‘Gen 2’ ambulance for Balclutha
‘‘We're absolutely delighted with it...’’
Balclutha St John is the proud owner of a new ‘‘generation 2’’ ambulance, thanks to a donation from the J.I. Urquhart Family Trust.
Former Kaitangata man James Ian Urquhart, known as Ian, died in September 2010 at Christchurch, aged 76. A family trust formed in his name bequeathed Balclutha St John $200,000.
Station manager Ken Barton said the donation made it possible for the town and South Otago to upgrade its fleet with a new stateof-the-art ambulance much earlier than most regional centres in New Zealand.
Launched last year, the ‘‘gen 2’’ ambulance was mostly being introduced to urban centres, he said. ‘‘We’re absolutely delighted with it, and we’re really fortunate to have it.’’
It features the latest technology to improve staff safety and patient comfort. Of particular note was the ‘‘wonderful stretcher’’, which was going to help decrease paramedic back injuries, he said.
Balclutha staff were still getting used to the electric/hydraulic operation, to control the height and to attach and detach the stretcher from the ambulance.
‘‘It can take patients up to 300kg, and we’re getting more of those these days.’’
The new ambulances have space for only one stretcher. ‘‘There used to be the perception we had to allow for two patients. Now safety is more of a priority.
‘‘When you get to a scene, you can only deal with one patient at a time, so this is part of how things have evolved over time.’’
An attendant seat now occupies the space of the other stretcher. While the patients were well strapped in during trips, on more than one occasion the officer inside had been injured from not being strapped into a seat, simply because there wasn’t any provision for one.
The attendant can still take care of the patient from their swivel seat without endangering themselves.
Barton said he was intrigued to know more about the station’s benefactor and his connection to the district.
Following Urquhart’s death, Stuff reported that he was a ‘‘private habitual investor’’ and business mentor, who had a stake in listed Dunedin-based engineering company Scott Technology.
He lived at Sumner near Christchurch and was a passionate gardener.
Urquhart was described as a proud South Islander, who invested in southern companies such as Ernest Adams, Arthur Barnett and Radio Otago when they were listed.
Manager Ken Barton and volunteer Leigh Topping getting the hang of the stretcher in the new ambulance. Station manager Ken Barton