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15 2018

REGULARS From the President 05 States of Activity 12 Contacts 27

Cover photo: AEA-VIC took part in the ACTU-led Change the Rules rally on 9 May 2018, demanding fairer working conditions.


Ambulance Active Official Publication of National Council of Ambulance Unions

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WA union members urge Government to take action.

FEATURES to dream – 10 years 06 Daring transforming paramedicine union members urge 08 WA Government to take action 10 Mental health of first responders 15 Justice to come Guide to Road 16 Paramedic’s Rescue 23 Climb the Eureka Tower in 2018 24 Preserving ambulance history 26 NCAU Conference

Justice to come.



Chas Martin, Coordinating Officer of the Ambulance Historical Society Museum.

Disclaimer: Countrywide Austral (“Publisher”) advises that the contents of this publication are at the sole discretion of the National Council of Ambulance Unions and the publication is offered for background information purposes only. The publication has been formulated in good faith and the Publisher believes its contents to be accurate, however, the contents do not amount to a recommendation (either expressly or by implication) and should not be relied upon in lieu of specific professional advice. The Publisher disclaims all responsibility for any loss or damage which may be incurred by any reader relying upon the information contained in the publication whether that loss or damage is caused by any fault or negligence on the part of the publisher, its directors and employees. Copyright: All advertisements appearing in this publication are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced except with the consent of the owner of the copyright. Advertising: Advertisements in this journal are solicited from organisations and businesses on the understanding that no special considerations other than those normally accepted in respect of commercial dealings, will be given to any advertiser.

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the PRESIDENT IT IS A BUSY TIME FOR AMBULANCE unions, with each state dealing with similar issues such as mental health and assaults against our members. Western Australia is currently bargaining for a new Enterprise Agreement and the NCAU wishes them well on a positive outcome for its members. Congratulations to ACT, Queensland and South Australia, which have had some really good outcomes on the wage front. Unfortunately we are all experiencing the scourge of mental health issues being experienced by our members. There is a Senate enquiry into mental health for emergency service workers. Submissions can be made before 18 June. It is my understanding that some states are making submissions, and the NCAU will also put in one. If required, we will have representatives give evidence before the enquiry. The NCAU conference this year will be held in Melbourne on 16 and 17 August and will have a mental health theme. We are very pleased to announce our guest speaker, Professor Jane Burns, an expert in mental health who has worked at beyondblue and continues to work in the Defence Force space.


“As you all know, we have much to do to improve the safety in ambulance right across the country. We also have ongoing work to do to reduce and prevent mental health injury. Let me assure you we are totally committed to this.

This is my last report as president as I prepare for retirement to take effect in July. I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to all the executive and committee members over the last 10 years while I have been president. My thanks go to Countrywide Austral for our association in producing the Ambulance Active journal, the pocket diaries and of course sponsoring the conference each year. Thanks also to our editor Kristi High who remains calm even though she needs to chase us all for our stories and reports when we go well past the deadlines.

To our members – you are amazing! You make what we do so easy at times. Thank you for your input, your camaraderie and your professionalism. As you all know, we have much to do to improve the safety in ambulance right across the country. We also have ongoing work to do to reduce and prevent mental health injury. Let me assure you we are totally committed to this. Finally, I want to extend my gratitude to Tim Jacobsen, HACSU Tasmania, who had the foresight 10 years ago to get all of the unions together to create the NCAU. Best wishes to each and all, and may the NCAU just grow and grow.



– 10 YEARS TRANSFORMING PARAMEDICINE By Jim Arneman NCAU Project Officer – Paramedic Registration

THIS IS THE YEAR THAT NATIONAL Registration of Paramedics becomes a reality in Australia. This article reflects on the NCAU’s pivotal role in achieving this milestone. It celebrates our championing of paramedics and paramedicine. It considers the challenges we face as we enter our second decade and what opportunities there are for paramedics to get involved and progress our profession.

GENESIS Over a decade ago, in April 2008, Tasmania’s Health & Community Services Union (HACSU), representing paramedics, floated a bold proposal: Would it be feasible to form a national body to represent the interests of paramedics? On 1 and 2 May 2008, paramedics and officials from different unions representing paramedics in all eight states and territories met in Hobart to discuss our future.

successful days a steering group was formed to progress the formation of a body to represent paramedic interests nationally.

EARLY DAYS Six months later, the first official conference of the NCAU was held in Sydney in September 2008. Representatives from United Voice (LHMU) representing paramedics in Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Victoria (AEA); the Transport Workers Union representing paramedics from the ACT; the Health Services Union/HACSU, representing NSW and Tasmanian paramedics; and the Ambulance Employees Association, representing South Australian paramedics, signed off on the draft Rules and Objectives and held elections for the first executive. The first executive comprised of President Steve McGhie (LHMU-AEA Victoria); National Secretary Jim Arneman (HSU NSW); Vice President Steve Mitchell (TWU ACT) and Treasurer Wayne Carty (AEA SA). 2018 will see our 11th annual conference held in Melbourne.


First NCAU meeting, Hobart 2008.

The inaugural meeting of NCAU endorsed the achievement of National Registration for paramedics as our main priority. It was re-endorsed at the following seven annual conferences. On the eve of achieving registration, it’s worth reflecting on why this was so important to paramedics in 2008.

WHY REGISTRATION? As we each introduced ourselves and told our stories, common ground, shared hopes and aspirations were revealed. We compared notes on progress towards achieving professional rates of pay in different jurisdictions. We marvelled at the tactics used to achieve wins on important issues. We recognised the significant and wideranging experience collected under one roof. We agreed that we would all benefit from an ongoing working relationship. A draft set of rules and objectives were created. At the end of two incredibly


As part of our action plan for achieving registration, NCAU produced a ‘rationale’ document at its first strategic planning day. It listed a number of reasons for NCAU and its member unions supporting a push towards registration. These included: • the need for consistent practice standards • facilitating portability of qualifications • accrediting courses of study • enhancing public safety • establishing a national register to protect the paramedic title.

In truth though, many of us had worked diligently for many years to improve paramedicine as a profession. The achievement of national registration would put us on an equal footing with other health professionals in terms of federal legislative recognition. It was seen as the final formal recognition of our emergence as a health profession with a discrete, and in many ways, unique body of knowledge.

