Ambulance Tasmania has introduced four new emergency response vehicles to deliver a speedier service to rural Tasmanians living some distance from an ambulance station.
The Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) vehicles are staffed by specially trained volunteer ambulance officers to attend medical emergencies and provide lifesaving medical care before an emergency ambulance arrives.
CERT volunteers will secure the scene, assess patients, provide life-saving first aid and ongoing patient care until additional ambulance crews arrive on the scene.
CERTs are a cost-effective way of providing rapid emergency medical help to those communities remote from the nearest ambulance station but without a caseload to warrant a full volunteer station.
An ambulance, and if necessary other emergency services, will always be sent concurrently with a CERT vehicle but will invariably come from further away.
The CERT program is based on similar models in other mainland states.
Ambulance Tasmania has had four first response units staffed by community members for several years in Port Sorell, Longford, Poatina and South Arm that usually only attend cardiac arrests and a limited range of other life‑threatening emergencies.
These have been upgraded to CERTs and the volunteers have received significant additional training over the last few months to upgrade their skills so they can attend the full range of ambulance cases.
Seed funding for the four new CERT vehicles came from the Federal Government through the Tasmanian Patient Transport Initiative.
Recurrent costs are minimal and will be managed within Ambulance Tasmania’s existing budget.
Ambulance Tasmania has 525 volunteer ambulance officers providing emergency medical help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in 41 communities around the state.