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Helping out ... St John's Fairlie ambulance service needs more volunteers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Volunteers are needed for the Fairlie St John ambulance service.

Station manager Barry Adie said several volunteers in Fairlie were due to retire soon and more volunteers were needed so patients did not have to have a 45-minute wait for the Timaru ambulance.

Volunteers used to just solely drive the ambulance, but now underwent first responder training to learn about the equipment and help the medics on board.

Once volunteers were signed up and police checks were completed, they could be observers on the truck until a training course was scheduled, Mr Adie said.

“They’re not idle,” he said of volunteers.

While the service was in a quieter patch between the ski season and the summer travelling time, volunteers did 15 to 40 callouts a month, averaging about 25 a month, he said.

Mr Adie encouraged anyone interested to apply because the group was pretty flexible with people’s schedules and there was support from the area’s committee if volunteers needed child-minding or other assistance.

The station had a flat attached, so if volunteers lived some distance away they could stay in the flat while on call and even bring their whole family if needed.

Several volunteers were in their late 60s or 70s, and it was putting pressure on the service because they could not manage night shifts, he said.

All training was free and any costs to the volunteers were reimbursed by the committee.

Anyone interested in volunteering for St John can contact Barry Adie on either (03) 685-8313 or 021 189-4679.