A 10-YEAR CAMPAIGN NCAU’s action plan for achieving registration was constructed as a typical industrial campaign. It involved an initial strategy and planning forum; setting goals: developing the NCAU Registration Rationale Document; identifying key stakeholders; forming partnerships with key groups; and engaging with and lobbying governments generally and the COAG Health process specifically. A formal partnership was entered into with Paramedics Australasia to advance our mutual interests on registration. Regular joint meetings were held. In July 2012, the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) issued their consultation paper, Options for Regulation of Paramedics, opening the possibility of achieving registration in the National Registration & Accreditation Scheme for the first time. The benefits of our strategic planning and preparation were now realised. A project officer was engaged. Over the next six years: • We compiled and published an explanatory booklet, About Paramedic Registration, which was a basic information resource for all our member unions and their paramedic members. • We compiled and forwarded a comprehensive submission to COAG in support of paramedics being included in the National Scheme. • We attended and presented at over 20 conferences, information sessions, symposia and workshops in all states and territories in support of paramedic inclusion. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

in the National Scheme since its inception in 2010. The impact of a national body representing unions, standing shoulder to shoulder with employer and professional bodies on this issue, went a long way towards convincing wavering politicians and bureaucrats to finally agree to recognise paramedics as a profession. Jim Arneman’s Senate appearance.

• We continually lobbied state and federal politicians, as well as engaging key stakeholders. • We contributed to the establishment of an Australian Senate Sub-Committee into Paramedic Registration. • We appeared as a delegation in front of the Senate Sub-Committee as well as providing a comprehensive formal written submission to the Inquiry. • We have been active on the National Registration Stakeholder Reference Group, once it was announced that paramedics would be included in the National Scheme. The contribution of NCAU to the achievement of paramedic national registration has been pivotal. Paramedicine is the only ‘greenfields’ profession to successfully achieve inclusion

THE FUTURE Like paramedicine generally, the unions and associations representing paramedics have been transformed over the past four decades. Wages and conditions of employment are, and always will be, our core business; however, gradually our focus has widened to include educational standards, scope of practice issues, certification, crewing levels, staffing numbers, equipment and vehicle safety, just to cite a few examples. Many of these are connected with the employers’ obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Increasingly we have had significant involvement in the issues that impact on our members’ professional practice as paramedics. Clearly, these issues are not confined to a single state or territory. This is where NCAU has filled an important role. Now, more than ever, unions representing

paramedics must be united when it comes to pursuing issues of mutual importance on the national stage. Improving the mental health and wellbeing of our members is our next big focus. We are already building on the relationships forged in the registration campaign to influence policy and practice in this vital area.

PASSING ON THE TORCH At our 2018 NCAU Conference a number of long-serving NCAU executive members will be stepping down from their roles. Now is the time to consider putting your hand up, becoming involved and helping NCAU to continue to deliver for members. The challenges are numerous, the opportunities limitless and the rewards are many! What can you do to transform paramedicine in NCAU’s second decade?

Jim Arneman is an Intensive Care Paramedic with the ACT Ambulance Service. He is currently the Project Officer for the ACTAS Blueprint for Change. He can be contacted at

Safety starts at home.

Steph Shepherdson

0400 451 400



WA UNION MEMBERS URGE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ACTION United Voice members in Western Australia are in discussions with the State Government, advocating for changes to better support ambulance staff. UNITED VOICE WA’S SECRETARY Carolyn Smith and Assistant Secretary Pat O’Donnell, along with six union delegates, met with WA Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook recently. At the meeting, delegates presented hundreds of letters signed by union members, urging the Minister to take action on country staffing numbers and presumptive legislation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to improve government oversight of the service.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING Health and wellbeing for paramedics was of particular concern for United Voice delegate Matthew Sim, a paramedic of 19 years. Mr Sim, who represented WA members at the beyondblue conference in Melbourne recently, which focussed on mental health and PTSD, said there needs to be more recognition of the work first responders do and what they have to deal with. “Paramedics are four times more likely than the general population to commit suicide and three times more likely than other emergency services. This is mostly due to work-related PTSD. “Six paramedics that I have known personally, and many more that I haven’t personally known, have committed suicide due to PTSD in my career,” Mr Sim said. Presumptive PTSD legislation is necessary to ensure that first responders have access to coverage and treatment for PTSD without having the ordeal of proving that their PTSD has arisen from their employment. The validation of PTSD as a real and complex problem affecting ambulance staff will also help reduce the stigma attached to this illness.


“The validation of PTSD as a real and complex problem affecting ambulance staff will also help reduce the stigma attached to this illness.

COUNTRY STAFFING Delegates discussed with the Minister the urgent need to increase country staffing. United Voice delegate Wendy Blackman, paramedic for 22 years, has experienced first-hand the difficulties for professional paramedics and volunteers in the country. “When someone is injured or suffers from a serious medical condition, their families expect qualified staff with advanced life support (ALS) skills. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to provide ALS skilled staff and this is made more difficult by the distances required to reach patients in country areas,” Ms Blackman said.

Delegates urged the Minister to review the country model to ensure it best supports paramedics and volunteers in order to achieve appropriate patient outcomes for all people in regional Western Australia.

GOVERNMENT OVERSIGHT The delegates urged the Minister to investigate whether the Government has the necessary information and expertise to effectively measure the contribution of the ambulance service as an essential part of the health system. While the ambulance services contract provides for some measurable key AMBULANCE ACTIVE




Dear Deputy Premier, Minister for Health and Mental Health, As Ambulance Paramedics, we are committed to providing high quality prehospital care and support to the people of Western Australia when they need it most. We deliver the most cost effective service in Australia. We know that the State Government can ultimately determine how we work and provide the support we need to do our jobs. We are asking for your support. We urge the McGowan Government to take action on the following matters critical to improving support for Ambulance staff and vital to the effective delivery of pre-hospital care for all Western Australians: 1. Review how volunteers are used and increase the ratio of Paramedics in regional Western Australia involved directly in the delivery of pre-hospital care; 2. Introduce presumptive legislation to the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act for Paramedics suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and 3. Introduce new key performance indicators to the Ambulance Services Agreement to ensure appropriate government oversight for our wellbeing and the delivery of services to the community. We ask that you work with our Union to progress the matters above and support our efforts to support the people of Western Australia. Yours Sincerely,

Signature _________________________________________________ Print Name ______________________________________________ AP Number _____________________________________________

9388 5400

performance indicators (KPIs), these are limited and therefore the government’s capacity to make informed decisions is also limited. For example, Mr Sim explained that, “the current KPIs are not a realistic snapshot of how the emergency ambulance service is provided to the WA population; currently you will receive better response times in certain areas where there are more resources and during certain times of the year when demand is low. “Having a city-wide average response time reported over the entire year gives no incentive for the ambulance service to increase staffing in areas which receive poorer service than the average.” Strengthening government oversight and introducing additional KPIs is consistent with recommendations from the Independent Oversight Panel report AMBULANCE ACTIVE

in 2016 in relation to the health and wellbeing of the workforce.

