Emergency Medical Technician Ayden Garratt recognised for service with South West St John Ambulance service

Five years of service: Emergency Medical Technician Ayden Garratt said he felt
Five years of service: Emergency Medical Technician Ayden Garratt said he felt "privileged and honoured" to represent St John WA in the South West. Picture: Pip Waller

Not everyone can say they've been behind the wheel of a St John WA ambulance.

The siren echoes down the street, cars come to a stop to let you through, and showing up in that green uniform offers an instant feeling of relief to the patient needing assistance.

Emergency medical technician Ayden Garratt, who splits his time between the Australind, Boyanup, Busselton and East Bunbury sub centers throughout the South West, can vouch for the "privilege" of working for St John.

He recalled attending a car accident a number of years ago, reffering to the situation as his "motivation to keep going" with the job.

"A man had hit a tree and had a number of fractures, requiring the 'Jaws of Life' to be removed from the vehicle," Mr Garratt said.

"I was assisting the paramedic while working with the fire brigade, police and the rescue helicopter to get the man out of the vehicle, packaged and off to hospital.

"Of course it was challenging to deal with the situation but I remember thinking, not everyone gets to see and be a part of this.

"And that's what motivates me - because if we didn't go out to call outs, if there was no ambulance service, it would be a less favourable outcome."

Mr Garratt first started volunteering with "The Saint" (St John Ambulance) in 2017 after completing extensive, in-house training with St John, including Emergency Medical Responder and Emergency Medical Assistant courses.

He said his journey had been somewhat different to other officers in that he completed his training before "even stepping foot" in an ambulance.

"A lot of people come in and do an observer shift first before starting their training, but when I applied I didn't know what to expect so I just threw myself into training and then started observer shifts afterwards in the ambulance.

"How they work is you're a third officer in 'normal' clothes with a paramedic and an ambulance officer and you just observe what they do.

"Two months later I was already up the front driving the ambulance to the hospital, and by that stage was very keen to get into one of the green uniforms."

The role of an emergency medical technician is a volunteer role where the technician, in partnership with the paramedic, contributes to the on-road operation of an ambulance.

During an 11 to 13 hour shift at one of the Greater Bunbury sub centres, Mr Garratt's shifts involve responding to emergency call outs, accessing job details via the AmbiCAD system, creating a plan of action (what equipment etc), assessing and treating the patient, transferring them to hospital and completing a handover process to the triage nurse on duty.

When you wear the green uniform, the public look at you and the ambulance and there's a sense of calmness and peace - it's good to be a part of that."

Emergency Medical Technician Ayden Garratt

Part of the 'team effort' of the ambulance, Mr Garratt said it was important for the community to know that even though it was a volunteer role, being an emergency medical technician meant "you were still a part of the operation".

"There's sort of this misconception among the community from people who either don't understand or who haven't had the exposure to the ambulance service that EMT's just sort of hold the bags and drive the ambulance.

"But there's much more to it than that.

"While we don't administer injections we prescribe medication and can still sit in the attendant seat and assess and treat the patient.

"What I say to people is that if you have a drivers license you can drive an ambulance, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you know those life saving interventions and that's the important part of what we do."

To commemorate his five years of service as an Emergency Medical Technician, Mr Garratt received a black and white service ribbon. Picture: Pip Waller

To commemorate his five years of service as an Emergency Medical Technician, Mr Garratt received a black and white service ribbon. Picture: Pip Waller

Mr Garratt told the Mail that although the role was volunteer, which he worked at in addition to his full time job working for the WA governments, ServiceWA, it was "very rewarding" on a personal level.

"Even though it's me giving up my own time, I feel very honoured that I've been able to contribute and be a part of something like this.

"My passion is people and despite all the equipment and medication in the ambulance, I really believe in laughter and when it's appropriate of course, to try and get the patient to laugh.

"I've found that when you wear the green uniform, the public look at it and the ambulance and there's this calmness and peace that comes with that, which is great to be a part of.

"Every time you are called out, your heart is pounding and there's a lot going on inside your head, but somehow no one on the outside can see that - which is a really good skill to have."

Going forward, Mr Garratt hopes to work in the Perth-based St John Ambulance Communications Centre, answering emergency calls and being involved in ambulance dispatch and facilitation.

"To be the voice on the other end of the radio, saying to the guys right, you need to go here for this job and that job, that's what I want to do.

"But even if I got that job I don't want to give up being a volunteer on the road, I would still work and live in Perth but on my days off come back to Bunbury and volunteer."

To commemorate his dedication to St John WA in the South West, Mr Garratt was recently recognised for his five years of service with 'The Saint'.

He now dons a black and white service ribbon on his uniform as a symbol of his recognition.