Volunteer organization hopes to open unit in 2018
Seeing a need in the community, the Saskatchewan division of 1057 4th Avenue NW. St. Johns Ambulance has started its plan to bring back the Moose Jaw medical unit.
We are trying to get a list of names and contacts available from various sources in Moose Jaw and reach out to the community again to see what the interest is at that time,” said Trisha O’Leary, director of community services.
According to St. John Ambulance, Canadians have been volunteering for over 130 years. There are more than 12,000 dedicated front-line volunteers across the provinces and territories.
In Saskatchewan, there are 200 volunteers. Active units are located in Saskatoon, Yorkton and Regina.
Participants of the non-proit association provide medical frst aid to concert-goers and those at public events. They work with the fire department, police and emergency medical services.
Inactivity from Moose Jaw volunteers prompted the division to close down its unit.
“In our previous division, we had a lot of people who retired. We’re trying to get an active base going up. We’re in the initial planning stages for that at this time,” said O’Leary.
Before accepting community volunteers, the group wants to hire leadership offcials comprised of a superintendent, assistant superintendent, training officer and logistics officer.
“My plan moving forward is to build that leadership team first before we accept new volunteers in. Without the leadership at the top, you’re constantly at a scramble to build. I want that team in place,” said Brent Schriner, community services commissioner.
After the leadership team is established, the doors will be opened to the public for volunteers to complete training and attend events.
Shriner is a military medic at the Canadian Forces Base in Moose Jaw and has been with St. John’s Ambulance in different capacities for 23 years. He has volunteered with units in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and now Saskatchewan watching people transfer into professional careers.
“St. John Ambulance has become a stepping stone that gives somebody the taste of pre-hospital care should they wish to pursue a paramedic career. I’ve had volunteers in my previous units across the country that are now police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses and they all started with St. John Ambulance,” said Schriner.
St. John Ambulance has a number of programs volunteers can sign up for.
They have a first aid response service where trained volunteers attend community gatherings, sporting events and recreational activities. Volunteers must be 16-years-old and must hold a valid standard rst aid and level ‘C’ CPR certicate from a nationally recognized training agency.
After a year or 60 hours of service, volunteers must upgrade to a medical first responder certificate.
“As an apprentice with the medical first response unit, we will train you as a medical first responder. That will provide you with an additional 40 hours of training to give you the con dence to go out in your community and provide coverage to any- one who gets hurt,” Schriner said.
They also have a therapy dog program where people can volunteer with their pets to provide joy and comfort to the sick and lonely in schools, nursing homes, hospitals and libraries.
Schriner said there’s a strict evaluation process for the therapy dog program.
“If you have a dog you feel is the right temperament, doesn’t jump on people, is friendly, calm and is relaxed, then you can approach St. John Ambulance to have your dog evaluated,” Schriner said.
Their emergency response program provides assistance where natural or human disaster strikes the country. Vol- unteers trained in rst aid and CPR are grouped into teams and taught how to prepare and respond in times of crisis.
At the scene of an incident, they provide health care and first aid, casualty care, transportation of the sick, injured and in firmed, help evacuate victims and provide care for children and the elderly.
To participant, volunteers need to provide references, a criminal record and need to sit down for an interview.