Geepers for St John
Its GeePerS for St John
A relationship between The Order of St John and Freemasons was announced at the Grand Installation in Auckland in November 2010. To mark the launch, Freemasons donated 500 Navman GPS to St John, to be used in every one of their ambulances and emergency response vehicles throughout New Zealand.
500 GPS units – each containing the very latest software technology, and each with access to RealTime traffic – information provided through the New Zealand Automobile Association which gives current information as to which roads are open, closed, passable, congested, etc With this information the GPS unit can calculate the fastest route to the scene of any incident, and then back to a hospital or other centre for emergency treatment.
With time being of the essence, the quicker medical assistance can get to those in need, the better their likelihood of survival and enhanced recovery.
500 units do not get fitted to every vehicle in one simple process, but St John handled the roll out of units with organized precision – and as and when appropriate, St John contacted our various District Grand Masters and arranged for photo opportunities and press releases to record the event. Freemasons hit the headlines and had photos across the news media in well over 30 community newspapers around the nation.
St John are delighted with the donation – their drivers and volunteers have also been expressing their appreciation of the gift and hopefully it is the start of a closer working relationship between the two organizations.
The recent earthquakes in Christchurch saw our GPS units in use. St John had rostered over 500 out-of-town volunteers to help with the emergency duties in Christchurch. But with some roads closed – other roads impassable due to liquefaction – other areas fenced off to public – there were real challenges to the drivers especially those from out of town.
We were delighted to hear from a St John volunteer based in Marlborough who had been using our GPS units while relief-driving in Christchurch – easy to use – accurate despite the confusion in the region – a god-send to help St John deliver emergency assistance to the public.
Pleasingly, the Freemasons Hospital Packs were also in use on the St John ambulances in Christchurch during the height of the earthquakes.
Freemasons have contributed 68 defibrillators to various locations around New Zealand over the past 18 months, and, with the relationship with St John, there are opportunities to extend into CPR training, First Aid training, and related courses. Freemasons NZ are currently in dialogue with St John to see what further products or services can be made available to Freemasons from St John to build on the foundation created thus far.