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Media Releases | St John Ambulance
Crews provide critical medical support at Finke
  24 Jun 2024

As the dust settles on the heart pounding adrenaline action that was the Finke Desert Race, St John NT crews are already assessing and planning for next year’s race, with months of planning poured into every aspect of providing critical medical support at the high-risk event.

With a contingent of more than 50 paramedics, volunteers, paramedicine students and support staff, this was the 48th year that St John NT provided the medical and retrieval support for participants and spectators at the race.

With the closest hospital hundreds of kilometers away, it is a mammoth combined effort working with event organisers, NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services and the Alice Springs Hospital to provide critical support in the planning and implementation of health and safety.

The highly competitive event sees vehicles and bikes travelling in excess of 200km per hour along extremely challenging terrain. Patients come in all manner of severity and number so the event is planned as a potential Mass Casualty Incident.

The crew from St John NT provided support at six medical checkpoints stationed along the 226km track, while helicopters and several vehicles follow the race pack along the course.

Event Commander Craig Garraway said the crew treated more than 30 patients, with 22 of these transported to hospital by ambulance and helicopter.

“Mostly we saw injuries to the competitors, mainly lower leg and pelvic fractures, and an incident where spectators received quite serious burns from an explosion near a campfire,” he said.

“The team did an exceptional job at all of the checkpoints camping out and providing professional care in the remote and trying environment.”

This year St John Victoria supported the event with a contingent of volunteers including first responders, paramedics, nurses and two doctors. They have all taken away some amazing memories from the experience and are already signing up to be part of the event again next year.

Congratulations to all those involved in every aspect of the race, the feedback from Motor Sport Australia and Motorcycling Australia officials in the Finke Race Command was glowing, with them commenting that St John bring a GOLD standard to the medical response at the event.

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