Web_cert-volunteers-led-the-campaignI have just received a copy of Greg Hunt’s Flinders Community news in my mail and read with interest some of the local issues that Greg has been involved with. It is quite obvious that there is an election in the air, and he needs to let voters know how active he has been over the last term of the current Parliament. However, I was a bit disappointed to read the claim that, and I quote, “It was a great pleasure to see Grantville’s new Ambulance Station officially opened late last year as a result of our very successful community campaign.”

Whose campaign does Greg refer to? Can I point out the that the real reason the Ambulance Station was achieved was through the dedicated work of a handful of volunteers who provided a 24 hour, 365 day a year emergency medical response supported by paramedics from Wonthaggi and Cowes to the areas of Grantville, Bass, Corinella, Coronet Bay and the surrounding districts. These volunteers worked tirelessly for eight years to show that a dedicated Ambulance Service was needed to the district to better improve the health service to those that reside in the area. In the last year of operation of that team, known as the CERT (Grantville and District Community Emergency Response Team), they attended in excess of 400 calls to medical emergencies.

Very rarely was there not a crew of two responders available to answer those calls, who answered the call no matter the time, the weather, or that they may have left their families on those special days like Christmas and the like. Over the eight years of operation the team built up on their skills and were able to gain the confidence of the community as a whole, so much so that from time to time paramedics were told that it was OK, the CERT was on the way and they weren’t needed. This dedicated group did what needed to be done to better all the community, and throughout my eight years involvement I very rarely heard a complaint or a grumble. On top of that, they were required to complete skills updates and training on a regular basis knowing that the reward at the end of the day would be that they had made a difference in the lives of others in their time of need.

I am proud to have been a member of that team, and the reward that we achieved as a team was showing that an ambulance branch was needed, and that Ambulance Victoria and its predecessor Rural Ambulance Victoria would ultimately provide it, which they did. There is no doubting that Greg may have written to the Victorian Minister for Health supporting the need for an ambulance station in Grantville, but the main campaign was fought by the members of CERT over an eight year period, very quietly responding to calls, compiling records and statistics to support that need. To all of those involved on the team, as a member of the community, I thank you for your dedication and perseverance; the ambulance station was achieved by all of you, and I was proud to be one of you.

Barrie Stewart, (former Community Emergency Response Team member), Woodleigh.