First Aid and Emergency Service
1996 - First Ambulance
ANOTHER DREAM COME TRUE IS THE PURCHASE OF AN AMBULANCE FOR BLESSED GÉRARD'S CARE CENTRE.
Before the last price increase in vehicles, it was decided by the executive to take advantage of the timing - thereby facilitating this addition to our assets. The vehicle will help us to transport sick people to and from Blessed Gérard's Care Centre.
to all our donors who have made this purchase possible. Without all of you we would not be able to carry on. May God bless you for your abundance of good will!
1997 - Our first First Aid Course
1997 The associate members meeting took place on 8th March, 1997. This was very well attended by members from all over the greater Mandeni area. It was an occasion marking another mile stone in the activities of our organisation.
The highlight of the meeting was the awards ceremony. Three categories of certificates were presented. We congratulate the following members on receiving their just rewards.
St. John's Feast with a difference
St. John’s Feast presented an opportunity for us to display our activities, both past and present, to all our members.
It was a pleasure to welcome Mrs Yvonne Renaud, one of our Dedicated members, and Louis, who joined us from Nelspruit in Mpumalanga, to celebrate this feast.
Following a wonderful festive Holy Mass and the formal reception of our new members into our Brotherhood, our junior active members took part in a display of 1st Aid.The mock bicycle/skate board accident was very realistic and gave the cadets a chance to show the adults what they had learnt from Sr. Elaine Taylor.
Our ambulance was put to good use by loading the "accident victims" in and being transported away, with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Elise Bozas shows how she would give CPR
The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard helped to save a life
It was when Comdr. Frank Hearns from the Irish Order of Malta Ambulance Corps visited us with his wife on 21st July 1997 and we took them on a tour to our different projects, that Mr. & Mrs. Hearns and Fr. Gérard came across a terrible road accident just outside Mandini village. A car had a head-on collision and had overturned killing one passenger instantly and leaving the other two trapped. We were the first medical personnel to arrive at the scene with our home nursing vehicle. Having phoned Blessed Gérard's Care Centre it took just a few minutes for our ambulance to arrive. Other ambulances and the fire brigade arrived as well. We fought for the lives of both the surviving until the fire brigade succeeded to cut them out of the vehicle, but unfortunately one of them died before he could be freed from the wreckage. Thanks be to God, we could stabilise him to a degree where he could be transported to hospital.
We would like to compliment Comdr. Frank Hearns on the professional way in which he helped. He was very calm, supportive and efficient. It is wonderful to see, that a head of a relief organisation practises what he preaches.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Malteser-Hilfsdienst (Germany) who have donated our ambulance and its equipment. Your investment has paid off through a life saved!
1999 - Yet Another First for the Brotherhood!
The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard renders emergency services at the Mandeni Raft Race.
At the request of Mandeni Round Table, the organisers of the Mandeni Raft Race to render First Aid & Emergency Services we assisted at this annual event. The response from our active members was very encouraging. A nurse, a paramedic, a Basic Ambulance Assistant and a driver, manned the ambulance. It was initially stationed at the start of the race and then at the finish.The secondary emergency vehicle, which was used as a backup for the ambulance, was based at the Care Centre & Hospice. A nurse, a first-aider and a caregiver/driver were the voluntary personnel.
The volunteers and staff of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre & Hospice are on call 24 hours per day anyway for the patients of the Care Centre & Hospice. But if someone is in dire need, we never refuse to respond to a call for help. Our ambulance has often been dispatched to such emergencies as motor vehicle accidents, people injured in violence, shootings and other sick calls e.g. strokes, heart attacks etc.
In response to this need in our community, we have decided to start a new project, which we call
Blessed Gérard's First Aid & Emergency Service.
To develop this project we want to equip our secondary emergency vehicle with a trailer, containing a First Aid tent, First Aid materials, field beds, blankets and other supplies to enable us to render First Aid services at large functions and major accidents. This would also increase our effectiveness as a part of the local disaster control and civil defense strategy. We also want to add to our numbers of qualified First Aid volunteers for this project.
