Flashing Lights Newsletter

The St John NT Monthly Newsletter

Flashing Lights Newsletter | St John Ambulance
2016 Oct

Welcome from the CEO | Ross Coburn

With the footy finals over (what great wins for the underdogs, The Bulldogs and The Sharks) we move into the lovely time of the year in the top end known as the “buildup”. It has come early and I think we are already looking for the rain to settle in.

We have recently held a very successful Cadet First Aid Competitions event, which received good media coverage with the standard of the Comps growing every year. Congratulations to all the winners and to all of those involved in the co-ordination of the event.

A visit to Katherine to meet with staff and to view the progress of the new St John Ambulance Centre (article in this edition) was a very good day and I feel our staff and Volunteers are going to be very happy with their new home built outside the flood zone.

It was pleasing to see our staff in Communications recognised for the good work they do when our Operator talked a husband through the delivery of their first child. The couple were most grateful for this assistance and followed this up with some very positive media highlighting the excellent work our people do.

It was interesting for us to attend a recent forum for the Charitable Sector on what is happening in our industry and what the future may look like. This was a part of the October Business Month activities and by meeting and sharing it was obvious that individual organisations within our sector are all experiencing the same challenges. There were many options proposed for the future and there will certainly be change with Charitable Organisations working closer together to achieve our combined goals to meet the needs of those who we serve – our local Community.

We were the beneficiaries of the Chamber of Commerce Golf day fundraising, which is a true reflection of the Business Communities recognition of all that we do at St John NT, and this support was specifically identified for assisting the great work our Volunteers do.

Thanks for your ongoing support of St John NT and I trust you are preparing for a fun and enjoyable Xmas with family and friends – only 55 sleeps to go.

Until next time,

Best wishes, Ross 

Annual Cadet Competitions

As a St John Volunteer, you find yourself at a PR event and you think there will be no one to treat. Unfortunately bystanders come to you to treat some serious condition, someone that has been stabbed, someone electrocuted and someone who has heat stroke. Well these are just some of the patients that our Cadets were faced with at our Annual Cadet Competitions held at the Darwin Waterfront on 2nd October. There were three competitive categories with the following scenarios:

CADET TEAM – consists of three cadet members working together. 

Scenario - A bystander approached the Team pleading for help for a family in distress. On arrival at the scene a mother was suffering from severe sunburns, one of the sons had heat stroke, and another son had hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). The catch was, none of the casualties spoke English! So they had to use the bystander and some of the siblings as translators.

CADET INDIVIDUAL - Cadet working alone

Scenario - An older man called out for help as his co-worker had been electrocuted and also had a fractured arm. He himself had begun suffering from chest pains from Angina, to which he had no medication.

CADET LEADER – older cadet that assists cadet divisions, these members are aged between 18 -25 years old.
Scenario - A young female approached and was distressed and calling for help after her boyfriend and his mate were attacked by someone who had fled the scene. First casualty was a young male with severe abdominal injuries and a large laceration to his arm. The other young male had a blow to the nose causing bleeding and possible fracture, he also appeared to have a fractured arm.

Congratulations to all the cadets involved. The winners will represent the NT at the National Competitions at the Gold Coast in January 2017.


Cadet Leader

  • 1st place Alice Springs – Jamie Rowley 2nd place Casuarina - Gemma Gray

Cadet individual

  • 1st place Alice Springs - Zoe Johnston
  • 2nd place Katherine – Demi-lee Palmer
  • 3rd place Tennant Creek - Kalyca Robinson


  • 1st place Casuarina - Hayley McLaughlin, Luke McLaughlin & Lauren Coghill
  • 2nd place Alice Springs - Ruby Ballantyne, Claire France & Lilly-Perle Thivisol

Well done to all of those who competed, despite the heat of the day, all competitors performed extremely well.

A very big thank you to all of those volunteers who helped to co-ordinate the event. A lot of planning goes into a day like this and particular thanks must go to competition manager Kelly Raven and also Hailee Skinner for all of her support and assistance. 