MEETING OUTCOMES The meeting was a positive step forward in improving conditions for ambulance staff in WA. The Deputy Premier made the following commitments at the meeting: 1. To organise a meeting with United Voice delegates and the WA Minster of Commerce who would be responsible for any development or introduction of legislation for presumptive PTSD. Given the complexity of the issue, the Minister’s office was keen to explore improvements that could be made in both the short and longer term. 2. To facilitate a process where United Voice delegates can give input in relation to specific KPIs that would improve government oversight,

and better support ambulance staff and the community within the government and ambulance Services Agreement. 3. To consider the feedback from the delegates in relation to country staffing ratios and to consult further with United Voice when the WA Country Health Review is finalised. “Overall I think the meeting went very well; the Deputy Premier agreed in principle to all of the changes we proposed to him,” Mr Sim said. “It shows that as a Union we are being heard by people in a position to bring about positive changes for our members. This is the best opportunity in a very long time to achieve better conditions for paramedics and better service for the people of Western Australia.” United Voice looks forward to working with the State Government on these issues to ensure a better future for members.


MENTAL HEALTH OF FIRST RESPONDERS By Matthew Sim, United Voice WA representative, and Leah Donaldson, Ambulance Employees Association of SA Industrial Officer

IN MARCH 2018 WE ATTENDED THE Mental Health of First Responders Conference in Melbourne. Guest speakers included Associate Professor Tony Walker, CEO Ambulance Victoria; Louise Ashelford, Director Healthy Workplace Strategies, NSW Ambulance; and Jon Goddard and Kirsty Membreno of the Police Association of NSW to name just a few. We found all of the speakers’ presentations to be insightful, informative and valuable. The event was well attended from a broad cross-section of states and emergency service organisations. We found it encouraging to see the value being placed on the mental health of first responders, and the substantial undertakings from organisations across the country to be a positive trend. The key messages include first responders being at an increased risk of mental health issues as a result of workplace exposure to traumatic events, mental health initiatives not just a social and moral responsibility but a financially efficient investment, and that success of such initiatives are dependent on management leading the organisation from a people-focussed approach. Aimee Gayed from the Black Dog Institute stated that mental illness is now the leading cause of sickness absence and long-term work incapacity. Her research showed that early, positive interaction from managers can reduce the impact of a psychological injury (on the organisation and the individual) but that managers were reluctant to approach workers for fear of worsening the situation because they felt under-equipped to deal with the issue. Her research on providing managers with training on how to confidently and positively deal with mental health issues in the workforce saw an 18 per cent reduction in work-related absences and had a return on investment of $10 for every $1 spent. Dr Bernie Scully, Manager Clinical Services and Organisational Development for QLD Fire and Emergency Services, also described significant cost reduction (from absenteeism, turnover, injury claims) and improved performance (safety, capability, retention and morale, reputation) from


managers being trained and resourced in mental health coaching. Associate Professor Tony Walker, CEO of Ambulance Victoria, estimates up to $10 million return on the $2-3 million invested into mental health initiatives. Employers can be as motivated by the significant financial efficiencies of taking proactive steps in support of the mental health of their employees. This is valuable insight for our unions, as we continue to promote the improvement of mental health support for our members. Clinical and Organisational Psychologist Dr Peter Cotton discussed the importance of people-focussed leadership in the success of any Employee Assistance Program (EAP), adding an EAP won’t get traction unless management are on board.

He stated that the way an organisation manages a psychological injury can impact on the severity and duration of that injury. Negative, harsh messaging from senior management can contradict the efforts of EAPs, and negative organisational experiences can contribute to psychological injury. Conversely, great improvements can be made by switching from a reactive to a proactive focus on wellbeing where awareness and management of mental health issues are part of all levels and all departments in an organisation. The importance of management being on board with mental health initiatives, and leading and modelling the values of a supportive culture, are paramount – this message was echoed by many of the speakers. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

Ms Gayed identified that repeated exposure to fatal incidents is linked to an increased risk of developing PTSD, depression and sleep difficulties. Several speakers supported this message, with Tony McHugh, senior fellow of the Department of Psychiatry at University of Melbourne, suggesting that an accumulation of a ‘type’ of traumatic event specific to the individual, e.g. experiencing a similar traumatic event to one previously experienced, is a key factor in the risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This cumulative exposure cause of PTSD was also supported by Professor Alexander McFarlane, Psychiatrist and Director Centre for Traumatic

“I lead an organisation that values its people first and foremost.

CEO Ambulance Victoria Associate Professor Tony Walker

Stress Studies, University of Adelaide, who suggested that ‘trauma tracking’ is essential in identifying those at risk, so that preventative or early intervention could lessen or even prevent the onset of PTSD. Controversially, in my opinion, he extended this to childhood trauma, and promoted the concept of pre-employment screening to eliminate the 30 per cent of the population who have experienced childhood trauma. The benefits of how cultural change can impact an organisation were presented by CEO Ambulance Victoria Associate Professor Tony Walker, who discussed the strategies implemented since he commenced two years ago. Ambulance Victoria shares a similar risk profile to all interstate ambulance services – we are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to the general population, and have three times the suicide rate of other emergency services. Tony admitted that previously Ambulance Victoria had been defensive of their peer support program, focussing on their reactive efforts. A staff survey told another story – less than half could identify mental health warning signs, only 40 per cent would seek support if they were struggling, and 52 per cent said they would not talk to a colleague. One in two suffered a workplace injury. Instead of accepting this as ‘the cost of business’ Tony has made significant change in a determined effort to address this. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

The goal of the cultural change was outlined as: • Understand the problem – psychosocial survey of the workforce • Reduce the stigma – promoting mental health in all levels of the organisation • Support, treatment and training – delivering comprehensive interventions and training tailored to all stages of an employee’s career • Strengthen mental health partnerships – beyondblue, Phoenix Australia, Black Dog Institute, internal consultative group. Tony then outlined the main steps/ challenges to instigating and maintaining organisational cultural change: • Admitting the organisation had a problem, and that it was harmful to employees • Breaking down the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental health issues • Overcoming cynicism by proving that you are committed to cultural change • Staying committed to the change by measuring outcomes and continuously improving. In discussing the success of these initiatives, Tony referred to the following measures: • An increase in the number of employees that would seek help if they identified they need it • An increase in employees that are able to identify warning signs of mental illness • An increase in familiarity with self-care strategies

• Increased knowledge of employee treatment and support options, and an increase in their utilisation • Decreased stigma as indicated by an increased willingness of employees to talk to either a colleague or manager about mental health issues. In summary, we heard invaluable insights from many speakers promoting the mental health of first responders across a range of emergency service organisations and were encouraged by the increasing priority organisations seem to be placing on this area. While there are significant improvements in initiatives being implemented in organisations, this is not standard across all emergency service organisations. Presenting an organisation’s initiatives in the area of mental health to attendees at a conference could be considered ‘preaching to the converted’ and does little to influence organisations not in attendance, or who are not motivated to improve. Our opportunity and challenge, as unions, is to use this growing momentum to influence change so that organisations across the country consider staff welfare their top priority.

Presentation materials were included from each of the speakers, and are available for Ambulance Active readers upon request.



