Thanks to a former nurse, the town of Blinman has immediate emergency medical cover every night.
Susan Pearl, who runs tours in the Blinman Heritage mine, is the town’s first responder and is on call if they get a 000 call, supporting crews in Hawker.
The former nurse first moved to Hawker from Adelaide four years ago and started her Certificate IV Ambulance Officer training while living there.
She later moved 100kms north to Blinman and thought it might be difficult to continue.
“When I moved to Blinman I didn’t think I would be able to continue volunteering for SA Ambulance Service, but I spoke to my regional team leader Janet Brewer and she said I could work as a first responder in the town,” Ms Pearl said.
It was her belief in giving back to a new community that motivated Ms Pearl to begin her training as an ambulance officer in the Flinders.
To keep up with her training, she joins the team at Hawker every fortnight, which is a long, busy trip.
“I stay at Hawker for the training and usually sleep in a swag at a friend’s house,” she said.
“I enjoy seeing the rest of the team each fortnight. “I also go to Port Augusta to volunteer as a third on a team to keep up my training and clinical practice.
“I don’t mind being on call every night. If I have visitors coming I can take myself off the roster.
Ms Pearl said there were upsides to learning new skills.
“The other great thing is that you gain skills to help your own family members,” she said.
“It also challenges your brain to go and learn something and it’s a good social outlet as you become friends with your team-mates at the station.”
Flinders regional team leader Janet Brewer said volunteers like Ms Pearl were invaluable to their local communities.
“When we have people like Susan who can cover the roster, it means the town can have a truly local response,” Ms Brewer said.
As a first responder Susan can provide a sit rep for Blinman cases so any further response by SA Ambulance Service is appropriate.
“This is very important in an area where resources are geographically spread out. It’s now even easier to get on the road as a volunteer.
“We need more people in Hawker and Leigh Creek, but would also love to hear from anyone in or close to the towns of Quorn and Yunta.”
To speak to Ms Brewer about becoming a volunteer call 0417 881 950.
To learn more about taking the step and becoming an ambulance volunteer go to saambulance.com.au, call 1800 655 306 or email SAASvolunteer@sa.gov.au.