000 Call taker assists with home birth

While much of the work of the ambulance service involves our Paramedics treating injuries they are presented, sometimes it is our emergency call takers and dispatchers who have to assist patients over the phone prior to the ambulance arrival. This was the case when baby Indie, decided to make an early entry into the world.

First time parents Libby Cass and Jack Marriott of Zuccoli, had to take matters into their own hands when baby Indie decided she did not want to wait for the ambulance to arrive. Having visited RDH and been advised the birth was still a long way off, Libby and Jack went home around 4am. At 5.37am, St John received a 000 call from Jack advising Libby was in labour and he could see the baby. Our call taker talked Jack through the delivery and 6 minutes later Indie was born, just prior to the ambulance arriving. Indie is now 4 weeks old and visited St John a couple of weeks ago to thank the staff involved in her safe arrival. We congratulate Mum Libby and Dad Jack on their beautiful daughter. 

Katherine Centre week 11 & 12 update

As we approach the end of the year, the progress being made on the new Katherine Ambulance Centre is very exciting. Most of the exterior works appear to be nearing completion and the work on the internals will commence very shortly. Please enjoy the photo updates on the progress so far. We are well on track to meet the December 16 handover. Visit our Facebook page to see a new slideshow video of the progress, just click here 

Cyclone Preparedness

As I’m sure you’re all aware the weather is changing in the Top End. St John Ambulance Australia (NT) Inc. maintains our ambulance response capacity during a cyclone to ensure all requests for assistance are met in a timely and safe manner. We maintain ambulance crewing, 000 communication functions and take on additional volunteer coverage at cyclone shelters as well as assisting with the transport of vulnerable persons in our expanded emergency management function.

At the October Darwin and Region 1 Emergency Committee Meeting St John were briefed by the Bureau of Meteorology with the following key points:

  • The Dry Season has been very wet, including the highest rainfall on record in Kakadu, further to this the Territory wide rainfall for September 2016 was reported 400% higher than average.
  • There is a change of earlier tropical weather events and a higher risk of tropical storm events and cyclones. 

BoM is estimating between 7 – 11 cyclones will have an impact on Northern Australia in the upcoming wet season.
There is also a higher risk of storm surge

This Bureau of Meteorology report is a timely reminder for our emergency services about the need for preparedness for cyclones and tropical storm events. It is also time for you as Territory residents to prepare for a cyclone and St John have the following tips: 

Ensure you have sufficient medical supplies to last you up to 72 hours.
Pack enough dry goods and pantry items to last up to 5 days,

ensuring you have lots of tinned and non-perishable goods. Any non-tinned food should be stored in air-tight and waterproof containers.

  • 10 litres + of water per person
  • Essential non-food items
  • A torch, preferably waterproof with plenty of batteries, candles and waterproof matches A portable radio and plenty of batteries
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Strong plastic bags (for clothing, valuables etc)
  • A First Aid kit, First Aid manual and combination pocket knife Masking tape
  • Portable stove, cooking gear, utensils
  • Fuel for your car
  • Special needs for infants, the elderly and disabled
  • Medications, toiletries and sanitary supplies
  • Spare change of strong protective clothes for each household member
  • Copies of important family documents (birth certificates, passports, licences, etc) Books, playing cards or games
  • Money, including change for phone calls
  • A copy of your household plan
  • Pet supplies
  • Mobile phone, spare battery and charger
  • Extra car and house keys 

For further information on cyclone preparedness and tracking visit the Bureau of Meteorology website:


If you are interested in assisting our volunteers this cyclone season, we have a volunteer cyclone shelter induction program. For further information please contact volunteers@stjohnnt.asn.au or call 8922 6205. 

E-Newsletter sign-up winner

Congratulations to Ashleigh Dennien, winner of the e-newsletter signup competition for September. Ashleigh has won a Personal Motoring First Aid kit valued at $38.50.

Please pass our newsletter onto friends and colleagues and encourage them to join our mailing list, they will also go in the draw to win a Personal Motoring kit. One winner will be drawn each month. 

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