Help at hand dur­ing sum­mer months

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHITTAKER

A ser­vice for rev­ellers need­ing time out or med­i­cal help in the cen­tral city is back for sum­mer.

The SafeZone is some­where party-go­ers can go to if they have over in­dulged in al­co­hol or drugs, are in­jured, or are con­cerned about their safety.

It’s a joint ini­tia­tive of the Auck­land Coun­cil, St John, ACC and the Red Frogs youth vol­un­teers.

Am­bu­lance call­outs tend to peak around midDe­cem­ber and over the new year pe­riod in cen­tral Auck­land when crews re­spond to around 50 to 60 in­ci­dents be­tween 12am and 6am.

Crews are called to an av­er­age of 29 in­ci­dents in that time out­side of the peak pe­riod.

The SafeZone concept was tri­alled in March. More than 600 peo­ple vis­ited it and 88 peo­ple were treated by St John staff dur­ing the four weeks. Nearly all of those who were treated were drunk.

St John Auck­land Dis­trict op­er­a­tions man­ager Derek Lieft­ing says the SafeZone is valu­able be­cause it frees up re­sources. Pa­tients can be treated on site and col­lected by fam­ily or friends rather than taken to hos­pi­tal.

‘‘This is a real ad­van­tage be­cause it al­lows am­bu­lances and crews to be avail­able for more crit­i­cal jobs, like a car­diac ar­rest.

‘‘It also pre­vents vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple be­com­ing po­ten­tial vic­tims of vi­o­lence and in need of more se­ri­ous med­i­cal at­ten­tion.’’

St John has been gifted a six-berth mo­bile home as a base for all SafeZone staff and vol­un­teers.

Cen­tre­piece: The SafeZone truck will be on Queens Wharf dur­ing De­cem­ber and Jan­uary to help those who have overindulged.

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