The St John ambulance service aims to provide the highest level of pre-hospital emergency care and patient transport to the Western Australian community.
How to call triple zero (000)
In Australia you dial triple zero (000) to gain emergency assistance from ambulance, police and fire services. Calling triple zero (000) is a free call.
When you call triple zero (000) you will be asked “Do you require Police, Fire or Ambulance?” When you are transferred to the correct service you may be asked the following questions:
1. Location of the emergency?
2. Cross street or landmark?
3. Call back phone number?
4. Nature of the emergency?
5. Number of people involved?
6. Is the patient conscious?
7. Is the patient breathing?
The Communications Officer will give you advice over the phone to assist the patient prior to the arrival of the ambulance. They may also ask you to turn on front lights if it is dark; if possible have someone wait out the front; and make sure the door is unlocked and open so the paramedics can enter.
Please remember to try and stay calm and speak slowly. An ambulance will soon be on the way.
If in doubt you should always call triple zero (000). Sadly many people do not call an ambulance as they are unsure of whether the situation is an emergency or are afraid of the cost.
By calling triple zero (000) you may save someone’s life.
Metropolitan Ambulance Service
About the Metropolitan Ambulance Service
St John Ambulance covers the Perth metropolitan region from Two Rocks in the north to Port Kennedy in the south and Wundowie in the east.
The area is serviced by 24 ambulance centres staffed by more than 500 paramedics and patient transport officers, with three ambulance centres staffed by volunteer ambulance officers.
The metropolitan ambulance fleet consists of over 90 ambulances and 15 patient transport vehicles, and travels in excess of 3.5 million kilometres within the metropolitan area annually, transporting over 120,000 people.
Role of a Paramedic
St John Ambulance paramedics are the front line operators for dealing with medical emergencies in Perth.
Paramedics provide a crucial service for the community, with their role involving responding efficiently to callouts for ambulance assistance, providing care for the sick and injured and transporting patients while constantly monitoring their condition.
Paramedics spend a minimum of four years being trained to determine exactly what a patient is suffering from, the severity of the condition, the necessary treatment, and whether further medical attention is required.
Paramedics continually update and improve their knowledge and skills through regular training.
Four years of training to become a paramedic
Every year around 45 applicants are selected to commence a HECS based Bachelor of Science degree through Edith Cowan University (ECU) with the ultimate aim of becoming a paramedic. The selection process for these positions is carried out by St John Ambulance during the second half of each year.
The successful applicants carry out the first year of their training at ECU and applicants are not employed by St John Ambulance at this time. On successful completion of this first year, applicants are then employed by St John Ambulance as student ambulance officers and complete a further two years of study, which is carried out by St John Ambulance and ECU training staff. Applicants work full time during these two years and carry out study in specially allocated blocks or by distance education.
After passing all subjects and completing the on road requirements of the course, a Bachelor of Science (Paramedical Science) is granted. The successful officers then complete a further 12 month internship under the guidance of senior paramedics before they become a paramedic.
Initial training of ambulance personnel is backed up with ongoing skills assessment, refresher training and skills maintenance. Refresher training programs are used to monitor the clinical standards of ambulance personnel, to determine their skills progression and to assist in other forms of training.
The WA Pre-Hospital Care Research Centre from the University of Western Australia (UWA) is instrumental in providing information that assists St John Ambulance to bridge training gaps. The Centre also provides up to date medical information which is used in refresher training programs and ambulance officer training programs.
Patient Transfer Service
In Western Australia, 70% of ambulance transportations are non-emergency in nature.
To ensure that emergency vehicles are available for emergency cases, St John Ambulance introduced Patient Transport Vehicles (PTVs) to the ambulance service in 1994.
These vehicles are specifically designed to cater for patients requiring routine transport of a non-emergency nature and are staffed by trained transport officers capable of administering medical attention should the need arise.
The Patient Transport Service mainly caters for hospital transfers and the elderly who have appointments at medical centres or hospitals and need to be transferred from their nursing home or house to the appointment.
There are 15 PTVs conveniently located across the metropolitan area playing a pivotal role within the ambulance transport operations.
Booking a Patient Transport Vehicle
Because of its non emergency nature, ideally the Patient Transfer Service should be contacted 24 hours prior to the required pick up time.
