St. John Ambulance alive and well in Cowichan
Lately people have been telling me that St. John Ambulance in the Cowichan Valley is closed. Well, there is absolutely no truth to that rumour.
The first aid training administration has been changed from a branch to a partner-provider model. Nothing else has changed. You can take the same St. John first aid courses at the same location with the same instructors — including me.
More importantly, our volunteers haven’t gone anywhere. There are nearly 90 volunteers in St. John Ambulance. The most visible are our Medical First Responders (Brigade) who are in attendance at many local activities providing patient care to both participants and spectators. We attend more than 40 events in the Cowichan Valley every year, putting in thousands of volunteer hours. Many organizations would not be able to run their event without our volunteers because it is too expensive to hire people. With the BC Summer Games coming to the Cowichan Valley next summer, we are not only preparing for it but we are actively recruiting more volunteers.
Our youth program was started 11 years ago and the division is now the largest on Vancouver Island. Our youngest (ages 6-10) learn about safety and basic first aid, and our Cadets (ages 11-15) learn Emergency and Standard first aid. As well, they work on proficiency badges. The Cowichan Valley division is well known as the team to beat at first aid competitions and many Cadets have the gold medals to prove it. The Crusaders are 16-17 and allowed to take the same Medical First Responder training that the adults have. All of our young people take part in volunteering within the community.
Many of your readers know about the St. John Therapy Dogs. Both the two-legged and four-legged volunteers bring cheer into various care facilities in our valley. They also have a Children’s Reading Program where kids with difficulty reading can read to a dog. The program is in demand and the TD division is working hard to keep up.
So let me reiterate that St. John Ambulance is not closed. We have served the Cowichan Valley and the surrounding community for 55 years and we have no plans to close down. We take out ancient motto Pro Utilitate Hominum — For the Service of Mankind — very seriously and intend to be here a long time serving our community.
Volunteer and Instructor