After a three-month shutdown, the St. John Ambulance Comox Valley branch has reopened for training, and their local volunteers are returning to support their community.

The organization says many businesses across the province have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, but when it comes to charities like St. John Ambulance, the impact is even greater as they rely solely on community support and donations to run services.

 Due to the pandemic, St. John Ambulance had to close branches and pause all community service programs, including therapy dog visits and medical first responder support for community events and activities. 

However, its medical first responder volunteers stepped up to provide support by volunteering in other ways – such as at Canadian Blood Service clinics and the Topaz Park camp for the homeless in Victoria, as well as helping support the development of an alternate care centre at the BC Convention Centre.

 The charity’s volunteers are now ready and are making a safe comeback. 

“Our volunteers have been preparing for the new reality and all look forward to facilitating the restart of activities in our communities and continuing to do what we do best: helping people when they need it,” said Ross Nichols, Vancouver Island Area Commissioner for St. John Ambulance BC & Yukon.

Outside of the volunteer work, the St. John Ambulance Comox Valley branch in Courtenay, has also resumed its first aid training. 

It has changed the way students will be receiving instruction including requiring them to bring pocket masks and non-surgical masks to courses, implementing physical distancing measures, and enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of all areas.

Anyone can register for training by visiting sja.ca, or by contacting the St. John Ambulance customer care centre at 1-866-321-2651.

To request the services of St. John Ambulance volunteers, whether it’s a visit from therapy dogs or trained medical first responders providing first aid for an event, email bcy.volunteer@sja.ca.