Flashing Lights Newsletter

The St John NT Monthly Newsletter

Flashing Lights Newsletter | St John Ambulance
2020 Jun

Message from the CEO

Welcome all to our Flashing Lights newsletter

Welcome to June, it is an exciting time as the Territory prepares to further ease restrictions and move towards to the “new normal”.

Over the past week, St John NT has been honouring National Reconciliation Week. This week recognises a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia and promote respect, trust and positive relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As an organisation committed to the health and wellbeing of our community, this year’s theme “In This Together” is particularly poignant.

While the theme was actually announced last year, the past few months of responding to COVID-19, reminds us all that whether we are in a crisis or in reconciliation we are all #InThisTogether.

St John NT respectfully recognises the land on which we work and live and acknowledges the Traditional Custodians past, present and future, not just for this week but from this point forward.

As we prepare for the long weekend ahead, I encourage those who are able to get out to support our local Territory-owned businesses to do so. Please remember to stay safe and have fun.

Judith Barker, CEO St John NT


St John NT and Masonic Charities team up to save lives

At St John NT, we believe that everyone should have access to vital first aid knowledge. From offering an extensive range of accredited first aid training to providing free non-accredited programs for schools and community groups, St John NT is on a mission to make first aid a part of every Territorian’s life. To help us move forward with this mission, Masonic Charities SA & NT have partnered with St John NT to provide life-saving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in the Northern Territory.

Thanks to a $60,000 grant from Masonic Charities SA & NT, St John NT will be able to deliver CPR courses to Masonic Lodge and community members in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. The grant is offered over three years with the aim of building greater community resilience and first responder capacity. All participants in the nationally-accredited program will also receive a CPR certificate and a St John NT first aid kit to equip them with both the knowledge and supplies to remain first aid ready at home.

“If learning CPR could save just one life, we have made a difference in building resilience in our communities,” Former Palmerston GP and current Grand Master of Freemasonry SA & NT, Dr Neil Jensen added. “This funding will enable 600 Territorians to learn a valuable technique which will strengthen our communities and assist in reducing the number of deaths due to cardiac arrest.”

The Masonic Charities sponsored CPR courses are set to commence in the Northern Territory later this year. Follow us on Facebook for updates on this incredible partnership.

Making the Territory Home: St John NT new recruits

The Territory usually welcomes newcomers to their exciting new life with open arms. However, with mandatory quarantine restrictions in place, the newest recruits of St John NT spent their first two weeks bunkering down and riding out the fourteen days of isolation. Soon after they were released from isolation, Zeb, Jessica, Marina, and Paul turned up to their first day of paramedic training at St John NT.

Zebedee Schulz, or Zeb for short, moved from South Australia as a fully qualified paramedic. Though never working as a paramedic in the Territory, Zeb is no stranger to the Territory lifestyle. The former maintenance manager at Crocosaurus Cove was thrilled to be able to return to his life in Darwin.

“People always want to come back to the Territory,” Zeb expressed. “I love the lifestyle of the Territory, the fishing, the weather, and the people.”

Jessica Hall, a paramedic intern joining Zeb in the Darwin region, is eager to experience all that the Territory has to offer. After moving from New Zealand eight years ago, Jessica has had the opportunity to live all over the country – from Northern Queensland to Tasmania to Western Australia. Being an avid hiker and a nature enthusiast, Jessica is excited to begin her life in the Territory. However, it is the unique caseload of the job that inspired her to make the move.

“I’ve heard great things about the Territory and I love the climate,” she began. “But I’m really looking forward to working with the unique clinical presentations of the Territory.”

Like Jessica, Marina Bizzarro is no stranger to packing up her bags and taking off on an adventure. Originally from Brazil, Marina first came to Australia approximately 10 years ago on a gap year. The paramedic intern studied in Perth, volunteering and working as a patient transport officer at St John WA. After a short placement in Alice Springs during her studies, she was excited for the opportunity to make a permanent move.

“I was only in Alice for two weeks but I was able to attend Finke,” Marina shared. “I loved the area and even though it was a short visit, I knew I wanted to come back.”

Paul Neil, the final paramedic intern of the cohort, is well-equipped with skills that will help him in providing care both in Alice Springs as well as the surrounding outback. Previously working in Coober Pedy as a registered nurse, Paul is no stranger to working in remote settings. Though he has only visited the Territory once before during the Camel Cup, he is looking forward to the exciting work that lies ahead.

“I’m excited to work in a role that has me out of the house and having new experiences each day,” Paul explained. “The Territory is unique to the rest of Australia, and I know I’ll always be learning something new in this role.”

