Ambulance Victoria’s (AV) Yarram branch is preparing to host the event of the century.

Marking 100 years of service, AV invites the local community and surrounding districts to a ‘Community Celebration Day’ on Sunday, September 10, at the Yarram Recreation Reserve Pavilion from 11am until 2pm.

A range of festivities is planned for the event, with ‘Call, Push, Shock’ demonstrations to learn how to perform CPR and use an AED, as well as information on how to sign up to become a GoodSAM responder.

GoodSAM is a free, global smartphone app that alerts registered Responders when someone nearby is in cardiac arrest.

A 1920s Dodge ambulance will also be on display in a nod to the branch’s past, with the vintage vehicle originally stationed at Yarram and one of the first motorised ambulances to operate in the state.

The first patients in the area to receive care out of Yarram’s branch were treated on July 14, 1923, when it opened its doors. The current branch on Commercial Road opened in 1966, with an extension and upgrade in 1990.

Yarram branch in the 1930s. Photos: Contributed

Change is on the horizon once more, with the State Government earlier this year announcing a parcel of land at the rear of Grant Street, which has been identified as the preferred site for the new, multi-million-dollar Yarram branch. Construction is expected to start in the coming months.

Ambulance Victoria Yarram Team Manager Gus Taylor has been based at Yarram for the past 12 years and said the branch had “changed massively” during his time.

“When I first arrived in Yarram, there was one paramedic rostered to the ambulance at any one time, so we were heavily reliant on being partnered up with other ambulances or needing to wait on scene for another crew to arrive and help with transport,” Mr Taylor said.

Support for the single paramedics came about a decade ago with the introduction of Ambulance Community Officers (ACOs) who respond alongside paramedics.

ACOs are first responders employed on a casual basis to provide advanced first aid in remote communities where the caseload is low, and the branch is not staffed full-time.

ACOs have life-saving skills that they develop and maintain every year.

“There was a stage where there were no paramedics living locally at all, so we started with ACOs, and through that process, we have now fostered the development of four local paramedics and two nurses who all started at Yarram branch,” Mr Taylor said.

“Over this time with ACOs supporting single paramedics, we had 95 per cent shift coverage, which for a community of our size is a marvellous achievement. It is a testament to the quality of our ACOs.

“We’re very proud of the service we offer the community and the fact we’ve been able to maintain it at such a high standard.”

Another significant change took place in September 2022, with dual-paramedic crews running out of Yarram for the first time in its history.

Early ambulances at Yarram.

Mr Taylor, who has been a paramedic for 28 years, said the Yarram branch’s progression was reflective of AV’s innovative culture and encouraged everyone to attend the Community Celebration Day.

“It’s going to be a great day to engage with some of the people who have been caring for the community in the past, currently and those into the future,” he said.

“We may even find some potential paramedics among the attendees on the day.”

In addition to the emergency response demonstrations, attendees can enjoy a barbecue lunch, which the Yarram Lions Club will serve.

The community’s youngest members will also be well-entertained with teddies on site being bandaged, as well as a display of emergency vehicles and historic AV uniforms.

AV Regional Director Ross Salathiel said Yarram’s milestone was an impressive feat.

“Yarram branch started from humble beginnings but continues to thrive and develop paramedics who are committed to patient-first, best care outcomes,” he said.

“There are many people who are to thank for the good work that continues to come from the Yarram branch, and the event will be one way we can show our appreciation to the community for their continued support.”