Valued volunteers have the drive to save lives

Passion: Margaret Chilcott has served as a volunteer ambulance officer at Poatina since 2012.  Picture: Supplied
Passion: Margaret Chilcott has served as a volunteer ambulance officer at Poatina since 2012. Picture: Supplied

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Volunteer ambulance officers are often the first on the scene of a medical emergency in rural and remote areas of Tasmania.

Margaret Chilcott has served as a volunteer ambulance officer at Poatina since 2012. Previously working in humanitarian aid in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, when Margaret relocated to Tasmania she was on the lookout for a way to help her community.

“It’s not an altruistic thing for me where I think ‘I’m going out to save lives’, or anything. I just have the ability to get out there and help in that way, so I do,” Margaret said. 

Margaret is one of four volunteers in Poatina’s community emergency response team, who speedily respond to medical emergencies in their Subaru Forrester, which is kitted out with all the gear to save a life. 

“Because we’re so far out from Launceston or anywhere, if there is a medical emergency then we’re first on the scene, while we wait for the ambulance and paramedics.” 

You don’t need any experience to volunteer with Ambulance Tasmania, but Margaret says a love of learning is a must. 

“You’re dealing with a completely different situation every time you get called out, so every time you’re learning something new,” she said.

“It’s not an altruistic thing for me where I think ‘I’m going out to save lives’, or anything. I just have the ability to get out there and help in that way, so I do.

Margaret Chilcott

“When it’s the middle of the night and its freezing cold and you’ve got somebody lying on the ground, it’s a completely different experience from working from a text book or on a mannekin.”

Margaret said the reason she volunteers, in addition to serving her community and her passion for learning, is the people she gets to meet. 

“I would definitely recommend volunteering to everyone.” 

Ambulance Tasmania volunteer ambulance officers dedicate more than 25,000 hours each month to supporting medical emergency response needs across the State.

Ambulance Tasmania is always looking for committed, caring people join their team of Volunteer Ambulance Officers, especially in rural communities.

If you would like to join Ambulance Tasmania’s wonderful volunteers and gain valuable skills that will stay with you for life, learn more at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/ambulance/volunteers