ACT BLUEPRINT The Trade and Workers Union (TWU) has called on the ACT Government to increase funding to the ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) to ensure the change process stands a genuine chance in succeeding. A program over three stages is suggested as the most practical and logical reform to ensure the service continues to evolve and meet the ever increasing demand for ambulance resources. We will keep you up-to-date as discussions continue.

AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS We are pleased to report that as of Thursday 22 March, all of the workgroups have meet to discuss member’s claims. While the Government is yet to finalise a wage offer, the ACTAS, Justice and Community Safety Directorate and TWU will continue without prejudice discussions, however, are pleased to report in-principle agreement to the following;

NON-EMERGENCY PATIENT TRANSPORT SERVICE A revised roster including increasing the span of hours and days to better meet demand and provide greater stability and certainty is underway. TWU is also rreviewing arrangements for mentoring and developing a leadership role.

COMMUNICATIONS A ‘rolled-in-rate’ is currently being developed. This will include a review of positions and associated qualifications.

EMERGE We are opening the ‘leadership span’ of the ACTAS to include ambulance paramedics with a body of work required to examine the focus of the positions into the future. Greater focus will be on the direction and provisions of Block based Team Leader and TDO positions with the potential for supernumerary shifts over the Block to provide time to undertake the associated duties. Commitments arising from Blueprint include peer support, wellbeing and staff development and performance frameworks.


ONGOING While much remains to be agreed, the major changes being sought by the employer include arrangements for leave. We will provide more details once they are available. The next round of negotiations are currently being confirmed following which a series of workplace meetings will be held to provide updates and input from members.

New South Wales The ADHSU has been active and engaged across our sector and has been fighting back on many fronts. There are some particular highlights where we are gaining traction. Our campaign against the Working With Children Check fee has been escalating, most recently with a major government backdown – moving the date for the check to be done back to the end of June. It’s important to realise that this fight is not against the check itself, but against the fee attached to it. We see this as an employer imposed fee to work. The NSW ‘wages policy’ makes it impossible for a fair determination before the industrial commission as to who should pay the fee, so we are using the last avenue open to us – a boycott. We are in the process of establishing a member-led women’s committee which will tackle issues relevant to all workers from an autonomous perspective. One of the particular issues we will be looking at is continuing pressure on the employer to deal with issues of sexual harassment in the workplace. NSW continues to be dangerously under-resourced and the ADHSU continues to put pressure on the government and let the community know the risk they face because of understaffing and underresourcing. The ADHSU won major concessions from the government acknowledging the risk associated with single responses by paramedics, with the Minister endorsing the union’s position of standing-by in risky situations until support is available.

Queensland QUEENSLAND AMBULANCE CERTIFIED AGREEMENT Following the historic Queensland Industrial Relations Commission decision late last year to approve the new Certified Agreement, ambulance officers’ wage increases started rolling out into bank accounts at the end of January. This now puts Queensland ambulance officer wages in line with the highest comparable roles in the country with wage increases across all disciplines varying in range from 12%-44% over the life of the agreement. The new classification structure and pay increases included paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers and patient transport officers. This well-earned outcome would not have been made possible without the incredible efforts of members and delegates becoming involved and engaged in the bargaining process. There was genuine commitment from both United Voice and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) to conduct an evidence-based process that was mutually beneficial to all parties. United Voice delegates who made up the negotiating team found the whole process a positive experience in comparison to previous arbitrated agreements in 2009 and 2012. The new agreement was secured under a Labor Government, which recognises the high quality of skills and professionalism officers do each and every day.

ACCRUED TIME The issue around how accrued time is being authorised has once again been raised by delegates in a number of Local Ambulance Service Networks (LASN). There are concerns around inconsistencies by managers on how much accrued time can be taken and how much notice should be given. United Voice’s position is that accrued time should not be unreasonably denied. Obviously where practicable, best practice is to give as much notice as possible. Members should not be forced to take blocks of accrued time. One day accrued time AMBULANCE ACTIVE


leave is acceptable. Members should not be required to take sick leave or arrange shift swaps in lieu of accrued time being denied. After receiving input from delegates and members, QAS have advised they are in the process of drafting an accrued time leave policy based on best practices.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES Many United Voice members worked during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games to ensure the community had the best possible patient care. The planning and logistics was a huge undertaking by QAS, who were committed to a safe and secure event. More than 600 staff covered nearly 3,700 shifts at the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns Commonwealth Games venues. United Voice played an important part in the planning process by attending weekly consultations and briefings with QAS management to address industrial integrity for things such as accommodation, travel, remuneration, training and equipment, workplace health and safety, and meals and breaks, ensuring members’ rights and entitlements were met. Delegates Alan Mountford and Nick Lentakis were invited to inspect the Fleet and Equipment Unit which had been very busy in the lead up to the Games. They were very impressed with the hard work that had gone into the readiness of the 100 vehicles, including stocking of response bags, response packs for the roving paramedics, bikes and equipment for the bicycle response team, government wire network radios and mobile phones. All of these preparations ensured staff was well equipped and ready for any job. During the games several industrial issues arose, to which United Voice was able to get swift resolutions after discussions with QAS.

SAFETY TASKFORCE There has been a decline in the number of reported occupational violence (OV) incidents for the state, although they are still at an unacceptable number. LASN in Cairns, Central Queensland and Townsville identified as having increased OV incidents. The Safety Task Force actioned a review of these LASN to ensure QAS is maintaining direction and is utilising current best practice in regards to occupational violence against paramedics. There are 15 task force recommendations to be utilised as a benchmark. Progress remains on track for sharing data between Queensland Health mental health and QAS on the Partners In Prevention project that is facilitating the development of information sharing regarding mental health attendances. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

AEA-VIC members marched with more than 100,000 trade union members in Melbourne’s CBD to fight for fair wages and more secure jobs.

Victoria AEA-VIC is bargaining with RFDS, St John and National Patient Transport (NPT). Progress has been slow, and we have protected industrial bans in place at NPT. Negotiations with ESTA (communications centres) started at the end of May, and we are hopeful that bargaining with Ambulance Victoria can commence in June. AEA-VIC has provided a submission to the State Government to phase out single officer crewing around the state. There are

currently 51 branches that still respond with a single paramedic and a volunteer to cases. We strongly support that every ambulance be staffed by two paramedics. To deliver this, we require an additional 104 paramedics and hope to negotiate this with the State in the lead up to elections later this year. Finally, AEA-VIC is seeking a pilot of the introduction of paramedic practitioner positions into rural Victoria. continued on page 14



