St John’s commemorates 143 years in Malta with demonstration of emergency procedures

The St John’s Association, which has been in Malta for over 130 years, today has over 400 members. The St John’s Rescue Section often serves as support for the Civil Protection Department in cases like rescue operations.

The first St John’s branch, the UK’s St John’s Ambulance, goes back to 1882. St John’s has three branches, the First Aid section which offers training in the administration of First Aid, the Ambulance section which offers on-site treatment in cases of accidents, and the Rescue Section, which assists the Civil Protection Department in cases of fire and also in sea rescues.

STJOHN_frame_2048The three different branches gave a demonstration of their duties at St George’s Square in Valletta. They included a group of 20 boys and girls, the youngest volunteers being trained in First Aid. During the exhibition the children were actually being trained in administering First Aid after a fall.

Bianca Rio: “I am learning how to help someone who has had a fall, or by calling on 112.”

Liam Borg: “I am being taught how to help, and the important thing is to call for an ambulance on 112.”

One of the demonstrations by the St John’s members was a rescue exercise involving someone being trapped inside a vehicle, with the roof having to be removed. Another exercise involved emergency action when a pot catches fire on a stove top. spoke with Gemma Sirol, who has been part of the St John’s Association for the past 50 years, and still dedicates some 50 hours to voluntary duties every week.

“I sometimes meet people who tell me that they knew what to do in an emergency thanks to having attended one of our courses. When you spread the word, you’re reaching out and saving others.”

Part of the St John’s tradition is that the Commandant has to be a senior officer in the Armed Forces. spoke with Colonel Mark Mallia, who occupies this post.

“We are trying to attract more members. People who carry out voluntary work and find time to learn to help and save others are valuable members. We would like more members of the public to do it.”

The St John’s Association is equipped with three fire-fighting units, eight ambulances, three rescue vehicles, a dinghy and a mobile treatment centre in which anyone suffering from a health-related incident can undergo various tests, including checking of blood pressure and sugar levels.