St John seeks major incident volunteers

St John Major Incident Support Team (MIST) Southern volunteer Michael Gatehouse in the vehicle that has recently relocated from Gore to Invercargill. Photo: Supplied

THE St John Major Incident Support Team (MIST) vehicle has recently moved to Invercargill from Gore.

St John volunteer support manager Sandra Wilson said the organisation was in need of a new group of MIST volunteers.

MIST was a subset of the emergency ambulance service that did not require any clinical training or experience, Ms Wilson said.

The role of MIST volunteers was to enable the deployment of purpose-built command units and other specialist major incident vehicles to support frontline ambulance officers during major incidents or large planned events.

“MIST volunteers are critical to major incidents in providing the support to emergency responders at the scene. For example, they can be deployed to a serious flooding event, an earthquake, a multiple motor vehicle crash, or any major event or disaster that might need us to support our ambulance officers.

“Because you don’t have to be clinical – MIST gives you an opportunity to get involved and work side-by-side supporting those who do have the clinical skills.”

Being a volunteer for MIST was hugely rewarding, she said.

“It’s a great way to make new friends and help your community in times of need.”

National operations manager James Stewart said MIST volunteers played an invaluable role.

“Being a MIST volunteer is something people can do to help their community and support a major incident response.

‘‘We’re looking for people with a multiple skill level – for example, they could have an IT or welfare background.’’

St John Ambulance was replacing its fleet of MIST command vehicles, he said.

Southland is expected to be a part of the roll out of areas to receive a new MIST vehicle during the next two years.

There were 28 new Gen 4 Mercedes vehicles being custom-fitted with all the essential equipment for a major incident, including medical supplies for 50 patients and a tent which could comfortably house equipment and six critical patients and set-ups to complement a field hospital.

The new vehicles were ‘‘state-of-art’’ and equipped with all the critical medical supplies and equipment, Mr Stewart said.