With the authorisation of a Medical Practitioner, a PTV can be booked by phoning (08) 9334 1234.
When phoning, you will be asked the following details:
Location: suburb, street name and number
Caller's phone number
Preferred pick-up time
Referring doctor's name
Patient's mobility status, eg. wheelchair
Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service
St John Ambulance provides the critical care paramedics and tasks the Emergency Rescue Helicopter Service, known as RAC Rescue 1, through the State Ambulance Operations Centre.
Managed by the Fire & Emergency Services Authority (FESA), RAC Rescue 1 typically operates within a 200km radius of Perth, thereby covering 90% of Western Australia’s population.
The service provides emergency rescues for incidents such as car accidents, cliff rescues and mining and farming accidents; transfers critically injured patients from regional centres; and is involved in search and rescue missions.
The critical care paramedics on board are highly skilled and trained in intensive care and aeromedical medicine.
Ambulance Operations Centre
The State Ambulance Operations Centre handles the call taking and dispatch of over 155,000 ambulance cases each year for both metropolitan and regional Western Australia.
Located in Belmont, the Operations Centre is staffed 24 hours a day with experienced communications officers who gather vital emergency call information and provide emergency first aid over the phone whilst the caller is waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Calls are allocated on a priority basis, with each call category having a different response time target, as outlined below:
The Operations Centre is one of the most modern in the country and comprises the latest technologies that ensure that the hundreds of triple zero (000) calls received each day are answered and tasked as efficiently as possible.
A Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System provides the communications officers with comprehensive geographical and incident information; an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system provides a 'snapshot' image of the metropolitan area and alerts staff to the location of every ambulance and of all outstanding calls; and the radio system consists of a UHF and VHF network with voice and data.
How we’re performing
St John Ambulance is committed to providing a high quality ambulance service for Western Australians. As such we closely monitor our performance through measures such as response times and an annual customer satisfaction survey.
Response times are a key indicator in measuring our performance. Our response time targets are as follows:
• Attend to 90% of emergency calls within 15 minutes
• Attend to 90% of urgent calls within 25 minutes
• Attend to 90% of non-urgent calls within 60 minutes
For 2006/07, we attended to:
• 90.2% of emergency calls within 15 minutes
• 89.5% of urgent calls within 25 minutes
• 91.3% of non-urgent calls within 60 minutes
The annual customer satisfaction survey for 2006/07 indicated that 95% of people who had used the services of St John Ambulance were either satisfied or very satisfied.
The cost of ambulance transport varies depending on the nature of the call out. Below are our standard fees for the different services we offer.
St John Ambulance is a ‘user pays’ organisation which means that travelling in an ambulance is not free.
For insurance against these fees, coverage can be provided through a private health insurer. If you are a pensioner you may also be covered for ambulance transport (refer to the Ambulance Cover section below for further information).
Click here for information regarding the Country Ambulance Service.
If you should need ambulance transport, even a short ride could be expensive. The cost of ambulance services is not covered by Medicare. Nor is it covered if you are holding a Healthcare card, Pharmaceutical or Pensioner Benefit Card.
Metropolitan Ambulance Cover
In the metropolitan area St John Ambulance has not operated the Ambulance Cover since 1997.
Please check with your health insurer to see what level of ambulance cover you hold.
Country Ambulance Cover
In country WA, St John Country Ambulance Cover is administered by the local St John Sub Centres.
If you have comprehensive Country Ambulance Cover, the cost of an ambulance trip is covered for as many emergency or necessary non-emergency transports you or your family members require.
St John Country Ambulance Cover will protect you for St John Ambulance transport 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in Western Australia. If you are travelling in the eastern states, your cover will also extend to intrastate road transport with other principal providers of emergency road transport.
To find out more or to obtain Country Ambulance Cover, contact your local St John Ambulance Sub Centre.
Pensioner Ambulance Services – Government Funding
Aged pensioners are entitled to free ambulance services.
Ambulance services covered include:
• All emergency ambulance services; and
• Non-urgent ambulance services that are deemed to be medically necessary.
Inter-hospital transfers between two public hospitals will be arranged and paid for by the sending hospital.
It is important to note that inter-hospital transfers where one or both hospitals is a private hospital are not covered by this policy.
Privately insured aged pensioners and seniors should check with their insurer as to whether inter-hospital transfers are covered by health insurance.
For further information visit