The AEAWA have learned that a spare / single officer was sent to a Priority 1 patient during last night’s shift. This action was initiated by management and not by our SOC colleagues. The AEAWA believe this practice is extremely unsafe and puts the single officer at a much greater risk of violence and aggression. Further, all risk assessments and SOP’s have been undertaken and written in terms of a ‘double officer’ crew.
We understand the organisation is not meeting response times due to record low standby capacity and under-staffing, however this should not result in disregard for a CLEAR SAFETY ISSUE and long established standard practice.
As per clause 26.13 ‘Spare Officers’ of the Certified Agreement: (a) St John may roster spare employees at a Station to cover vacancies and absences. (b) Spare officers will be available for on-road duties and may be directed to work as part of a standard operational crew on the roster.
The AEAWA urge any members who are dispatched as a solo officer to decline the request citing a genuine concern for their safety, and on advice of their employment representatives.
Please note that should you be flagged down to render assistance while travelling between depots as a single officer (e.g should you come across an MVA), the normal processes of making a scene assessment and rendering aid if safe apply. We recognise that there are some specific roles which have a single responder component, such as AM, CSP, and CP, however these are positions for which those officers will have voluntarily applied with full awareness of the likelihood of working alone and the associated risks, and for which the selection process will have assessed and considered the officers ability to work alone.