ABOVE: Marine Rescue NSW staff, from left, unit commander (Ballina MR) Andrea Danvers, radio operator Norm Lannoy and regional operations manager NSWMR John Murray encourage everyone to be safe and smart on the water this summer.
ABOVE: Marine Rescue NSW staff, from left, unit commander (Ballina MR) Andrea Danvers, radio operator Norm Lannoy and regional operations manager NSWMR John Murray encourage everyone to be safe and smart on the water this summer. Alison Paterson

Stay safe this Christmas: Emergency personnel

THEY might be wearing Santa hats and smiles at work, but the wonderful career and volunteer emergency services personnel who are on duty while you're enjoying Christmas Day festivities, have a serious message they want to share.

Stay safe, look after your family, friends and yourself and take some personal responsibility, is the word from the various emergency services organisations who will be forgoing their own celebrations to help those in trouble on and after December 25.

The acting nurse unit manager in Lismore Base Hospital's department of emergency medicine, Emma-Jane Davies, said people needed to take extra care when enjoying the festivities.

"We tend to see an increased volume of injuries like fractured arms and legs from both children and adults falling off scooters, skateboards and bikes,” she said.

"Please wear all of your protective equipment such as helmets, knee and wrist guards.”

Ms Davies said adults should ensure toys were age appropriate for their children, to avoid choking on small parts and button batteries, and supervise youngsters at all times.

Dr Chris Gavaghan said if drinking alcohol, people should be mindful when swimming in pools or at the beach.

"Plan your trips, don't drink alcohol or illicit drugs and drive,” he said.

Clunes Rural Fire Service captain Neville Battistuzzi urged everyone to have a safe and happy time.

Cpt Battistuzzi said he was very proud of the dedication and skills of the brigade which currently has 363 years of RFS experience in its current membership.

He stressed that if their pagers alerted members of an incident on Christmas Day, members would leave their own families to help those in need.

"We want everyone to do their best to be safe and happy over the summer holidays,” he said.

"It's all about safety first.”

Ambulance NSW Lismore zone inspector Glenn Eddy, will be on duty on Christmas Day, said he hoped people would aim to think ahead and consider, "what if this went wrong?”.

"Please be careful and when we do turn up, we are there to help,” he said.

"We have a zero tolerance to violence and abuse again paramedics.”

In Ballina, the folk at Marine Rescue New South Wales were hoping to have another quiet Christmas Day.

According to MRNSW regional operations manager John Murray, Boxing Day was when their action heated up, with recreational fishermen their biggest customers.

"The husbands aren't allowed fishing on Christmas Day,” he said with a smile.

"So from Boxing Day until Easter, we are busy.”

Mr Murray said anyone venturing out in a boat had to wear a life jacket.

"And definitely download the free Marine Rescue app,” he said.

Lifeline Northern Rivers centre manager Niall Mulligan said Christmas Day was no busier than any other day for his volunteers.

"Those who call us are often isolated and perhaps don't have a network so we are an important resource,” he said.

"One of the reason it's important to support people at Christmas is they may be feeling isolated and missing family and friends at this time.

"Our volunteers are wonderful - they put their own lives on hold to be there for others.”

Meanwhile, NSW Police has launched Operation Safe Arrival which will continue into 2017, ending on Monday, January 2.

During the operation police want road users to think "#Five2Arrive” - five simple tips for road users in order to arrive home safely - and remember double demerits will be in place from today to January 2.



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