Events large and small and St John WA go together like footy and meat pies or country fairs and hot sangers. If you attend a music festival or sporting final at Optus Stadium, it’s a source of comfort to see the familiar St John WA emblem reassuringly present with personnel on site.
But what happens when all those events disappear almost overnight? What role do those highly trusted St John WA volunteers play when the state’s shows and stadiums grind to a halt?
Bruce Rudrum, Head of St John WA’s Event Health Services admits the year so far has been a challenging one, but thanks to his team’s ability to step up into new roles and activities, it’s also been a year where the public’s trust in that famous insignia has been more evident than ever.
“This year has been a challenge for the community as a whole and we have been at times significantly affected in a number of areas,” says Bruce. “But we are challenged constantly in our industry so we were very willing and able to deploy at all times during the year, wherever we were needed.”
As COVID-19 has decimated the live events scene so comprehensively, Bruce and his team have had to adapt and innovate in a fluid manner to maintain vital income – all the while providing services to new customers.
“Our adaptability and ability to deploy at an incredibly varied type of demand at short notice – for instance, bush fire activations in summer providing medical support for firefighters and, of late, supplying staff to Perth airport to swab inbound passengers – make us especially unique,” says Bruce.
“A very important focus for us during this time was the engagement, training and upskilling of our very significant volunteer staff as traditional deployments predominantly ceased. Our volunteers by nature are very motivated and generous people, and were keen to get involved in whatever presented itself in the community. COVID-19 was no exception and their willingness to learn new skills and adapt to what they may now be presented with is and continues to be outstanding.”
The complex demands COVID-19 placed on medical staff and volunteers required new processes, governance and procedures to be acquired quickly, and an important part of St John’s event medical operations plans is that the management and safety of staff and clients was paramount, says Bruce.
Since first operating as an event health service over 100 years ago at the Perth Royal Show, the brand has become one of the most trusted in the WA community.
“St John Event Health Services provides medical services including first aid to over 4,000 events in WA every year, from very large community sports which include the City to Surf, HBF Run For A Reason to the Port to Pub swim, as well as local school and amateur sports,” he says.
Add to the mix Skyworks, major music festivals and community events at grassroots level, and it becomes clear that St John Event Health Service is an essential part of the WA landscape.
“I’m particularly proud of my role, especially as it involves being a part of an outstanding team of very passionate people, committed to helping the public of Western Australia – and particularly as any surplus we generate is channelled back into the community in the form of First Aid training and philanthropic medical deployments,” says Bruce.
Although large-scale events are still perhaps still several months off, the demand for the St John Event Health Service crews remains “quite strong”, says Bruce.
“We are now attending many new, non-traditional events, some particularly COVID-19 related. The current circumstances have prompted event organisers to think about their clinical governance overall in a little more detail which is great from a public point of view.”
For those who are planning events, the safety of those who attend has taken on a new level of importance in light of COVID-19. Thanks to the large, dedicated team of St John event health officers, medics, paramedics and doctors, Bruce believes that, more than ever, it’s important to put your trust in an organisation which has an entire infrastructure behind each and every team member who wears the uniform.
“As an organiser of an event, you will have the peace of mind that you are not just getting a standalone single medical team or an individual; you are getting a whole organisation which includes the state ambulance service and the experience and infrastructure that goes with it,” he says.
“We have the ability to activate an incredible wealth of resources for any situation at any time.”
To enquire about St John Event Health Services or book first aid medical cover for your next event, visit https://stjohnwa.com.au/ambulance-and-health-services/event-health-services, call (08) 9334 1311 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org