Roll out emergency response to Thoona volunteers
14 September 2015
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan wants volunteer CFA brigades to have the option of becoming life-saving first responders in medical emergencies.
Speaking in Parliament last night, Ms Ryan called on Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett to change the emergency medical response program to include brigades like Thoona.
“The EMR program trains CFA crews in advanced first aid and equips them with oxygen and defibrillators to help respond to urgent ambulance calls, particularly in cases of cardiac or respiratory arrest.
“If you live in a small community like Thoona, having trained volunteers with this equipment could be the difference between life and death,” Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said the current eligibility criteria of the program were restricted to integrated brigades that were staffed by volunteer and career firefighters.
“This restriction means rural brigades like Thoona are not eligible. Ambulance response times across the Benalla Rural City are worse than the state average, and with just 50 to 60 per cent of calls answered in under 15 minutes, this program has never been more important.
“Members of the Thoona brigade have said that they are prepared to commit to providing an EMR service to Thoona and surrounding communities.
“The criteria for selecting where additional EMR services are provided should be on demonstrated need, not on whether you are a career firefighter.”
Ms Ryan said she believed the criteria for selecting which CFA brigades to provide an EMR service would be better evaluated by considering the locations with an identified ambulance response time issue and the commitment of local brigades, whether integrated or solely volunteer, to provide the service to their community.
“Volunteers in integrated brigades are currently able to provide EMR services, therefore there is no logical reason why brigades like Thoona can’t also,” Ms Ryan said
“The EMR program should be based on community need, not on whether a fire station is integrated or volunteer,” Ms Ryan said.