Barbecue acknowledges efforts of our paramedics
THEY are the unsung heroes that most of us hope we never have to call on.
They bring people back from the brink, see humanity at its worst and work around the clock.
The work that paramedics do was recognised with a BBQ at the Lismore Ambulance Station yesterday to mark the annual Thank a Paramedic Day.
Lismore Station Officer Tracey Wheeler said being a paramedic is about helping people in need, and not the recognition.
"We appreciate it, but you kind of feel awkward about it because you're not in it for the glory," she said.
Ms Wheeler, who has a background in nursing, has been a paramedic for almost 17 years.
"It's different every day," she said. "You never know what you're going to do.
"We rarely have any down time, you're always busy so you miss a lot of family things because you're never home.
"Dealing with people in their time of crisis is often difficult."
Paramedics in NSW generally work 12-hour shifts for four days, followed by five days of downtime.
Intensive care paramedic Peter Haron has been a paramedic for 18 years, much of which has been spent on the Northern Rivers.
"I enjoy helping people and enjoy the camaraderie with all our work colleagues," he said.
"We see most people at their worst, when they're in a crisis, but when you do help someone you also see a big smile on their face and you see the change you've made to their life.
"Now I've got young kids it's hard when you go to jobs and kids are involved.
"You see the young people drink driving, speeding and think they're invincible and unfortunately we see the end result of that."
Both paramedics said it had been a particularly busy year with the trend likely to continue in the lead-up to Christmas.
"We've had so many jobs in the last 12 months in particular, with young kids driving too fast, intoxicated, and they've ended up dead or they've killed someone else," Ms Wheeler said.