If you or anyone you know would like to get involved in first aid and voluntary ambulance service, please contact the Brotherhood office.
Thank you to
those volunteers who went out of their way to assist the Brotherhood during the Mandeni raft race. We mention especially Sr. Sanet van Zyl, Sr. Llaurin Bishop, Mrs. Beverley Dunn, Mrs. Elise Bozas, Mr. Nkosinathi Dlamini, Mr. Martin Brits and Fr. Gérard, all of who went out of their way to help.
We would also like to express our gratitude to their families for their understanding and patience.
2000 - Holy Year - Providing First Aid in Rome
This being the Holy Year 2000, the Vatican expected many thousands of pilgrims to flock to all the Basilicas in Rome. The authorities in the Vatican negotiated with the Order of Malta to provide the First Aid at some of their properties in Rome, where so many visitors would be. The Order of Malta agreed and planned to send four teams of Medical personnel to Rome for 54 weeks, in one-week stints. All the relief organisation of the Order of Malta were contacted and asked if they would be prepared to go to Rome to carry out this duty.
The Brotherhood of Blessed Gérard agreed to help for two weeks and was asked to send two teams of four people. By request of the SMOM the ideal team would consist of one medical doctor, one nurse / paramedic, one first aider and one stretcher-bearer. The members of the Brotherhood were generous in offering their time and energy to this project. This was a wonderful opportunity for our members to have international experience and to meet with other Maltese relief organisations from different countries. While we were in Rome we met teams from Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Holland. There was quite a feeling of camaraderie, which built up through working together and sharing a house in Rome, which the SMOM had provided for us. The Vatican had arranged free access to all public transport in Rome, free access to the Vatican Museums and meal vouchers. We were on duty in St. Peter's Square and the Basilicas of St. John the Lateran, St. Maria Maggiore and St. Paul where the SMOM staffs permanent First Aid posts.
Monsignor Dr. Michael Fürstenberg is a novice of the Order of Malta. He is preparing in the Grand Magistry of the Order of Malta for his profession as a conventual chaplain and is in charge of the pastoral care for all the First Aid teams on duty in Rome. He was so impressed by our Brotherhood that he applied to join as a member. We are proud to count him among our members and we wholeheartedly welcome you, Mons. Fürstenberg, in our midst! May God bless you during your preparation to become a professed conventual chaplain of the Order of Malta!
I am sure many of our South African members and of course the Italian members will remember Riccardo and Rosa de Stefano who were in Mandeni for some time prior to returning to Italy. Riccardo & Rosa acted as interpreters for our team. Without them we would have been lost. While Riccardo and Rosa were with us in Rome, their two children Michele and Daniela stayed at home. But we were lucky enough to see them when our other member from Solofra, Italy, Lucia Citro and Antonio Ingino brought them to Rome.
Thank you to all our Italian members who continuously raise funds for us.
Ambulance and First Aid Services
Although the ambulance and other vehicles of Blessed Gérard's Care Centre had been meant to be used just to visit sick people at their respective homes and to transport them occasionally between their home or hospital and Blessed Gérard's Care Centre we have been called by members of the public in many cases of emergencies when the Provincial or private ambulance services were not available. In the interim a good cooperation has developed between Provincial EMRS and ourselves sharing resources and mutually helping each other. Meanwhile the provincial and private ambulance services have improved to a degree that our help is rarely necessary.
On other occasions it just happened that our ambulance was first on the scene at road traffic accidents. We have been asked to render First Aid Services for public events like the Tugela Raft Race, the Mandeni Spring Fair.
Our equipment comprises a 4x4 ambulance, a trailer, a First-Aid tent with field beds, stretchers and First-Aid equipment. Inauguration of our service and blessing of the equipment by Bishop Biyase of Eshowe on 26 June 1999.