Photo: Trail Historical Society

Photo: Trail Historical Society

Trail Blazers: Saving lives at work, home and play

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

St. John Ambulance has been “saving lives at work, home and play” in the Silver City since 1943.

In recognition of this valued service, St. John Ambulance in Trail is being celebrated with a new exhibit in the Riverfront Centre.

“The Trail branch of St. John Ambulance was opened on 1943, and serviced the community for 70 years,” notes Trail archivist Addison Oberg.

The branch was volunteer run and the majority of programs available to residents of Trail were taught or instructed by volunteers.

“Volunteers attended all sporting events and other community events to be on hand if first aid was needed,” Oberg adds. “The Trail branch also hosted first aid competitions regularly for teams from all over B.C.”

The Trail branch closed in 2013, when St. John Ambulance decided to close their smaller offices and re-locate to a centralized system with the new office for the interior located in Kelowna.

St. John Ambulance programming is still available in Trail, but it is organized from the Kelowna office. With the new system there has been less local involvement.

“Come check out the exhibit!” encourages Oberg.

Humble beginnings

In 1883, Quebec City was the first Canadian branch to teach first aid courses and shortly thereafter courses were being offered in Kingston, Ontario. In the next 10 years, St. John grew to be a national organization and by 1892 had 12 branches teaching first aid from coast-to-coast.

In those early years alongside the continued growth in first aid training, St. John also began a proud tradition of volunteer work in communities. Soon the volunteers of St. John became a common and welcome sight in times of emergency in communities across the country.

Today, in more than 300 communities across Canada more than 10,000 St. John Ambulance volunteers provide over one million hours of community service per year.

The financial contribution of St. John volunteers could be calculated in hundreds of millions of dollars. The contribution to safety of Canadians is immeasurable.

Read more: #Local History (Trail Blazers features)

Read more: #City of Trail stories


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