continued from page 13

Tasmania HACSU Tasmania is getting ready to commence bargaining for its next EBA, while some tasks from the previous EBA remain uncompleted. New staff have commenced in the last few months, provided due to pressure from members. Unfortunately there have been no changes to facilities to house the new staff members. This is leading to pressures on major work environments including lack of meal or break spaces and facilities for pre- and post-shift recovery. The Tasmanian Government has committed to undertake an inquiry about presumptive PTSD legislation by October 2018. The government has also committed to 42 extra paramedics for country stations to deal primarily with fatigue issues. Currently, Tasmania’s country officers work 96 hours with fatigue breaks activated when sleep periods are significantly disturbed. When these fatigue breaks are taken, minimum resources from other areas are diverted or the region is left with a response gap. HACSU Tasmania has been working closely with Ambulance Tasmania in the mental health and wellbeing space, including enhancing the existing CISM program and developing a functional Peer Support Program with the view to destigmatise and normalise discussions about mental health, coping and resilience mechanisms, and hopefully improving the mental health of all ambulance workers. HACSU Tasmania delegate Simone Haigh has liaised with state senators to undertake a national inquiry into the mental health of first responders. A structural review of this was due to be published at the time of writing. Communications system, CAD, which was due to be replaced in November 2017, was delayed to February 2018 due to delivery problems with software and problems in the training schedule. HACSU Tasmania intervened extensively and the new implementation date is expected in late October 2018. We also understand the phone system is at end-of-life too. Ongoing equipment issues continue. There are multiple stations that have either reached maximum capacity or end-of-life. There is a budget position to be created about new infrastructure with approximately $12 million allocated for this through election commitments. This is likely to be significantly under the needs of the service. HACSU Tasmania will continue to fight to ensure that members are provided with safe and adequate workplaces.


Western Australia United Voice has begun bargaining with St John Ambulance for the new Paramedics Agreement. United Voice is concerned that the lengthy nature of negotiations means that any agreement reached is almost certainly going to be after 30 June 2018. United Voice has made it clear that members will be seeking back pay and have suggested that the frequency of meetings be increased. Some of the claims discussed to date: • Critical Care Paramedics’ claims • Allocated positions • Preferred position requests • Secondments • Transition to retirement • Annual leave flexibility Win: St John Ambulance has agreed to include a transition to retirement clause and to tidy up how requests for preferred positions are made in the new agreement.

PRESUMPTIVE PTSD United Voice will be meeting with representatives from the WA Police Union and the United Fire Fighters Union Western Australia Branch to discuss the shared issue of PTSD presumptive legislation.

HEALTH & WELLBEING REPORTS St John Ambulance has now released its final reports regarding the Health & Wellbeing of Ambulance Officers in WA. The reports are in response to the recommendations of the Independent Oversight Panel review of St John Ambulance Health, Wellbeing and Workplace Culture in 2016. United Voice members have been integral in driving the campaign for improved health and wellbeing at St John Ambulance for many years. While we acknowledge the release of the two reports, United Voice members know there is still more work to be done. Many of the issues raised will not be solved overnight; however members are committed to working with St John to make real positive change within the organisation. United Voice members will also continue to work with the state government on issues surrounding first responder mental health and wellbeing, as well as transparency and oversight within ambulance services to hold the State Government and St John Ambulance accountable to achieving a better future for all ambulance staff in Western Australia.

New Zealand A $20 million boost into the NZ ambulance sector will see the end of single crewing over the next few years but not without its pitfalls. The funding boost also saw the introduction of emergency medical assistants paid significantly below the living wage and yet more qualified ambulance officers paid below the level of their authority to practice. Ambulance officers in New Zealand are paid comparatively lower than similar professions. An 18-month project undertaken by First Union in preparation for this year’s wage talks has confirmed that while wages have been stagnant, the skill and responsibility the roles within our collective have incurred have increased substantially. This will likely become a significant problem for the newly elected Labour Government who was critical of underspending on the service in opposition but now in power have committed to a ‘fiscal responsibility’ doctrine that limits their ability to spend. With various public sector services coming off the back of nine years of underfunding, the government has a huge task in fulfilling their promises and our members have no intention of letting them forget. First Union has been attending regular meetings with St John management to ensure that operational issues are addressed and don’t become a distraction during the bargaining. On a whole, this has been quite successful and First Union has seen better engagement from St John. Station meetings held across the country throughout March and April to collect and endorse claims by members will be followed by initial discussions with the Minister for Health before formal bargaining with St John. Although First Union members have time and time again proved a willingness to fight for what is fair, more than anything our members love their job and would prefer matters were resolved diplomatically. First Union’s growth in the South Island over the last 12 months means we are larger, better organised, and more focussed than ever. The service is in need of a significant ‘correction’ and we are prepared to support our members 100 per cent of the way. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

Ambulance vehicles around the state carried slogans like ‘its not ok to assault paramedics in the wake of two women who walked free even after pleading guilty to assaulted paramedic Paul Judd.

JUSTICE TO COME AEA-VIC MET WITH VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews on 21 May 2018 to discuss mandatory sentencing for anyone who injures a paramedic or any other emergency service worker while on duty. The emergency meeting with the Premier follows industry and community outrage over two women who escaped jail time for their cowardly assault on veteran paramedic Paul Judd. During the meeting, the Premier made it clear that the outcome of this matter, which saw the two offenders given nothing more than a community corrections order, was not good enough. AEA-VIC Secretary Steve McGhie and Assistant Secretary Danny Hill joined members from the Police Association at the meeting, which lasted almost an hour, to call on mandatory sentencing for anyone who injures an emergency services worker on duty. Mr McGhie reported back to union members that the Premier has made a commitment to ensure the law will change. “What’s being proposed is that anyone who injures emergency service workers in the course of their duties will receive the mandatory sentence of six months jail; no ifs no buts, it will happen as a minimum,” he said. The discretion then will be left with the magistrate or judge how long the custodial sentence will be. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

It as been agreed between the Premier and the union that they we will work together on the details around new legislation through a small working group that will also include the Police Association, State Government and other affected unions. The proposed legislation will be put to Parliament in June.

“We are satisfied with the response from the Premier and the State Government,” Mr McGhie said. “We want to thank the Premier and the Government in regards to their commitment, and thank you to our members for their support, and acknowledge the support from the community.”



WHEN YOU ARE IN A CASE WHERE a person is involved in a road collision, it will usually be when you are dispatched. This will usually be:


Collisions can involve power poles and wires. Remember, new suburbs may have underground power lines; however vehicles could collide with power kiosks. These kiosks could end up under the car and therefore charge the vehicle with electricity. A power pole has many parts: • wires, • insulator, • crossarm, • transformer, and • pole.

Thanks, Whykickamoocow 9876, responding to case 9987, 0745 hours. We have a two-car collision with possible people trapped. Police, fire and rescue have been dispatched. You may or may not get any further information. During the drive to the scene you will usually be thinking about the treatments you need to perform. Has MICA been dispatched with you? What injuries may the casualties have? How far away are we from a hospital? What other cars are around to assist? This article is not designed to look at treatments you could perform. There are enough papers out there to do this. This article is to look at the other things ambulance could do better at scenes, including: • Safety at scenes • How to perform basic rescues • How rescuers think and perform their duties • How you can stay alive at a scene.

