Lisa Cavanagh details St John Medical Alarms and related services to members after AGM

Following the Annual General Meeting, 23 of our members were treated to a very interesting message delivered by Lisa Cavanagh, representing the St John Charity, famous for its Ambulance, Paramedic and Medical Alarms services, plus several other social services.

St John provides ambulance services to 90% of New Zealanders and helps around 400,000 citizens every year.

In the address and other material provided, Lisa concentrated on the Medical Alarms service, pointing out that in New Zealand in each year, 33% of people over 65 years will experience a fall, increasing to 50% of people over 80. Falls are the second most common reason for 111 phone calls for an ambulance.

Medical Alarms help thousands of residents to remain in their own homes rather than move to a rest home or associated accommodation. The alarm call goes directly to St John staff, who have immediate access to any serious medical advice incorporated into their records with the consent of their clients.

St John medical alarms are the most popular in NZ and are monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They operate as a two-way speaker mobile phone with battery back-up, activated by a waterproof push button pendant or wrist strap. Once activated, St John staff will call back and if there is no reply from the caller an ambulance will immediately be sent. The scheme allows the paramedic to gain access to your house via a key and lockbox arrangement supplied as part of the contract.

When necessary, special feature alarms can be installed, and those which can operate without the need for a home landline. However, power must be available as must mobile network coverage or an active telephone connection.

Over 40,000 NZ customers use St John medical alarms. They can also be used for non-medical emergencies such as notification of fires or burglaries/intruders and the like.

Another feature of St John work is its Supporter Scheme. Information on this is available at The cost is $50 per annum for 1 person, $65  for 2 and $80 for 3 or more persons living permanently at the same address. Membership helps the work of the charity and entitles members to large discounts on ambulance costs.

Peter Young

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