Arriving in the Territory amidst a pandemic has undoubtedly been a strange welcome to their new homes, but St John NT is excited to welcome the newest members of the team. After two weeks of induction in Darwin, Zeb, Jessica, Marina, and Paul will be able to begin their on-road training while exploring the new areas in which they will call home.

A Darwin Legend: Antoni Kwiatkowski celebrates 20 years with St John NT

Working as a paramedic for 20 years is no easy feat. As rewarding as the job may be, it is also a confronting and challenging role. Antoni Kwiatkowski, more often referred to as Cocky, has had his fair share of challenges throughout his 20 years with St John NT. Through all of his experiences, his passion for paramedicine remains as vibrant as they day he began.

Coming from a small town in WA, Cocky had been working in a flour mill while spending his spare time as a St John Ambulance volunteer. His experience in the voluntary role made a lasting impression, as Cocky soon moved to the Territory and began working with St John NT as a communications operator. He later successfully applied as a trainee paramedic and began his work on the road as a paramedic in the Darwin region.

“Cocky is a Darwin legend,” Duty manager Stuart Allison and paramedic Aaron Brooks shared. “His attitude brings a sense of calmness not only to his patients, but to his colleagues as well.”

“He loves to give out hugs,” They continued. “We’re pretty sure there isn’t a person who hasn’t been a beneficiary of a Cocky hug at some time.”

“Congratulations Cocky on 20 amazing years,” Stuart and Aaron toasted. “Here’s to many more stories and beers!”

St John NT would also like to congratulate Brock Hellyer and Simon Hales on their 10 year anniversaries with the organisation.St John NT is extremely fortunate to have such dedicated and compassionate paramedics on the team. Thank you for your years of hard work and for the positive impact you have within our community.


Is your business First Aid ready?

  • Measure each office
  • Allow at least 4 square metres of space per person
  • Ensure employees understand social distancing and proper hand hygiene

Territory businesses have been successfully completing the safety checklists to allow business to resume and have eagerly welcomed employees back into their offices. Newly mounted signs announce the number of people allowed in each room and all cleaning regimes have been fine-tuned. It is an exciting time for Territorians as the final restrictions begin to ease.

As businesses diligently adapt to the new normal, it is vital to also ensure basic safety measures remain up-to-date. Though health and safety is a priority for every organisation across the Territory, few workplaces are actually considered First Aid Ready. Being First Aid Ready is important to ensure the health and safety of staff and patrons, and is more complex than you may realise.

“To be prepared for emergencies and accidents of all kinds, it is crucial that every business has people appropriately trained in first aid,” advised St John NT Director Commercial Operations, Peter Sargeant.

“Even low-risk workplaces are recommended to have one trained first aider for every 50 employees.”

Workplaces with an appropriate amount of staff adequately trained in first aid however, are not immediately considered First Aid Ready. First aid skills can assist in reducing harm, but it is essential to have an up-to-date and fully stocked first aid kit.

“First aid kits should be visible and accessible to all employees at any given time to protect both staff and the business from harm.”

“St John NT offers a wide range of first aid kits suitable for every location, including workplace specific kits. All kits come fully stocked with high-quality products to treat a range of injuries and as we are the local First Aid experts, all proceeds stay in the Territory to support our volunteers and Community Education programs,” Peter said.

“St John NT provides free First Aid Ready assessments to help Territory businesses prepare for potential emergencies. An assessment will take into consideration your unique business activities and assist businesses in determining the appropriate number of first aid trained employees to have on site as well as review drills, first aid procedures and recommend suitable first aid equipment to ensure you are prepared to respond to an emergency.”

To purchase a St John NT first aid kit, or to arrange a FREE First Aid Ready assessment, contact sales@stjohnnt.asn.au or visit one of our retail shops at:

  • 416 Stuart Highway, Winnellie, phone (08) 8935 2500
  • Allchurch Street, Alice Springs, phone (08) 8959 6652

Businesses interested in first aid training courses should visit our website or contact training@stjohnnt.asn.au


We’re back! St John NT volunteers get back to business

After 10 weeks of virtual training and meetings, St John NT volunteers are looking forward to meeting face-to-face once again. All St John NT volunteer divisions had, like the rest of Australia, moved their activities online during the COVID-19 restrictions. With the restrictions slowly easing, all volunteer activities will resume after the long weekend.