What are the dangers in this photo?






APPROACH AND ARRIVAL Approach and arrival at a car collision is difficult. There is a lot of information you need to absorb, in a short space of time. Some of the things you need to consider are: • parking • traffic • hazards • location of vehicles • location of patients • dangers • situation reports.


What do you think now?

When you arrive at a collision involving power poles, you need to look for certain things for your safety. Firstly, is the wire attached to the insulator? The wire carries the power. The power will try to find earth so they are situated on insulators. You will note the size of the insulator will give an indication of how much power is in the wires. The larger the insulator, the more power is being transmitted. The above photo shows the upper crossarm has large insulators because they carry 33,000 volts. This insulator (above photo) carries 240/415 volts. A power wire resting on the crossarm will have the power trying to find earth through the easiest route. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

CHECK POWER POLES. LOOK UP AND LIVE. If a power pole is involved in a collision, always look up and live. The wires may carry up to 33,000 volts in suburban streets. If the wire comes off the insulator there is a very real danger of the wire exploding as the electricity finds earth. Only you and your dry-cleaner will know how distressed you were when they explode. Always call dispatch to have the power turned off by the relevant power company as soon as possible should a wire not be connected to the insulator. Contact dispatch and have the power turned off as soon as possible if you note any issues with the power pole or lines. Wires on the ground should be considered live. Remain away from them by at least eight metres.

This is how we like to find a crime scene.

Not like this. LIGHT POLE


What is wrong with this picture?



WHAT IF A LIVE WIRE FALLS NEAR ME? Should this occur, take small steps with your feet close together. There is a thing called step potential. This is basically the voltage difference between one leg and the other. This will flow through you. Walk with your feet close together, so you do not fall. Take small steps. It is best to walk with your foot not extending past the other foot and beside each other. Should you fall, this will lead to step potential voltage going through you. SINGLE WIRE, EARTH RETURN (SWER) The SWER system of power distribution is seen in rural areas. The basic system consists of a single wire to the property and the property will also have an earth stake. The return of power to form a circuit is done through the ground. These wires are especially dangerous if involved in a collision. The reason being is that the power will be coming down the wire to the ground. This will electrify the area around the wire as the power finds its way back to form a circuit. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

Police will a have a role at any collision. They will need to provide evidence, to a court, as to what has happened. From the evidence and statements from people involved, a court will be able to make an informed decision. If MCIU is called, they will have a task to perform. This is to determine what happened at a major collision. The police will like it, if you can preserve the scene’s evidence. The site will usually be classified as a crime scene. This evidence will include: • tyre skid marks • scuff or rolling prints • gouges, scrapes and scratches • vehicle or body fluid marks • debris from the vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist • vehicle lights, such as glass or filament debris. TIPS ON MAINTAINING EVIDENCE • If you have to move or change something to treat the patients, make a note. This may include cutting the seat belt, moving the seat position or turning off the lights or ignition. • Take note of any conversation that might assist in prosecution of the guilty parties. It is advisable to write down the content of the conversation as soon as practical afterwards. • Try not to disturb the debris on the ground. The police can calculate speeds from the throw distance of objects. • Try not to park or drive over tyre/wheel marks. This is particularly important on gravel edges. These marks can be destroyed easily and are valuable to the evidence gathered. • Make a note of the patient position when you find them. This is especially important in determining who was driving.

This may be an issue later on. Also note the clothing people were wearing. • If available and convenient to use, take a photo as evidence. This photo is only to be used to assist the police or the hospital emergency department staff and is not intended to be used for any other purpose. Refer to your services privacy policy.

DECEASED PEDESTRIANS You may be called to a pedestrian and find that they are deceased. The police would prefer that the person is not contaminated with other material. The police use techniques that can determine any microscopic transfer from the vehicle to the patient. They have to prove that this particular car hit this patient and this person was driving the vehicle. This is also true, even if the car and driver are present at the scene. They may deny everything at the police station. The police will then have to prove it was that driver of that car. Each situation is different but as a general rule, cover the deceased to prevent undue distress to other people. The most important thing to remember is there should not be any transfer of material onto the body. The best cover is plastic. In the ambulance the items that could be used are: • a black body cover • the blue body bag • the plastic cover for the stretcher • a clean pressed white cotton sheet. The strong advice is not to use a blanket. The blanket will transfer fibres onto the deceased and will slow the investigation. Ambulance is there to save life. Do what you have to do to save a life. The police will work with what is left. This is important to know. If you are in doubt about whether you continued on page 18


continued from page 17 need to alter the scene by moving something, then remember, if you have to move something to save a life, then do it. If you can avoid disturbing the scene, then do so. This means, do not: • needlessly drive over skid marks • needlessly park over fluid marks • move debris, unless you have to. Remember what you have moved, cut, heard, smelt or seen at the incident. Make a written note of it later. Remember what treatment you have performed. Police will need this information, later, in the court case. The patient care record should be as complete as possible. You can contact the Major Collision Unit, about a major collision you have attended, to provide information about it. They will be happy to talk to you. For other general questions about scenes, it is preferable that you speak to your local police station.

FUEL What if there is a fuel leak? Now comes the decision making. That is, what is the risk? What is the benefit? You need to make a decision as to the risk to your health and the benefit of rescuing the person. Every situation is different. These are some tips to help you decide. WHAT IS THE FUEL? If it is diesel then the risk is low. Diesel will not burn readily. It usually only burns when something else is burning. Beware, as diesel is very slippery. Petrol and LPG are both very flammable. Petrol will flash (ignite) at -40 degrees Celsius. LPG will expand 270 times when released from the tank, creating a potentially large area of risk. The smaller the leak the lower risk. The larger the leak the larger the risk. PARK UPHILL AND UPWIND Petrol will flow downhill. LPG is heavier than air and will settle in low places. Do not park over the spill or in the cloud. You could try to turn the ignition off to reduce an ignition point. Isolate ignition points. These can be people smoking, hot exhausts and spark making materials. If able, isolate the LPG tank. Again, what is the risk versus benefit? There is no definitive answer. You must decide what you are going to do. You have to decide if it is worth risking your health to save a life. Call the fire service urgently to contain. Remember, safety first.

HYBRID VEHICLES Hybrid vehicles are an electric powered vehicle. They have a petrol engine that will operate a generator. This generator








will then supply power to the 300 volt battery pack located in the boot. There are orange cables under the vehicle, in specially designed channels, that connect the generator to the batteries, then to the wheels. STEPS REQUIRED TO SECURING A HYBRID VEHICLE • Warn other people at the scene. • Turn the key to ‘off’ and remove the key. Ensure the ready light is off. This is because the engine may start to keep the batteries powered without notice. • Apply the hand brake. • Place the car into park.

