Gerard Campbell |

Hato Hone St John is reminding people this Christmas and New Year’s Eve to keep 111 for life or limb threatening emergencies.

As many New Zealanders wind down for the year and look forward to a summer break, Hato Hone St John is reminding everyone to stay safe and look out for their whānau, friends and neighbours.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the busiest time of the year for the emergency ambulance service.

On Christmas Day last year, Hato Hone St John responded to 1098 emergency incidents, with the most common complaints being breathing problems, falls/back injuries, chest pain and unconsciousness.

Stu Cockburn, Hato Hone St John General Manager Ambulance Operations, says this year Hato Hone St John has experienced unprecedented demand for ambulances and he again urges people to only call 111 for an ambulance when it is a life-threatening emergency.

“This means that if your call isn’t life or limb-threatening, there’s likely to be a delay in getting an ambulance to you.”

Mr Cockburn says whatever way people choose to celebrate or commiserate the end of the year, try to do it safely.

“The most common calls are for unconscious people, falls, traumatic injuries, and motor vehicle accidents. A third of all these calls are linked to alcohol and could be easily avoided.”

Mr Cockburn encourages those who are planning a big night at home or away to put a few simple measures in place to do it safely.

“You don’t want New Year’s to be something you regret. It’s as simple as that.

“Make sure there’s plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks, including water available.

"Be careful on the roads heading to and from your destination and always have a sober driver. Look out for one another and ensure everyone has a safe way to get home."

Mr Cockburn says if people do need to call an ambulance, he urges they are kind and respectful of our ambulance officers.

“Our emergency call handlers and paramedics are caring professionals who do awesome mahi but if they’re being abused, they can’t do their job.

"Our people are here to help you and we have a zero tolerance for verbal or physical violence towards our people.”


Editor’s notes

• Stu Cockburn – pronounced co-burn

Hato Hone St John wants everyone to have a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas and offers some useful tips:

  • Drive to the conditions, be patient, eliminate distractions and ensure everyone wears a safety belt in the car.
  • If you venture to another part of the country, familiarise yourself with your location before you set off. Know your exact address in case you need to call for help.
  • Find out where the closest hospital or medical centre is and be aware that you may have to travel a long way to access medical help in rural or remote areas.
  • Take care around water, please wear life jackets when boating and supervise children at the beach or swimming pool.
  • Be sun smart! Slip, slop, slap, and wrap!
  • A pre-existing medical condition can quickly become an emergency if regular medicine isn’t available. Remember to stock up on your prescriptions before going on holiday.
  • Hato Hone St John frontline ambulance teams all too often attend incidents caused by too much alcohol. Drink responsibly this summer.
  • Make sure little ones are not playing near the barbeque and that older children are playing safely. Find our top tips for treating burns here.
  • Remember to keep batteries from Christmas gifts away from children to avoid swallowing. The battery can become lodged in the oesophagus with dangerous results. See our choking first aid advice here.
  • Be prepared by travelling with a Hato Hone St John first aid kit and download the free St John CPR app here.


Edward Connolly

Hato Hone St John External Communications Specialist

E edward.connolly@stjohn.org.nz


Hato Hone St John media team

PH 0800 756 334

E media@stjohn.org.nz

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