Flashing Lights Newsletter

The St John NT Monthly Newsletter

Flashing Lights Newsletter | St John Ambulance
2020 Sep

Welcome all to our Flashing Lights newsletter

Welcome to September, this month is sure to be another busy one with many celebrations and milestones ahead.

Over the past few weeks, we have celebrated the achievements of five St John NT interns who successfully completed their credentialing and are now serving their community as fully qualified paramedics. Congratulations to Simon and Amy in Darwin, Brana in Nhulunbuy, and Abbey and Holly in Katherine on this great accomplishment.

In the coming weeks, we will welcome a new cohort of interns who will commence their training in this exciting career. I’m also excited to welcome Karon and Harry to our first aid training team. Karon is now our First Aid Training Manager and Harry will be teaching nationally accredited first aid training in Alice Springs. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our organisation and will play an important part in building a more safe and resilient Territory.

Last month, St John NT was the chosen charity for the Darwin Chamber of Commerce Corporate Golf Day. We had an outstanding amount of support from the community and raised over $7,000 to support our volunteer program. Thank you to everyone who attended and to all of our wonderful sponsors. I would like to give a special thanks to Airnorth who donated several return airfares as part of the fundraising efforts.

Nominations for the St John NT Excellence Awards 2020 close at the end of September. These annual awards recognise the paramedics, staff, and volunteers of St John NT who demonstrate excellence in leadership or clinical practice, an outstanding level of care, professionalism, and compassion for members of the Northern Territory community. I encourage anyone who has received exceptional care by our staff to consider recognising them through a nomination in these awards. Nomination forms can be found here or at our ambulance stations. Thank you to our community for your ongoing support.

Judith Barker, CEO St John NT


Community bank helps kids with first aid in schools

Bendigo Bank’s Northern Territory Community Bank Network this week announced a $45,000 three year partnership with St John Ambulance Australia (NT) Inc. (St John NT) to support the delivery of Community Education programs, including St John NT’s First Aid in Schools as well as its Baby and Child First Aid lessons.

St John NT CEO Judith Barker said Bendigo Bank’s generous sponsorship would assist St John NT in their mission to make first aid part of every Territorians life.

“Our Community Education programs give children and adults the confidence to act in an emergency through practical advice and easy to follow step-by-step plans. These are vital skills - skills that could save a life,” she said.

“Community banking is based on a 'profit-with-purpose' model, which means our profits are returned directly to the community that has generated them. Knowing that we are helping to build resilience in our community and confidence to act in a time of need is an essential part of what we do,” said Bendigo Bank NT Regional Manager Anthony Heinrich.

As part of the sponsorship Bendigo Bank is installing Public Access Defibrillators and will host a free Child and Baby First Aid lesson at each of it Community Bank branches in Alice Springs, Katherine, Coolalinga and Nightcliff.

“St John NT provides a vital service in our community, we welcome the opportunity to work with them and help more members of our community, children and adults alike, learn valuable first aid skills,” he said.

St John NT provides first aid lessons free of charge to community groups, urban and remote schools across the Territory. In 2019/18, St John NT taught 10,515 school students and 8,895 community members vital life-saving skills to help in an emergency.

Earlier this year, as community forums moved online, St John NT introduced a virtual classroom for parents and carers by offering to teach essential skills to help keep children safe.

Bendigo Bank NT Regional Manager Anthony Heinrich said the St John NT sponsorship was integral to their community operating model.


Jasmine Wilson awarded the St John Save a Life Award

Twenty-one-year-old Jasmine was awarded the St John Save a Life Award last week for her heroic act in August 2019.

When visiting a friend’s house, Jasmine heard a muffled cry come from her friend’s five-year-old sister. Jasmine found the young girl submerged in the pool and proceeded to pull her from the water. Upon seeing that the five-year-old was not responsive and not breathing, Jasmine instructed a nearby adult to call an ambulance. She then cleared the patient’s airways and continued to monitor the young girl until the ambulance arrived.

Jasmine said that upon seeing her friend’s sister submerged in the pool, she experienced a burst of adrenaline to help the drowning five-year-old.