FIRE Fire will only survive with fuel, heat and oxygen. Remove one of these elements and a fire will not survive. CLASS A FIRES These are commonly involving carbonaceous solids, such as wood, paper, cloth, plastics and rubber. CLASS B FIRES These fires involve flammable and combustible liquids. When the liquid heats up enough, the liquid will turn into vapour. This vapour will ignite if a source of ignition is present. Examples of this are petrol, oil, paint, kerosene and wax. CLASS C FIRES These involve combustible gasses and include butane, propane, LPG and natural gas.

RESCUE VEHICLES AND FIRE TRUCKS The picture above is a typical representation of the layout for most


rescue trucks. This is a rear view into the rear compartment. This is usually the working end of a road rescue vehicle. The hoses on the hydraulic rescue equipment, (usually referred to as the jaws) are only 10-15 metres long. Therefore, the crew like to get the rear of the vehicle near the trapped person. The tools can be removed from the truck, but they are very heavy and take a lot of time to reposition. The ambulance equipment can easily be moved into the scene on the stretcher. You do not want to get blocked in when the other services arrive, so parking back from the scene is a good idea. Remember your job is only half done when the patient is released. You need to transport the patient to hospital. This is difficult when other emergency vehicles block you in. Plan ahead and park back from the scene to allow egress. If you have to enter the scene and move around either rescue or fire trucks, remember the following issues. Do not run over hydraulic or fire hoses for these reasons: 1. You will damage this expensive equipment. There is a possibility that this fluid, if it escapes, will injure people, as it is under high pressure. 2. The person on the end of the fire hose may lose control of the hose and may injure themselves or others. 3. You will lose the fire protection the hose provides. 4. You could damage the pump on the truck by restricting the flow of water. This is why there is a law written to make it illegal to drive over fire hoses. AMBULANCE ACTIVE

WHERE TO PARK? This is always difficult to answer. You are the most important person at the scene. Place the vehicle in a position that will protect you from other traffic, so you can work safely. Consider the placement of the ambulance where the other car must go through the ambulance before hitting you. Consider parking the ambulance across the lane, where the near side (passenger side) is away from the traffic, so you can get the equipment out of the car safer. You will need to consider: • other emergency vehicles that may have to enter the scene • electrical power involvement • police involvement at a crash scene • vehicles powered by liquid petroleum gas (LPG) • hybrid vehicles • fire and Hazchem • egress from the scene. It is advisable to park in the ‘fend off’ position, which is when the vehicle is at a 45-degree angle to the road. This will allow you to have a safe working area, on the near side (passenger side) of the ambulance.

Fend off position – 45 degree parking.

Parking into oncoming traffic.

The driver of other vehicles approaching the scene will usually slow down and attempt to drive around the ambulance. Sometimes they will try to drive through the ambulance. The drivers of these other vehicles need to go through the ambulance before they get to you. You will note in the top photo that the crew have approached the incident and parked at 45 degrees to the road. This will allow you to work from the near side of the ambulance, where all your equipment is, with relative safety. This also protects you and the scene. The second photo shows the crew parked into oncoming traffic, to again allow a safe working area between the incident and the near side of the ambulance. Every situation is different and you will need to decide how to park. These photos indicate AMBULANCE ACTIVE





the ideal positions you should aim for, that is, put the near side of the ambulance to the collision and work area. It is safer than having the near side to the oncoming traffic. The two photos above are of an actual collision in Melbourne. The car is extensively damaged on the near side. The baby capsule, as indicated in the first photo, was originally in the back seat and had been secured correctly. I draw your attention to the ambulance pictured. It arrived on scene, drove in and stopped as you can see. The driver just happened to stop there. I now draw your attention to the policewoman looking down to the ground, in front of the ambulance. You may see a small white object on the ground that the policewoman is looking at. Unfortunately the white object is the baby that came out of the capsule and the ambulance almost ran over it. The point is, check the scene before you drive in. You may not be as lucky as this driver. This is why you should park back about 15-30 metres from the scene until you have assessed the scene. When you are arriving, you will be taking in a lot of information. You will need to make an assessment based on this information. It is strongly advisable to provide a sitrep while you are sitting in the ambulance. Basic information you can give to the dispatcher includes: • Number of cars. • The extent of damage will indicate the severity of injuries. This is not always the case but is a good indication. • What other services you may require. • Any other back-up ambulances you may need and what code to respond on. When you get out of the ambulance you will be able to make a better assessment and can provide further information. This may include dispatching more or less resources. Use the clinical approach, CPG A0101, to guide you through these next steps.

You will make an assessment of all the patients and start to sort out the priorities. Use the triage or sift and sort package of your service. You will then be able to start treating the patients in order of severity. Eventually you will get to the patient who is trapped in the vehicle and need to stay with them.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT Ambulance personnel are strongly advised to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE). This will include the following: HELMET This is to protect your head from flying debris, hitting your head on sharp protruding metal or debris on or within the vehicle. PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR Not only will your eyes be protected from body fluid but also from flying metal and debris. When the rescuer starts to cut the car apart a lot of debris will go flying. This may be metal or plastic. The cutters will cause a lot of damage to the vehicle. Steps are taken to reduce this from occurring but nothing is perfect. You will be aware that the eye does not have any natural protective barrier against infections, like hepatitis and HIV. It is also not uncommon to have a lot of blood sprayed around the vehicle from injured patients. Protective eyewear will prevent blood or bodily fluid contamination. P2 MASKS It is recommended to wear a P2 mask if you have to break glass. When the glass breaks, it causes minute glass shards to be produced. This is harmful to your lungs when inhaled. OVERALLS These should be worn to protect you from body fluids or sharp, jagged metal. Sleeves should be rolled down and buttoned at the wrist. The overalls should be kept with you in the ambulance and put on while working at the scene. HI-VIS VEST On arrival remember to put on your issued hi-vis vest. This will assist in making you more visible to other traffic users. In most cases, people want to have a look at the scene and are not usually looking for you, while you are working at the scene. GLOVES Remember to wear examination gloves to protect you from bodily fluids. If you have to go to another patient, change your gloves. You do not want to transmit any infection to another patient. You may also need to wear protective gloves which are stronger than the examination gloves. This is because there may be a lot of glass or jagged metal present. continued on page 21








BODY DESIGN There are three major types of vehicle construction: • cab on chassis; • unitised bolt on sub-frame; and • mono chassis.


Pillars on a bus (near side).




Figure 1


Pillars on a car (near side).

NEAR SIDE AND OFF SIDE Looking at a car from the front – the near side is on the right and the off side is on the left, as illustrated below. In Australia, an easy way to remember is that the near side is that which should be closest to the gutter, off side is that on which the Australian driver sits.



UNITISED BOLT ON SUB-FRAME Vehicles of this type bend at the fire wall where the sub-frames are connected to the body. This has the effect of forcing the steering column inwards and upwards in the cabin. This type of sub-frame was previously used in older Holdens.




