New safety trials launched for frontline teams

Press Release
  • St John launching new micro-trials to improve the safety of ambulance teams,
  • Initiatives to be trialled in the next six months include: Slash-proof personal protective clothing; Body-worn cameras; and closer engagement with WA Police and other agencies to improve situational awareness,
  • Initiatives to be progressed by a working group to address violence and aggression and actively pursue prosecutions for wrong-doers.

St John is launching a series of trial initiatives to address instances of violence and aggression against ambulance team members when going about their work.

St John Group Chief Executive Officer Kevin Brown said the initiatives would be overseen by a dedicated working group comprising of experienced frontline personnel who were at their wits end with the behaviour of members of the public who encountered emergency responders.

“Everyone should expect to go home to their partner, friends and family with the same level of mental and physical health with which they came to work,” Mr Brown said.

“St John has already rolled out highly successful de-escalation training to personnel to ensure our people have the skills to keep themselves safe, but more can be done.”

Body cameras are already in place in some eastern states services and will be trialled with St John.

“Our goal is not just to reduce injury, but to greater support team members. This means St John will actively pursue charges against anyone who acts in a violent or aggressive manner to people working on the front line of emergency ambulance response,” Mr Brown said.

He confirmed St John would pursue charges against a bystander who allegedly smashed the windscreen of an ambulance which caused the vehicle to be taken off the road for repairs.

Mr Brown said there were 1625 location warnings registered with the State Operations Centre which requires ambulance crews to be supported by WA Police prior to responding to a Triple Zero (000) emergency call – an increase of 14 per cent or 200 since 2018.

St John is expected to record about 270 instances of violence and aggression against ambulance teams this financial year – which is in line with previous years.

“This isn’t a matter of us seeing a big increase in violence and aggression incidents but instead a recognition that ambulance teams should not have to put up with it,” Mr Brown said.

“Technology has moved a long way forward with personal protective equipment becoming lighter and more agile, and body cameras becoming normalised in emergency services. Now is the time for St John to take the next step to ensure every reasonable measure is being taken to keep teams safe.”

Image: A windscreen smashed during a Triple Zero (000) response. A man has been charged over the incident. 

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