A deep love of the community characterises two Boort Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs), who recently celebrated 20 years of service at Ambulance Victoria (AV).
Vikki Couper and Deanne Smith started their AV careers as inaugural members of the town’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which began in August 2003.
Vikki Couper (left) and Deanne Smith (right) working together.
CERTs are made up of local volunteers who provide 24 hours, seven days a week emergency medical support in less populated areas of the state.
Ms Couper said she was inspired to join after a community meeting about the new team.
“The CERT offered an opportunity to give back to our small town by helping to provide emergency assistance,” she said.
The pair later undertook additional training and hit the road as ACOs in 2016.
Deanne Smith (left) and Vikki Couper (right).
ACOs are also First Responders but are employed on a casual basis to work “on call” in rural and remote areas and can transport patients to hospital.
Ms Couper said her role keeps her fulfilled and is one she plans to continue long-term.
“People call Triple Zero (000) when they are in vulnerable or traumatic situations and being able to help patients and their families by providing reassurance, treatment and support is not only comforting but also rewarding,” she said.
“It’s always a highlight to see the relief on a patient’s face when you arrive.”
Vikki Couper (left) and Deanne Smith (right) at a celebration for their milestones.
Ms Smith said a few reasons made her first sign up as a CERT member and these same reasons have kept her to stay for two decades.
“I became a CERT member because I wanted to challenge myself, gain new skills and become involved in the care and future of the local community,” she said.
“I love working within Boort and seeing the positive outcomes we can have on individuals – both in their time of need and their future care.”