Saving lives can be a risky business
SAVING lives is part and parcel of a paramedic's job, but they also need to consider their own safety by carefully assessing each situation, especially when heading into potentially violent environments.
As part of the Queensland Government's Safe Night Out Strategy, new legislation means anyone who assault paramedics, nurses or doctors will face up to 14 years in prison.
While Bundaberg paramedics don't face the late-night violence of metropolitan centres with large night club precincts, the laws are in place to reflect the seriousness of assaulting someone there to help.
Bundaberg advanced care paramedic Grant Blair said a strong police presence in the Bundaberg CBD meant he felt comfortable attending incidents, which were generally accidental injuries resulting from alcohol consumption.
However, he said there were times paramedics called for police assistance at private addresses, especially when drinking or domestic violence was involved.
"If there is a situation where it's a threat to our own safety we'd stay with our partner and stay with the vehicle and call for police to assist us," he said.
"We do think about our own safety when there's a threat of violence."
But, Mr Blair said, thankfully, the majority of those he's treated since moving to Bundaberg two years ago were happy to see the paramedics and were more than happy to receive their assistance.
However, he said the best way to approach someone in need but declining their help was to clearly explain the situation.
"We explain why we've been called and that we are there to help them feel better," he said.
"We explain why it's in their benefit for us to treat them.
"But at the end of the day they don't have to be treated, and that's their choice."
While the job could be trying, Mr Blair said it was rewarding and people genuinely appreciated their efforts.
And Mr Blair said regularly updated resources and additional training meant paramedics were continually better equipped to respond.
"When you start each shift, you never know what's going to happen."
Safe drinking guidelines
A standard drink is defined as any drink containing 10g of alcohol. The following is a guide only: some people can manage less than what is stated.
A standard drink is:
One pot (285ml) of full-strength beer
Two pots of light-strength beer
One small glass (100ml) of wine
One nip (30ml) of spirits
One sherry glass (60ml) of fortified wine