“Everything happened so fast,” Jasmine said. “Once I saw that there was no apparent danger, I jumped in the pool and did everything in my power to help her.”

St John NT CEO Judith Barker said that Jasmine’s heroic actions were admirable.

“Situations like this are extremely stressful and frightening,” Ms. Barker said. “Jasmine’s ability to think quickly and clearly in a time of crisis saved the life of this young girl.”

“It is an honour to be able to present Jasmine with the St John Save a Life Award.”

The St John Save a Life Award is awarded to a person who contributes, through application of first aid skills, to saving the life of another person. St John NT believes that first aid is an essential skill that should be a part of every Territorian’s life. To support this mission, St John NT offers a free First Aid in Schools program as well as free non-accredited first aid through Community Education. St John NT also delivers nationally accredited first aid training. For more information, visit www.stjohnnt.org.au/courses.


St John NT EMD Tamar Lorelle Assists in Successful Delivery of Two Babies

Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Tamar Lorelle was excited to assist with the birth of two babies over the phone in just two weeks.

On 10 August, Tamar received a call from an expectant father whose partner was in labour. While awaiting ambulance arrival, Tamar calmly provided instruction and reassurance to the expectant family. The baby girl was born as the ambulance was on route, resulting in Tamar being inducted into the Triple Zero (000) Stork Club.

The Triple Zero (000) Stork Club recognises St John NT EMDs for their outstanding assistance in the successful delivery of a baby over the phone.

Less than two weeks later, Tamar answered a Triple Zero (000) call from another expectant family. Tamar once again provided clear instructions over the phone where the mother welcomed a healthy baby boy seven minutes later. Ambulance crews arrived on scene one minute after the birth.

“Assisting with the birth of a baby is an amazing experience,” Tamar said. “There are many fulfilling aspects to my job, but supporting parents during one of the most stressful and exciting times of their life is particularly rewarding.”

St John NT EMDs are well trained to assist in all emergency situations, including childbirth. This year, EMDs have assisted in the delivery of eight babies over the phone.

Tamar has been with St John NT for three years, however she only recently became an EMD in April 2020. Prior to joining the Emergency Communications Centre team, Tamar was an important member of the volunteer team and eventually transitioned to Community Education where she provided free first aid lessons.


Going Green in Alice Springs

Well recognised for its paramedics and volunteers in green, St John NT is also taking a green approach to its energy consumption with the installation of solar power at its Alice Springs facilities.

Working with Territory company, Eco Sparks, St John NT has installed 255 solar panels on the roof of its Volunteer and Training Centre in Alice Springs.

The power generated at the site will support both the Training Centre and the neighbouring Ambulance Station and reduce the annual power bill to almost a quarter of the current cost.

St John NT CEO Judith Barker was excited to see the Volunteer and Training Centre reach its next stage of development.

“This Centre was established to provide crucial first aid training and an emergency service resource to the people of Central Australia. To think that we are now also adopting an environmentally friendly approach through solar energy is fantastic.”

The St John NT Volunteer and Training Centre was completed in September 2018 and includes three training halls, conference facilities as well as offices, a retail outlet for first aid sales and stores.

“Ideally we would like to see solar power incorporated into all of our facilities across the Territory, as a self-funded charity, any cost savings will help support our 400 volunteers, first aid and Community Education programs.

“Investing in solar power in Alice Springs will provide us with cost savings in the years to come, while playing our part for the environment and caring for Territorians,” Ms Barker said.

Eco Sparks completed the installation of the panels mid-August, environmental benefits of the solar system come primarily from avoided power plant emissions.


Introducing St John NT’s first volunteer Chaplain Mr. Darryl Shaw

St John NT is pleased to announce the appointment of its first volunteer Chaplain. Darryl Shaw has held many roles in the organisation, including volunteer, paramedic, and work health safety officer. His passion for helping people inspired Darryl to become a peer support officer, which has since expanded to include his role as Chaplain.

