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First responders needed

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June 14, 2018

Nathalia CERT team leader Paul Slattery and Ambulance Victoria Numurkah branch acting senior team manager Craig Beamish.

By Alex Linton

One of the most highly trained volunteer groups in Victoria is looking for new recruits.

Members of Nathalia’s Community Emergency Response Team act as first responders to any calls an ambulance would normally respond to.

Ambulance Victoria Numurkah branch acting senior team manager Craig Beamish said the initial care the CERT provided was essential.

‘‘They provide life-saving care until an ambulance arrives,’’ Mr Beamish said.

Volunteers work in pairs, and the current team of 12 works on average two to three 12-hour on-call shifts a week.

CERT members help to reduce the response time to emergencies in Nathalia, when the nearest ambulances are in Numurkah.

‘‘The work of CERT is pivotal in health outcomes, because of that ability to get on the scene quickly,’’ Mr Beamish said.

Nathalia CERT team leader Paul Slattery said people were often relieved to see a familiar face from the community in times of emergency.

‘‘A sense of relief is the way I would put it,’’ Mr Slattery said.

As well as providing critical first aid, CERT responders also collect vital information which they can communicate to paramedics on arrival.

If you are interested in becoming a first responder in Nathalia, e-mail first.responders@ambulance. vic.gov.au

- Alex Linton is an RMIT journalism undergraduate completing an internship at The News.

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