Looking through the tail rotor are, from left, crewman Jethro Lampe, doctor Irfaan Jetha, pilot David Milnes and crewman Michael Kerry.
Looking through the tail rotor are, from left, crewman Jethro Lampe, doctor Irfaan Jetha, pilot David Milnes and crewman Michael Kerry. Jay Cronan

No normal for emergency workers

FOR the region's emergency service workers, there is no such thing as a normal Christmas Day.

Instead, many of them will be on call tomorrow as the bulk of us follow the familiar but enjoyable pattern of opening presents, indulging in an oversized lunch, suffering a period of remorse and sneaking an afternoon nap.

At the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, the pilots and crew will alter their plans to fit in with the chopper's 24-hour roster.

"For the boys on here, their families normally come in and have lunch with the guys so they get a bit of family time, which is good," crewman Michael Kerry said.

Pilot David Milnes is once again getting used to being at work while everyone else is clocked off, having just finished a stint with the defence forces to return to the rescue helicopter.

"I had a bit of a normal life for a while and it takes a bit of getting used to get back into it. I have to look at my watch to see what day it is," he said.

However Mr Milnes said the interrupted holiday season was worth it if it meant helping someone who needed it.

"Every now and then you realise you've done something that helps somebody and that's enough, really," he said.

Meanwhile, more than a third of the paramedics based at Lismore ambulance station will spend part of their Christmas looking after us.

"It's just another day for us, but as long as we get to spend some time with the kids, it's part of the job," paramedic Peter Haron said.

"It's normally a bit quieter. You have a couple of parents falling off skateboards, but hopefully it's a fairly slow day."

Of course, a quiet Christmas for our emergency service workers means an incident-free weekend for the rest of us.

To help with that, crewman Kerry offered some sage advice for the holiday season.

"Play it safe. Have a think. Don't drink and drive. And watch for the chicken bones."



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