“I don’t like to see anyone suffer, and to suffer in silence is the worst of all,” Darryl explained. “Chaplaincy is a non-denominational role providing pastoral care that allows me to further support my colleagues and my community.”

Darryl is currently completing his chaplaincy studies which consists of the Certificate of Chaplaincy and the Certificate of Pastoral Care. As Chaplain, Darryl will offer support to staff, volunteers, and community members to address traumatic or cumulative stress issues. He will also be able to provide pastoral care as requested, attend hospital or home visits, support managers when delivering news of a sensitive nature, and lead prayer on formal or ceremonial occasions.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know my colleagues and my community better,” Darryl said. “This role brings a whole new dimension to the kind of care St John NT can offer and I’m honoured to be St John NT’s first Chaplain.”


Celebrating Patrick’s 10 Years of Service

St John NT has many facets committed to building a more safe and resilient community.

Whether the Community Education team is delivering free first aid lessons or the Emergency Communications Centre is dispatching ambulance crews to an emergency situation, the success of the organisation begins with a high functioning and reliable computer system.

Thankfully, St John NT has had Patrick Carew on the Information Communication Technology (ICT) team for 10 years this month.

Patrick is a key member of a small team and has helped St John NT adapt its technology to better serve the community. This year required the ICT team to make quick and strategic changes in response to COVID-19.

“The pandemic required most organisations to adopt new technologies,” ICT manager Adam Arnold said. “St John NT needed quick solutions to plan our response to the virus and Patrick played a huge role in rolling out these new systems.”

“Patrick has always been a fantastic team player who accepts any challenge thrown our way. It is a pleasure having him on the team.”

Congratulations on an outstanding 10 years of service!


R U OK? Day

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone. Even though we’ve been extremely fortunate in the Territory, many Territorians are isolated from friends and family interstate and overseas.

R U OK? Day on Thursday, 10 September is a national day of action that reminds Australians to check in with those around them and ask ‘Are you ok?’. While the simple question is a great way to start a conversation, there is still more to say.

“Once you check in with someone, it is important to actually listen to what they say,” St John NT Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator Mandy Paradise said. “Let them talk and then encourage them to take action.”

“Taking action could mean talking to a professional, but it could also mean trying stress reduction strategies,” Mandy said.

For resources and more information, visit www.ruok.org.au.


Mallory’s Story

In early 2019, Mallory found herself searching for a meaningful way to spend her time. Being new to Alice Springs, she wanted to gain a sense of community and meet new people. As she contemplated how to best achieve this, she undertook a first aid training course through her work. Though at first it felt like the certificate was just ‘ticking a box’, the skills proved to be exceptionally beneficial.

“A few months after gaining my first aid certificate, I was faced with quite a challenging emergency,” Mallory explained. “The way I managed the situation gave me quite a sense of pride. In fact, I signed up as a St John NT volunteer about a week later!”

Since becoming a St John NT volunteer, Mallory has had the opportunity to learn about basic health care and other complex issues by attending training nights and completing her Certificate II and an Advanced First Aid course. Through attending events on public duties and being present in the community, Mallory has had the opportunity to demonstrate her skills and help people in times of need.

“My absolute favourite part about volunteering has been the confidence I've gotten in myself and the connections I've made within the community,” Mallory shared. “There is no better feeling than being able to demonstrate my skills and knowledge, pass on information to others as well as given them the peace of mind that they're being given the best care possible.”

“St John NT has helped me discover a passion I didn't know I had and helped to inspire me to return to studying.”

Are you interested in working in healthcare? St John NT volunteers are exposed to many opportunities and gain incredible experience. If you are ready to build your story, contact St John NT at (08) 8922 6205 or volunteers@stjohnnt.asn.au. For more information, please visit www.stjohnnt.org.au/volunteering.


Historical Snippets - September

St John Ambulance in Tennant Creek

History snapshot


Did you know we can thank Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the establishment of St John Ambulance in Tennant Creek?

