South Australian emergency service workers will be trained as volunteer ambulance personnel to further boost the state’s COVID-19 response capability.
The SA government initiative will see 24 State Emergency Service volunteers learn ambulance driving skills, CPR and other capabilities to boost operations, particularly in regional areas.
It is the first time the service has trained personnel from neighbouring emergency services.
Health Minister Stephen Wade said the state needed to be ready for further positive cases and the risk of South Australian Ambulance Service volunteers needing to self-isolate.
“Our ambulance crews are doing a fantastic job in responding to demand as we come out of the first wave of the pandemic and into winter,” he said.
“We are making sure that we have the right measures in place to make sure that we can handle whatever comes.”
SAAS chief David Place said although the service was meeting day-to-day demand, inter-agency support would help maintain regional service delivery in the event of a further outbreak.
“We are not changing the way we operate yet, but this collaboration builds a solid contingency plan,” he said.
“We are thankful to our emergency service colleagues for their eagerness to support the ambulance service.”
SA SES chief Chris Beattie said many of its volunteers were keen to participate.
“Our crews have a huge level of gratitude for ambulance workers on the front line, regularly supporting them during time-critical emergencies,” Mr Beattie said.
Expressions of interest are also being sought from County Fire Service volunteers to support SAAS in the same way, if necessary.
All SES personnel will have completed their training by July 12.
Australian Associated Press