of volunteers is clearly not the fault of those already involved.
A couple of weeks ago I joined other locals in a focus group discussion about how to best attract new volunteers for SAAS. The hosts selected people who were not already ambulance volunteers on purpose, to see what might encourage them to join, and most were surprised to learn it was easier than they imagined.
For starters, you can choose to be a driver, getting the ambulance and more highly-qualified responder/s to patients in need. And if you don’t want to go further than that, you can help out by just driving for as long as you’d like.
Secondly, volunteers have set rosters so can opt to go on call when it best suits them.
I look forward to seeing how these focus group discussions inform the next SAAS volunteer recruitment drive. And I certainly hope that drive works. But you don’t have to wait for that.
The vast majority of locals go about their days knowing help will be there if needed but unless more people take the step and join our local crews, that peace of mind won’t be a luxury forever.