“We are so pleased to be able to invite our members back to face-to-face meetings,” said St John NT Director Volunteer Services Annette Plowman. “In the blink of an eye, we went from weekly face-to-face training meetings and providing health services at all of the Territory’s best events to completely transforming the way in which we connected and continued our training for volunteers. It was amazing to see everyone come together in a new way and continue to be active with St John NT whilst providing us the opportunity to take a different view.”

Though switching to online meetings was a bit of an adjustment at first, St John NT volunteers had the opportunity to learn about areas outside of their typical curriculum. Members began stepping up to lead virtual meetings based on their profession or other interests. Both youth members and adults had the opportunity to learn about a vast array of topics including fire safety from a NT Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services volunteer and mental health from a professional psychologist.

“Members have been really engaged and enjoying the online meetings,” Annette shared. “It was also a great opportunity for members to engage with their peers from across the Territory which they delighted in.”

As the restrictions ease and face-to-face meetings resume, volunteers are excited to also return to events across the Territory. With many events already added to the schedule volunteers are ready to continue serving their community and saving lives. Though it feels like life is beginning to return to normal, volunteers will continue to see restrictions both at division meetings and at events.

“As excited as we are to get back to business, we will continue to adhere to certain restrictions,” Annette explained. “Social distancing is absolutely necessary both in volunteer meetings and in our community. We’ve limited our meetings to a maximum of two hours and restricted the number of people allowed in a room at any given time.”


Building a more resilient community: first aid classes ramping up

St John NT is committed to building a more resilient community by making first aid a part of every Territorian’s life. We provide free non-accredited courses through our Community Education program and accredited courses ranging from introduction to advanced first aid.

In order to protect Territorians and reduce the potential spread of disease, we regretfully had to suspend all first aid courses in response to COVID-19. As restrictions tightened across the country, St John NT remained committed to teaching these essential skills by offering online community education programs and by introducing a unique one-on-one accredited first aid course. Though many Territorians were able to participate in these courses, there remained a large gap in providing these essential skills.

“We were pleased to be able to continue building resilience within the Territory,” St John NT CEO Judith Barker stated. “However, we were working at an extremely reduced capacity. Many of our first aid trainers were redeployed to support our operational staff during this time and we were only able to provide training for those renewing certificates.”

Starting on 9 June, St John NT is excited to reintroduce group training sessions. These accredited courses will be available for people interested in renewing their certificates as well as those who do not have a current certificate.

“Our training courses will commence in all regions,” Judith said. “Those in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, and Tennant Creek have been very patient while awaiting our return and we look forward to offering training to our regional areas once again.”

All of St John NT first aid training courses have been scheduled to recommence, including advanced first aid and mental health courses. To book an accredited first aid course, please visit our our courses listing.


Liam’s Story

St John NT volunteers are often thought of dressed in their quintessential green uniform while providing lifesaving first aid. Liam Waters, however, also represents St John NT in a sharp blue polo while working from behind a desk. Joining as a first aider only months ago, Liam has had the opportunity to give back to his community through St John NT both at events and in the office.

“I am a shift worker in the aviation industry, which was heavily affected with travel restrictions,” Liam began. “I found myself looking for something to do while I was on stand down. I contacted the Volunteer, Events and Community Education team at St John NT to see if there was anything that I could do to assist them during the pandemic.”

Liam’s offer was welcomed with open arms and he was soon strolling into his first day at the office. It didn’t take long for Liam to become a familiar face around the Casuarina Centre getting involved in all aspects of the business, from administration to photo shoots.

“I have been able to refine my existing skills and learn new skills with the team,” Liam explained. “My favourite part, though, has been working with supportive staff and volunteers who are friendly, nice, and amazing.”

With over 400 outstanding volunteers, St John NT is committed to ensuring that each volunteer has the opportunity to learn and grow while supporting their community.

St John NT Director Volunteer Services Annette Plowman added that the organisation is constantly creating new opportunities for the volunteers, including administration, logistics, training and offering new courses to further their knowledge.

“Recently, our Community Education team developed another unique opportunity for members of the community. In this role, interested volunteers can teach lifesaving first aid skills to early learning centres, schools, childcare centres, and a variety of community groups. Volunteers are able to choose their own availability and provide lessons online or in person. All training is provided for successful applicants on our suite of programs.

“Demonstrating another way we can add value and build resilience in our community,” she said.

To learn more about becoming a Community Education Volunteer, please contact:

To learn more about our other volunteer opportunities, please contact volunteers@stjohnnt.asn.au or click here to visit the the volunteer page on our site.


