Outback ambo shines

VOLUNTEER: Former nurse Susan Pearl is the only first responder in Blinman, supporting the crew 100km away in Hawker. Photo: Brand SA
VOLUNTEER: Former nurse Susan Pearl is the only first responder in Blinman, supporting the crew 100km away in Hawker. Photo: Brand SA

First responder Susan Pearl is being celebrated for her valuable contribution to the Blinman community as a Brand SA Regional Showcase Finalist. Like many remote areas, Blinman has no ambulance station and therefore relies on volunteers like Susan who are first on scene in medical emergencies until an ambulance crew can arrive – often from over 100 kilometres away.

When she’s not on the scene of an incident, Susan can be found running tours at the Heritage Blinman Mine. Susan hasn’t always been a country girl. She moved to the Flinders Ranges four years ago after travelling around the region with her partner Simon.

Shortly after the big move, Simon died from a massive heart attack while camping in a remote area. In an attempt to start over, Susan initially settled in Hawker and the former nurse began her Certificate IV in ambulance officer training before a job opportunity arose which saw her make the move to Blinman. 

“I wanted to stay connected with the ambulance ... they suggested the community responder role and said once I had finished my studies and qualified I could take that role on up there,” Susan said. “I was a nurse so becoming an ambulance officer wan’t out of my realm. But there are things you can do to learn new skills

“It’s something that is of benefit to your family, because you’ve got a lot more knowledge about first aid and things like that and you can certainly be of service to your community.”

Surprised by her status as a finalist, Susan said the biggest thing she wants people to take away from her story is the importance of giving back.

“Join a club of some sort or an ambulance service, the CFS, or anything – you get to become part of the community and get to know people,” she said. “And you are certainly richer for that experience of doing things a bit outside of the normal.”

The South Australian Regional Showcase provides an opportunity to celebrate and promote the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations that have made significant contributions to regional South Australia. This year’s Showcase highlighted more than 100 regional success stories on Brand SA News and throughout August more than 5500 people voted for their favourite.

Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen said the program has once again highlighted success stories across all of South Australia’s regions.

“The number of votes received shows that people are passionate about the great work happening in our regions,” she said.

“We look forward to celebrating the top 15 finalists, and announcing the People’s Choice, Business and Community Awards at the regional celebration evening in October.”