St John prepares for busiest night of the year

By Tema Hemi

As we head into the busy part of the summer holiday season, St John is preparing for the busiest night of the year. 111 calls to the ambulance service triple on New Year's Eve.

St John is all set to keep New Zealanders safe by planning extra resources for the big night. Eighty additional response vehicles are ready for emergency calls. 

Callouts peak between 11pm and 3am, with the increase being predominantly alcohol-related and the St John staff would like to see everyone home safely after their night out. 

St John is likely to respond to around 500 calls during the four-hour peak period, with many emergency callouts being preventable.

Assistant Director of Operation at St John Doug Gallagher says, "We are bringing on extra staff in the hotspots so around 80 extra staff on the streets and about 30 extra staff in our comm centres centred around the cities and the coastal areas where people have gathered. A mixture of ambulances with two staff and rapid response vehicles so single crewed vehicles to quickly get out to scenes to establish what's going on. So, a mixture of both and they're spread around what we imagine are going to be the hotspots Auckland, Christchurch, and those coastal places like Gisborne, the Coromandel, and also up north in the Bay of Islands. The increase in our workload has increased threefold and its almost all related to alcohol or any other recreational drugs."

Gallagher has this to say about public safety for tonight, "Two things really, stay hydrated with water and look after each other, look after your friends and if you leave your friends alone then if they've been drinking or even had drugs they're in quite a vulnerable situation. They're open to crime, sexual abuse, let alone the health potentials of not being looked after properly so look after each other."