CAB ON CHASSIS The cab on chassis design is used in commercial applications and leisure vehicles (4x4 wheel drive). General construction includes heavier gauge metal panels. Fibreglass and aluminium panels can be found on these vehicles. These types of vehicles will not bend readily when major components are cut from the cab, and as a rule heavier rescue equipment will need to be used on them.

MONO CHASSIS The most common type of vehicle body construction is where the body components are spot welded together in a jig to form the overall strength of the car. Commonly used in the small front wheel drive vehicles e.g. Ford Laser. Body components are generally made from light gauge metals. This causes the greatest concern to rescuers when cutting or pulling is required to disentangle casualties. It is essential that the under body of the vehicle is stabilised before cutting major components, to prevent the vehicle flexing towards the casualties.


continued from page 19

WHY DO WE NEED TO KNOW THIS? If the car is a mono chassis then it is designed to crumple in a collision. The main thing to look for is the passenger compartment intrusion. They are designed to protect the passenger compartment. A vehicle that is mono chassis is designed to have the front bumper sitting on the front windscreen in a collision. This is to protect the passengers. When you look at a car collision, take this into consideration: new cars are designed to crumple. It is considered a big hit when the passenger compartment has intrusion into it.

Above is minor damage. Note there is no damage to the passenger compartment. The car has done its job of crumpling, before it reaches the passenger compartment.

This is extensive damage.

A vehicle like a truck or older car has a frame (figure 1). They are not designed to crumple, so small damage can be quite significant. There is no give in the frame as indicated in the previous diagrams in vehicles. Figure 1 shows two rails going the full length of the vehicle. This is not designed to crumple so the full impact is directed to the occupants. The photo above has extensive damage as it has entered the passenger compartment. You should expect the passenger to be trapped by the lower limbs. They could have chest and abdominal injuries as well.

The first thing the rescuer will do is isolate any dangers. They will then move to stabilising the vehicle. This will prevent the vehicle moving during the rescue. Injuries could occur to the rescuers or increased injury to the people trapped in the vehicle if the vehicle is not stabilised.

Part 2 of this article will appear in the next edition of Ambulance Active.

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PRESERVING AMBULANCE HISTORY Story by Emily Holgate Photos by Anthony Woodcock Ambulance Historical Society Museum Coordinator Chas Martin.

COORDINATING OFFICER OF THE Ambulance Historical Society Museum Chas Martin has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to Ambulance Victoria. Mr Martin joined as a 24-year-old ambulance officer in 1962, and served the community for 40 years before his retirement. Now, at 80 years’ old, Mr Martin continues to give back to the community and uphold the history of the ambulance service through his historical museum in Bayswater. Ambulance services have been operating in Melbourne since 1883, beginning with the St John Ambulance Association branch. Six years later,


horse-drawn ambulance services were introduced, and in 1910 the first motor ambulance vehicle began responding to calls. Ambulance Victoria has continued to save lives to this date, with the ongoing help of volunteers such as Mr Martin, who have devoted their lives to the service. The Ambulance Historical Society (AHS) was founded in 1986 by a group of retired ambulance volunteers who joined forces over their passion for preserving ambulance history. The committee received financial assistance from Ambulance Victoria, helping them to launch their search

for old ambulances, vintage medical equipment, and other memorabilia including medical guides, old patient records and vintage uniforms. While in its early stages of formation, the AHS searched widely around Victoria and beyond for vehicles, which lead to six ambulance vehicles being secured and stored at locations around Victoria. In the early 2000s, the collection of old vehicles continued to grow through perseverance and continuing support from Ambulance Victoria. The AHS acquired its first official museum premises in Thomastown in 2006, and in 2015 moved AMBULANCE ACTIVE

The centrepiece of the Ambulance Historical Society Museum is a collection of 22 vintage ambulances.

to Bayswater. Today, more than 3000 items are catalogued and the vintage ambulance collection now includes 22 vehicles dating from 1912-2010. The AHS continues as it was formed, through passionate members. “We all have a desire to preserve the history of the ambulance service,” he said. “It is important to have a historical site for the ambulances.” The team of retired volunteers continue to work hard for the AHS, searching for vehicles and memorabilia by visiting old and current ambulance stations in rural and metropolitan Victoria. Ambulance Victoria AMBULANCE ACTIVE

also donates out-of-date vehicles to the museum when they are no longer needed. The Bayswater museum is a popular Victorian attraction, and Mr Martin and his fellow volunteers receive visits from interested groups every week. “We show people around three mornings a week, and sometimes have groups of up to 40 people from clubs, schools and councils who want to document the collection,” Mr Martin said. The ambulance vehicle collection has also been displayed in many vintage car club shows and historic events around Victoria.

Ambulance Historical Society Museum 1/55 Barry Street, Bayswater Open MondayWednesday 9am-1pm


NCAU CONFERENCE MELBOURNE, 16 & 17 AUGUST 2018 Conference topic: ‘Mental Health and National Registration’ The 2018 NCAU Conference will be held in Melbourne over two days – Thursday 16 and Friday 17 August 2018.

Win a trip to Melbourne The NCAU will sponsor a member to attend the conference.

To enter simply … Tell us in 250 words or less why you want to go to this year’s NCAU Conference in Melbourne for your chance to win return flights, accommodation and a place at the opening night cocktail function. To enter, email your response to Entries close at 5pm on Friday 7 July 2018. THE FINE PRINT:

• You must be a current financial member of a constituent NCAU member union to be eligible to enter this competition. • The prize consists of return flights to Melbourne with two nights’ accommodation and some meals. Flights depart from your closest capital city on Wednesday 15 August, returning Friday 17 August 2018.

• Some meals, airport transfers and ancillary costs will be the responsibility of the sponsored member (competition winner). • To enter, members are required to outline in 250 words or less why they wish to attend the NCAU Conference. • Applications must be submitted via email by 7 July 2018. • The NCAU will evaluate all entries and select one member to sponsor. The decision of the NCAU will be final and no further correspondence will be entered into. • The member selected by the NCAU to be sponsored must be available to attend the NCAU Conference and will be responsible for organising their own leave from their employer, if required.

• The member selected by the NCAU to be sponsored to attend the NCAU Conference will be required to submit an article about their attendance at the conference for publication in the November 2018 edition of Ambulance Active.

• The article must be submitted to the NCAU by 30 September 2018.

*Venue to be confirmed soon. 26



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Western Australia Pat O’Donnell E: P: 08 9388 5400



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Ambulance Active April 2018  

Ambulance Active is the official journal of the National Council of Ambulance Unions – a publication for paramedics, ambulance officers and...

Ambulance Active April 2018  

Ambulance Active is the official journal of the National Council of Ambulance Unions – a publication for paramedics, ambulance officers and...