AEAV State 022

November 2016

Thunderstorm Asthma


Last night, 21 November 2016, was potentially the busiest night ever for Victorian ambulance services. Thunderstorm asthma caused many members of the community to develop respiratory issues and call an ambulance for help. More than 1850 calls were received between the hours of 18:00 and 23:00.

By all accounts the work performed by all of our members was simply extraordinary. 

  • NEPT Ambulances were required to attend very unwell patients, well outside their normal patient acuity and did a fantastic job.
  • ESTA call-takers and dispatchers were slammed with calls and had to attend to many high acuity patients over the phone as they waited for crews.
  • Rosters staff recalled crews and quickly organised an extra 60 resources into the system including 47 AGPs, as well as Group and Clinical Managers and NEPT crews.
  • DTMs and CSPs had to manage significant extra resources over the night and moved many rural crews into Melbourne to assist with the workload.
  • Senior Managers and the Emergency Management Unit were also heavily engaged and responded to patients themselves as well as supporting crews.

The stories about the work of on-road ALS and MICA crews show the high level of camaraderie, dedication and professionalism in the workforce.

  • Many crews offered to clear cases to respond to patients or assist other crews.
  • Many members offered to work back after working 10 and 12 hour shifts.
  • Off duty members called in to Rosters offering to come in and assist.
  • Crews were required to manage and treat a staggering number of complex high acuity patients one after the other.

The Executive of the AEA-V wish to congratulate all members of the ambulance community for a sterling effort in dealing with the unprecedented demand for their services.

Danny Hill
Acting General Secretary