Howlong and surrounding areas will benefit from a new volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) service launched by NSW Ambulance last week.
Regional Health Minister, Ryan Park praised the initiative and the volunteers involved for stepping up to help their community.
“Community Emergency Response Teams are a unique resource designed to assist smaller, regional communities and are comprised entirely of NSW Ambulance clinical volunteers who are trained and equipped to a high standard to support paramedics in times of need,” Mr Park said.
“CERT volunteers complete a comprehensive nine-month training program both in the classroom and on the road with local paramedic crews while they learn to provide in initial emergency care to the community.”
Minister Park said NSW Ambulance provided well-being assistance, as well as personal protective equipment, uniforms and a fit-for-purpose response vehicle to transport CERT members safely and quickly to emergencies.
“I want to thank the CERT volunteers in Howlong for being willing to answer their availability phones both day and night, ready to respond to urgent emergencies - it shows true Aussie spirit through and through,” Mr Park said.
After more than two years of planning, the Howlong CERT kicked off operations last Monday, October 30.
NSW Ambulance Commisioner, Dr Dominic Morgan said that when a local patient needed lifesaving treatment fast, CERT volunteers would be deployed by the Triple Zero (000) dispatch system, to provide initial assistance while paramedics are on the way.
“CERTs do not replace our valued and highly skilled paramedics, but they are integral to building community resilience in responding to and recovering from not only personal health emergencies, but also natural disasters,” Dr Morgan said.
“Our CERT volunteers are really special people, and we are so grateful for their, and the community of Howlong’s support of this program.”
Following the program’s success in Nana Glen and Manildra, the Howlong team will be the third CERT service launched since NSW Ambulance started the initiative in December 2021.
Visit www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au/get-involved/volunteer to learn more about NSW Ambulance clinical volunteers and the Community Emergency Response Team program.
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