St John & NZFS sign 2014 Memorandum of Understanding

Victoria Hawkins |

St John and the New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS) put pen to paper today to formally sign an updated Memorandum of Understanding guiding co-ordination between the two services.

The agreement, formalising practices introduced since a 2005 Memorandum of Understanding, sets out clear processes about who should respond and when; procedures for dispatching vehicles; equipment and training levels along with criteria for establishing NZFS First Response units.

The NZFS provides a medical support response with St John ambulance along with non-medical assistance (lifting and extracting patients) while St John provides ambulance standby when NZFS anticipates they may need medical assistance at a call-out.

St John Chief Executive Peter Bradley and Fire Service National Commander Paul Baxter say the updated agreement will ensure faster responses to emergency calls and better outcomes for patients.

“Our frontline personnel regularly support each other at emergency incidents,” says Mr Bradley. “The Memorandum of Understanding provides a framework for how we can continue to do this clearly, consistently and in a way that makes best use of our joint resources.”

NZFS supports two types of medical responses. A nationwide co-response was introduced in December 2013 for the small number of urgent, time critical incidents (i.e. cardiac and respiratory arrests) amounting to nearly 11 call-outs a day. St John advises NZFS to dispatch a resource to provide additional personnel on scene to assist with patient management and improve their chances of survival. 

As well, NZFS brigades in 56 rural and remote areas will be trained as First Responders by St John. They will be qualified in a higher level of first aid and initiate patient care until an ambulance arrives.

“St John ambulance still attends these incidents but if the Fire Service has a resource that is closer it can only benefit New Zealanders and patient outcomes to use that resource,” says Mr Bradley.

Mr Baxter says the updated agreement fits with the Fire Service’s vision of providing a prompt, efficient response to all types of emergencies, not just fires, which have shrunk as a proportion of its overall work.




 “We attend approximately 8,000 medical emergencies a year, and this agreement will make our response to those medical callouts more streamlined and nationally consistent.”



Media Details for 2014 Memorandum of Understanding Signing:


Tuesday 2 December, 4pm

St John National Headquarters

2 Harrison Road, Mt Wellington



  • St John CEO Peter Bradley
  • Fire Service CEO & National Commander Paul Baxter
  • Patient survivor who has experienced the benefit of a St John-Fire Service co-response.




St John Media Relations Manager

Victoria Hawkins


T 09 526 0528 X 7877

M 021 605 342


New Zealand Fire Service Communications Advisor

Peter Riordan 


T 04 496 3702

M 027 591 8837   

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