Make it a team effort in WA this festive season
With each weekend in summer, ambulance crews are responding to a rising number of overdose cases, mostly involving synthetic drugs. Last weekend alone, paramedics attended more than 20 OD cases, which suggests more people are turning to illicit substances as they let their hair down after a busy year.
Western Australians are urged to do their bit this festive season to ease pressure on St John Ambulance frontline crews – and simply use some common sense.
While the majority of people enjoy time off over Christmas and New Year to relax and celebrate with family and friends; paramedics, State Operation Centre operators, ambulance officers and volunteers from St John Ambulance WA won’t be putting up their feet.
St John Metropolitan Ambulance General Manager James Sherriff said its business as usual for the all career and volunteer ambulance crews rostered to work during the festive season.
“We don’t approach the festive period differently to any-other day, our crews are prepared to respond professionally and efficiently to all triple zero (000) calls; it’s just the environment is unlike the norm.
“A lot of cases over Christmas happen in the midst of what should have been a fun festive gathering when the patient is often surrounded by family or friends,” explained Mr Sherriff.
Mr Sheriff said alcohol is a significant factor in many of cases attended by paramedics over the festive period and in a worrying trend, illicit drugs are having an increasing impact in calls to triple zero (000).
“More so than at other time of the year, alcohol factors in motor vehicle accidents, assaults, falls, domestic trauma or medical-related problems caused by having too many drinks.”
Ambulance statistics for the year to date support this, with St John attending to an average of 90 patients per day suffering from a traumatic injury, with 39 of these calls occurring within the home. Each day an average of 27 ambulance call-outs were made for people effected by drugs and alcohol.
Mr Sherriff said: “With each weekend in summer, ambulance crews are responding to a rising number of overdose cases, mostly involving synthetic drugs. Last weekend alone, paramedics attended more than 20 OD cases, which suggests more people are turning to illicit substances as they let their hair down after a busy year.”
He said St John isn’t setting out to spoil WA’s festive celebrations, but urged everyone to use their common sense – even if you don’t have the added responsibility of family or hosting an event.
“Moderate your alcohol consumption even if you are not having to drive, and drink plenty of water. If you’re going to be driving long distances, don’t consume alcohol, take regular breaks and even stop for a nap or change drivers if you’re getting sleepy. The ultimate aim is to get to your destination safely,” he said.
“And if you’re celebrating around the pool or by the beach or river, make sure there’s someone responsible around who can do CPR, especially if there are children around.”
No matter where you plan to spend the festive season, at home, on holiday or somewhere in the great outdoors, Mr Sherriff advised Western Australians to have a well-stocked first aid kit.
“All kits should contain bandages and dressings, a thermal blanket, alcohol swabs and disposable gloves. It also equips you to provide basic care, while waiting for the ambulance, if you are first on the scene.
If you plan to go camping, you should also take instant cold packs, heavier bandages, whistle, compass, glow stick and torch.
For more information on first aid kits or to have your kit restocked, visit www.stjohnambulance.com.au.