St John’s Day 2019

St John’s Day

This month we honour our namesake, John the Baptist. Considered one of the oldest celebrations in the Christian faith, St John’s Day commemorates the birth of John the Baptist on 24 June each year. This religious holiday is celebrated in many parts of the world and, much like Christmas, is traditionally celebrated with a feast and three masses: a vigil, a dawn mass, and the final mass at midday. St John’s Day also marks the day in which the St John Ambulance Brigade was established in 1887. The brigade was a militaristic organisation of uniformed volunteers trained in first aid and nursing who provided services at public events, in emergencies and in wartime. This humble service eventually became the major international charity it is today, providing first aid, health care, and support services in over 40 countries.

“This day marks an extremely important day in our history,” St John NT Director Volunteer Services Annette Plowman stated. “Every year our volunteers, especially Cadets look forward to commemorating this day with a special service and celebratory event.”

To learn more about how St John NT is celebrating St John’s Day, follow us on Facebook or contact us at volunteers@stjohnnt.asn.au.

History snapshot by Frank Dunstan

History snapshot

June celebrations

June 1961 was an interesting month for the St John Ambulance Brigade in Darwin. At the start of the month, St John Ambulance SA Commissioner Dr Harvey Hurst and SA Council Secretary Phillip Ferrier arrived in town.

On the Saturday night, 3 June, there was a combined parade of all sections, including brigade members, home nursing division and cadets and their parents. At that time, there was a section at Nightcliff, as well as the main division in Darwin.

In mid-June, were the first female cadets to graduate for enrolment in the Adult Division, (pictured) Yvonne Metcalfe, Mary Hickey and Elizabeth Dieckmann.

A fund raiser was held in Nightcliff for donations to purchase a mobile first aid unit for the suburb. Superintendent Jack O’Hare operated a dressing and first aid clinic in his home in Sandalwood Street, Nightcliff. O’Hare had used his own vehicle to transport casualties to Darwin Hospital. The Brigade bought a VW Kombi van for £1000 that was driven from Sydney by Deputy Administrator Reg Marsh and delivered in March 1962. The new ambulance was based at Jack O’Hare’s clinic and transported its first patient that same night.

Did you know? – First Aid Advice

Did you know that smoke from burning vegetation is made up of hundreds of chemicals in a gas, liquid, and solid form? Exposure to and contact with these substances can lead to irritation of the eyes.

Smoke and embers in your eyes

If you are giving first aid for ANY eye injury, it is important that you DO NOT touch the eye or any contact lenses, nor should you allow the patient to rub their eyes, try to remove any object which is penetrating the eye, nor apply pressure when bandaging the eye.


If you get smoke in your eyes...

  1. Wash your eyes with sterile saline or cold tap water. Eye drops (artificial tears) are also acceptable.
  2. Seek medical aid if pain and discomfort continue.

The blink reflex usually causes the eyelid to close in response to heat. This means that fire or thermal injuries generally affect the eyelid rather than the eyeball itself.

If any embers fly into your eye or if you have had direct fire or thermal burn to your eye...

  1. Open the eyelid gently and wash your eye with large amounts of cold flowing water for 20 minutes.
  2. Place an eye pad (if available) or light, clean dressing over the injured eye only.
  3. See a doctor if embers cannot be washed out, or if pain/redness continues.

If the burning material includes plastics or rubber, the thermal gases and ember particles are likely to be particularly irritating.

If you feel you have a foreign body in your eye...

  1. Do not rub the eye
  2. Do not try to remove the foreign object from the eye
  3. Seek immediate medical attention

Upcoming First Aid Courses

St John NT is excited to announce that accredited training will soon be available in all regions. To sign up for a course, please visit our course listings.

History snapshot

Special offers – Businesses Eligible for Tax Deductible AEDs

Does your business have an AED? Through the month of June, businesses across the Territory can save big on these lifesaving devices.

An AED (automated external defibrillator) is a device used to treat sudden cardiac arrest, a condition that occurs when the electrical signal to the heart is interrupted and unexpectedly stops pumping. It can happen without warning to anyone at any time. Having an AED in public spaces and businesses could quite simply mean the difference between life and death. Recent changes to instant asset write-off now allow any business with an aggregated turnover of less than $500 million to purchase tax deductible AED units until Tuesday, 30 June.

To encourage businesses throughout the Territory to take advantage of this great opportunity, St John NT is offering an additional $200 of some of our most popular units.

The Lifepak CR2 Essential package and the Heartsine 360P are both designed so that a person without First Aid skills can easily use the units as they provide clear and concise verbal instructions. To learn more about these lifesaving units, please visit our website. For an additional $200 off your qualifying AED purchase, use the code AED2020.

To find out more about instant asset write-offs, please visit the ATO website.

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