Have a hand in saving lives

2016-04-12 06:00
Michael Boyd, one of the Hout Bay volunteers Emergency Medical Service at their community outreach CPR demonstrations. These volunteers work tirelessly to help community memebers in need of emergency medical care.

Michael Boyd, one of the Hout Bay volunteers Emergency Medical Service at their community outreach CPR demonstrations. These volunteers work tirelessly to help community memebers in need of emergency medical care.

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Hout Bay Volunteers Emergency Medical Services have vowed to continue providing the highest possible level of emergency care to community members.

They attend to any medical, trauma or rescue emergency in their operational area. These include everything from car crashes to people having heart attacks. Violent assaults and the burden of diseases such as TB and HIV make up a large portion of their work load.

Whilst the majority of their work is in Hout Bay, where needed they also provide emergency care outside the area. Following a very successful year last year, their aim is to attract new volunteers to boost their membership so that they continue to serve those that need them the most.

The oldest medical volunteer service, they were started in 1994 to provide emergency medical services to the community because the position of Hout Bay means that it takes a long time to get resources in an emergency. There is no hospital or ambulance base in Hout Bay and volunteers were able to stabilise and treat the patient until further help arrived.

Currently they have 40 volunteers – all medically trained and registered with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA). A number of these members also provide administration and support functions. The service runs shifts on weekends and depending on the availability of our volunteers is able to have a crew on standby from Friday night to Sunday night.

Hout Bay Volunteer EMS CEO Matthew Rosenberg says their service is vital as it helps the community by providing those in need with emergency care as quickly as possible. “Our ambulance is based in Hout Bay and we are able to provide care faster than services outside the valley. Every call we attend to means that a Department of Health Emergency Medical Service (DoH EMS) ambulance is able to help another community which is in need of help,” he says.

“When the DoH EMS does not have an ambulance available for a priority call, we will respond to assist.”

Rosenberg says they are very fortunate to have a strong working relationship with the Department of Health and other emergency services and they are grateful to them for their ongoing support.

Registered as a non-profit organisation and public-benefit organisation their service is completely dependent on the generosity of sponsors and the community.

“Businesses and individuals donate money each month which covers the costs of our fuel and maintenance. Our larger sponsors include Nucleus Financial Services, Rotary Club of Hout Bay and Hout Bay Insurance Brokers. We are also appealing for financial contributions to keep us on the move all the time. We are very grateful to numerous restaurants in Hout Bay that provide our volunteers with free coffee and pizzas on shift, and that keeps us going.”

In an effort to boost volunteer numbers, they are calling on anyone with a minimum qualification of Basic Life Support and registration with the HPCSA to join their team.

V Those who want to volunteer or donate to Hout Bay volunteer EMS they can email info@houtbayems.org.za. For emergencies call 10177

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