As New Zealanders look forward to relaxation and celebration over the Christmas and New Year period, St John is gearing up for one of the busiest periods for the emergency ambulance service.
St John received 639 calls on New Year’s Eve in 2015, and expects December 31 to again be the most demanding night of the year.
St John Director of Clinical Operations Norma Lane is asking New Zealanders to look after themselves and help St John by celebrating sensibly this holiday season.
“Ambulance officers see many accident and emergency incidents that are preventable at this time of year. I encourage everyone to keep safe and to take care of each other,” Ms Lane says.
St John has seven safety messages this season:
- Keep safe around water, please wear life jackets when boating and to supervise children at the beach or swimming pool.
- A pre-existing medical condition can quickly become an emergency if medicine isn’t available. Remember to get your prescription medicine supplies from your GP before going on holiday.
- St John frontline paramedics all too often attend people who are suffering the consequences of too much alcohol. “If you are going to drink, be sensible and enjoy yourself. Have a sober driver, drink equal quantities of water, and above all know your limits,” Ms Lane says.
- Be safe on the roads, watch your speed, be courteous to other drivers and drive responsibly.
- Remember to keep batteries from Christmas gifts away from children to avoid swallowing. The battery can become lodged in the oesophagus with dangerous results.
- Familiarise yourself with your location when on holiday. Know your address in case you need to call for help.
- Be prepared; travel with a St John first aid kit and download the FREE St John CPR app HERE.
St John has an additional message for the public this summer, ‘keep your hands off our ambos’. The organisation launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of assaults on ambulance officers. The video can be viewed HERE.
Ms Lane says assaults on St John staff increase during the Christmas and New Year period.
“Please look after yourself, your friends and family and look after our St John ambulance officers,” Ms Lane added.
St John wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday season with friends and family.
Free health advice is available from registered nurses, 24/7 through the Healthline number, 0800 611 116. Always call 111 in an emergency.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
St John National Communications Advisor
T: 09 526 0528 ext 8847
M: 027 541 5167
The top five incidents* attended between 1 Dec 2015 and 31 Jan 2016 (nationally):
- Sickness – 5,637 patients
- Falls – 5,512 patients
- Chest pain – 5,117 patient
- Breathing problems – 4,996 patients
- Unconsciousness – 4,819 patients
*Doesn’t include GP referrals