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Urgent Safety Meeting

By 4 May 2023No Comments

Dear members,

Today the AEAWA met with the senior management team at St John over numerous concerns relating to officer safety. Specifically, the potentiality of introducing stab vests into the service. Multiple members had contacted the AEAWA to open the lines of discussion with St John post the recent death of a Sydney paramedic.

Your committee believe that although this PPE would benefit if an incident such as that occurred here, we believe that there are numerous ways that St John could protect their frontline officers before an officer enters such scenes. The AEAWA identified areas of concern in the hopes for immediate improvement.

The committee identified the following areas of concern.

While the call is occurring

Identify any shortfalls in ProQA to see if further call-taker questioning could occur. This should be reviewed as the first barrier in limiting crew exposure to aggressive scenes. Our SOC colleagues do an amazing job for crew safety; however, they are often confined by a script and freelance questions are not currently allowed. The AEAWA would like to discuss this further to allow call-takers to use their intuition for such calls.

Involve STT

Make STT a 24/7 department so calls such as ‘37s” can be further reviewed. This can be a potential area where further safety concerns at scenes can be identified. Currently there is no funding for this, and further discussions will occur on providing crews with an extra 24/7 safety net. The AEAWA also raised the concern that CEP should have a representative from STT involved to discuss how they could assist with this process and explain other pathways these types of patients could go through.

Dispatching the call

Current practice has officers driving priority 1 to scenes and then waiting in excess of 45-minutes for Police to attend. The AEAWA believe that waiting on scene close to the vicinity of such calls is a potential hazard for members. Your committee would like to see a P2 dispatched if WAPOL are not on scene or have no vehicles available to assist.

Calls such as these being ANR’d

Currently crews cannot leave the scene of an ANR, as the vehicle tracking alerts dispatchers that you have left the scene. This often prompts a call from the Duty Manager advising them not to move away from the scene until the call is completed (i.e., paperwork completed and submitted). The AEAWA would like this practice ceased and believe crews should not be performing paperwork on the driveways of patients. They should leave the scene and complete their ePCRF at a close and safe location.


The discussion around stab vests occurred which has numerous other implications attached to it. Services where employees wear these are also different in their policies. Questions raised were.

– How are they to be cleaned?

– Are officers to wear them at all times, or when they go to locations potentially flagged or have a possibility of aggression?

– What happens if an officer is not wearing one and something happens?

St John agreed with many of these issues and want to work alongside the AEAWA for the safety of all employees. St John also discussed a possible ad campaign regarding employee safety. This could be a combined TV campaign (seen in other services) with either the Department of Health or the other emergency services. The AEAWA stated we are happy to discuss any area that can protect our frontline members.

During the meeting St John indicated they are happy to review the stab vests and bring some items to a further meeting to review, then there will probably be a small and fast trial on that PPE to see what equipment type works for our profession and environment.

Both the AEAWA and St John realise the implications of such changes, and both parties are on board in protecting all officers. Further meetings and information will be provided shortly.

The AEAWA Executive