Free Ambulance Services In Wellington New Zealand
I am writing this article because of the wonderful service the Wellington Free Ambulance Service has given to my own family over the years. Their presence was shifted to the forefront of my attention last evening when my mother fell on the cobbled pavement in Porirua City, causing injury to her head quite drastically, followed by an ever-flowing volume of blood and necessitating an ambulance to be called to transport and admit her to Wellington Hospital. I therefore researched where they came from in support of their constant presence in our community and hope that you readers may find it interesting to know the background of our emergency ambulance services vehicles.
The Establishment of the Wellington Free Ambulance Service.
Way back in 1927 the Mayor of Wellington Charles Norwood happened upon an incapacitated piece of humanity suffering after a road accident with no immediate transport available to ferry him to the Wellington Hospital. It was enough for him to bring into action his thoughts of a public free ambulance service for the area. In the beginning they operated out of the Old Navals Boatshed which later became home to the Wellington Rowing Club. In order to provide ongoing funds for the tools and motor vehicles needed to keep the ambulance services running, the Ladies Auxiliary came into being as an essential part of the service in 1929 and remained so for the next 60 years.
Cable Street saw the foundation stones being laid for a new building in 1932 by Lord Bledisloe. By 1956 Lower Hutt got its own station followed by Upper Hutt in 1961 and Porirua in 1963. Next came Kapiti Coast and Newtown in 1977. By the 1990’s the Wellington Free Ambulance Service had already outgrown the Cable Street abode, precipitating a magnificent effort in fundraising for a new station opened by Prince Charles in 1994 in the current Thorndon location in Davis Street. Stations in Waikanae and Wainuiomata were opened in 1999. The year 2000 saw a replacement building for Porirua along with a new Wellington waterfront establishment in 2008. A new station for Johnsonville was established in 2010 followed by a state-of-the-art Regional station for Newtown in the actual grounds of the new Wellington Hospital in 2011 which of course is the most popular site being in such close proximity to the hospital they all serve. Expansion into the Wairarapa was finalised in 2012. Each of these outlying stations enable the ambulance services to establish far better response times to situations of dire need and it is all FREE to patients who take advantage of the service. 2005 saw the introduction of the yellow/green base colour with large green and white markings that feature reflective properties, away from the up until then standard white colour. Over the years the since1952, the Florence and Charles Odlin Trust has contributed generously to the maintenance of the vehicles.
111 is the number to call when in need of an ambulance in our region. Donations to the Wellington Free Ambulance Service annual appeal, along with backup from the Ministry of Health and the Accident Compensation Corporation guarantee, we Wellingtonians have a right to use the talents and skills of a world class level of paramedic care on tap, fast and free.