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Meredith CERT receive a gi-ant thank you

May 16, 2022 | in Community News

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When Glenys McKellin headed down the paddock to feed her cows, she never imagined a little ant bite would see her in the back of an ambulance. 

“All of the sudden, everything swelled up,” Glenys said. 

“I thought ‘oh my goodness’, my lips had doubled the size, my tongue, my gums and then I couldn’t talk.” 

Her husband called Triple Zero (000), and the Meredith Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were on their way. 

Meredith CERT members Martin Peters, Cameron Sibeijn, Jo Vermeend,
Judith Wood and Meg Devlin

First on scene was Meredith CERT member Judith Wood. 

Despite it being her first call out, Judith sprang into action and provided care as an ambulance was on its way. 

“They’re an absolute godsend and lifesavers,” Glenys said. 

“I’ve had a couple of close calls, so without the CERT team, I don’t think me and my husband would have held it together.” 

Team Leader Martin has been with Meredith CERT for 13 years

Ambulance Victoria has two types of first responders – Ambulance Community Officers (ACO) and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). 

CERTs are volunteers in small communities who are trained in advanced first aid. 

They are dispatched simultaneously as an ambulance in response to Triple Zero (000) calls. 

Meredith CERT Team Leader Martin Peters knows how critical first responders are in country towns. 

“Our primary role is for the jobs that really matter with a high acuity, like somebody with anaphylaxis that needs that adrenaline shot,” said Martin. 

“Those are the things that make a real difference if somebody is there in five minutes, not 15 minutes.” 

Helping the community is a family affair for ACOs Richard, Kaitlyn and Fiona Cockerell

Being able to help the community you live in is one of the most rewarding parts of being a first responder.    

While studying nursing, ACO Kaitlyn Cockerell decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps and sign up in her local community of Boort. 

With the same advanced first aid qualifications as CERT members, our ACOs have the added capability to transport patients. 

“Being able to help someone in their time of need, when they can’t help themselves, really pushed me to sign up,” Kaitlyn said. 

Glenys reunited with the CERT members who provided care and reassurance

A few months on, Glenys thanked the Meredith CERTs who helped save her life. 

While she’s extremely grateful for their care, Glenys isn’t too keen on seeing them again any time soon. 

“The reassurance and just the comfort was absolutely brilliant”, Glenys said. 

“I’ve had a few dealings with them… and I don’t want any more!” 

To learn more about becoming a first responder, click here.