The first activity of St John in Tennant Creek that we know of was in late November 1952 when Darwin Divisional Superintendent Norman Bradbury and Surgeon Lieut. O’Donohue RN travelled down the track conducting first aid training mainly for Department of Civil Aviation personnel at Daly Waters, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. First aid groups were set up under the guidance of the local resident medical officers in Daly Waters and Tennant Creek and a division in Alice Springs. Nothing more is known about these first aid groups and they most likely faded away after Bradbury left the Territory in March 1956.

On 27 November 1961 a meeting was held in the Tennant Creek fire station to form the Tennant Creek First Aid Group. This was aided by Peter Hansen, a Divisional Officer with the Alice Springs Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade, who was relieving in town in his job as a fireman. In this group were registered nurses and qualified first aiders whose ultimate aim was to become a division of St John Ambulance. They carried out public first aid training and did first aid duties at various sporting events in town and as far away as Renner Springs. Keen to join St John Ambulance, they wrote to the secretary of the Alice Springs Division, but received no reply. They also wrote to St John in Darwin and Adelaide, still with no reply.

Their fortunes changed however, during the 1963 Royal Tour of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. They set up a first aid post at the airport on Saturday, 16 July 1963, all dressed up in whites and black ties. When the Queen approached the group and asked about their lack of St John Ambulance insignia, they told of their woes in trying to join the organisation. Her Majesty then instructed her escort, TC District Officer Gordon Williams, to look into the matter. Well, there’s nothing like a command from the Sovereign Head of the Order of St John to get things moving. This was followed by visits from high ranking South Australian SJA Brigade officers, and on 12 September the Centralian Advocate reported that at a recent meeting at the home of Mrs Fullwood: “The Tennant Creek First Aid group has been wound up and has become the Tennant Creek section of the St John Ambulance Brigade” attached to the Alice Springs Division.

The Tennant Creek Combined Division was registered on 17 April 1964 and is probably the only division in the world to get its start by command of the Sovereign Head of the Order.

Frank Dunstan
SJANT Volunteer Historian

Did you know? – First Aid Advice

Did you know that if a patient is unconscious as a result of a head injury, you should always suspect a spinal injury?

Spinal and Neck Injuries

It is important that you do not move a patient with a suspected spinal injury unless they are in danger as movement may cause further injury. Twisting, compressing, or bending the spine may increase the damage. If the patient is in danger and needs to be moved, take extreme care to keep the spine straight and avoid twisting or bending. Where the neck is involved, support the head and neck with your hands. Do not apply a cervical collar.


Unconscious breathing patient

  1. Follow DRSABCD
  2. Place the patient in the recovery position. Carefully support their head and neck and avoid twisting or bending during the movement.
  3. Ensure the patient’s airway is clear and open.
  4. Hold the patient’s head and neck steady to prevent twisting or bending of the spine.

Conscious patient

  1. Follow DRSABCD
  2. Keep the patient in the position found. Only move if in danger.
  3. Reassure the patient and instruct them not to move.
  4. Loosen any tight clothing.
  5. Hold the head and neck steady to prevent twisting or bending of the spine.

Upcoming first aid courses

Darwin, NT
Provide Advanced Resuscitation
14 September
Book this course today

Parap, NT
Mental Health and Crisis Support
21 September
Book this course today

View all courses

St John NT Special Offer

Special Offer – Mental Health First Aid Courses

This month we acknowledge RUOK? Day with a special focus on knowing what to do after asking the question. With one in every five Australians experiencing mental health issues, it is extremely important to know how to recognise crisis and how to respond.

In an effort to build a more resilient community, St John NT is offering 10% off any mental health first aid course throughout the month of September by using promo code RUOK2020.

Mental Health First Aid Australia, Mental Health and Crisis Support, and First Aid for the Mind all teach essential skills for managing mental health emergencies. They also provide effective strategies to support first aiders in early recognition and in providing effective interventions.

These courses are available for any interested student – no prior knowledge or experience is required. To learn more or to book, visit our website and use promo code RUOK2020.

This offer is valid on any scheduled mental health first aid class. It is not valid with any other offers and must be claimed online only. The promotion ends Thursday, 1 October 2020.

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