BRIAN Stumer has been in rescue organisations for 17 years.

Come Christmas, the Hervey Bay VMR crew member will be able to add yet another role to his resume - the role of first responder.

Mr Stumer is one of four VMR crew being trained as a first responder by Queensland Ambulance Service.

The training will allow VMR crew to accompany patients back from Fraser Island rather than a paramedic assisting in every medivac trip.

After 12 months of training, Mr Stumer said he was ready to put his new skills to the test.

"The training has been pretty comprehensive," he said.

"We've had training in the use of pain relief, using oxygen kits and specialist equipment."

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QAS Acting Clinical Support Officer for Hervey Bay Paul Fitzpatrick said the training would help their service "tremendously" particularly with resources.

"We always put a paramedic on VMR when possible," he said.

"There's times when we do retrievals of people who are sick on vessels or on Fraser Island (which VMR will attend to)."

VMR crew members now first responders, Brian Stumer, Kerry Bryant, Nick Sennett and Andy Clarke with QAS acting clinical support officer Paul Fitzpatrick and VMR Commodore John Smith.
VMR crew members now first responders, Brian Stumer, Kerry Bryant, Nick Sennett and Andy Clarke with QAS acting clinical support officer Paul Fitzpatrick and VMR Commodore John Smith. Inge Hansen

Crew have spent the past year learning basic first aid, pain relief, management of trauma, occupational safety training among other vital skills.

However, no matter how much training a person receives, Mr Fitzpatrick said a person needs to have "dedication" with "drive and ambition" to be a first responder.

Hervey Bay VMR Vice Commodore Jill Barclay said the first responders would be one step down from paramedics being able to administer some but not all drugs.

"For QAS it's going to help them out in making their paramedics available for more of the Hervey Bay area on land," she said.

"When we go out on medivac we're sometimes gone for two hours so it means our guys will go out, bring patients back and paramedics will meet us here and take them to hospital."

First responders are expected to hit the ground running by Christmas.



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