Glenn McIl­roy

Alpine Observer - - News -

I’m a com­mu­nity am­bu­lance of­fi­cer, known as an ACO. I also teach paramedicine to the ADF at Latch­ford Bar­racks. That’s a TAFE con­tract, and I also do ski pa­trol at Falls Creek in the win­ter, and moun­tain bike pa­trol in sum­mer. As an ACO I’m part of a sup­ple­men­tary group of lo­cal first re­spon­ders trained by Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria to work along­side the paramedics on call. Is it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

I grew up in Wan­garatta and did a plumb­ing ap­pren­tice­ship in the mid-80s. Through my girl­friend (now my wife) who came from Ta­wonga I came to the moun­tains look­ing for work in 1985. I never skied be­fore and I did my first sea­son at Falls and got the ski bug. Dur­ing that sea­son I met sev­eral peo­ple work­ing ski pa­trol and I thought ‘that’s some­thing I re­ally want to do’. It looked like the best job in the world. I saw the ca­ma­raderie and the team­work that went with the emer­gency re­sponse, and I saw how highly the crew was re­garded. To take a sport you love and turn it into a vo­ca­tion seemed per­fect.

How do you come to be in the job?

I trained over sev­eral sea­sons to be­come a ski pa­troller. It in­volved first aid train­ing, ski­ing skills and use of the alpine res­cue equip­ment. I also worked an ex­change at Squaw Val­ley at Lake Ta­hoe.

My wife and I lived in the US for six months. That was pretty ex­cit­ing – we were us­ing ex­plo­sives to fa­cil­i­tate avalanche con­trol. We don’t do that here – there’s not so much snow and there’s frag­ile wildlife to con­sider. Up un­til 12 years ago I kept on with the plumb­ing for Falls Creek Re­sort Man­age­ment, and then I be­came ski pa­trol man­ager and I spent nine years work­ing closely with paramedics.

It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. Hav­ing worked for FCRM for 30 years I wanted to do some­thing more and the para­medic role beck­oned as a chal­lenge aca­dem­i­cally and prac­ti­cally. I have just com­pleted a three-year course at Flin­ders Uni and have re­cently passed a job in­ter­view with Am­bu­lance Vic­to­ria and I’m wait­ing for in­for­ma­tion about my grad­u­ate po­si­tion.

What do you love about the job?

I can use my med­i­cal skills to help peo­ple in times of need. At those crit­i­cal times our skill set lets us care for peo­ple in spe­cific ways that can save and sus­tain lives.

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m a lieu­tenant in the Ta­wonga CFA but I’ve been too busy to be very in­volved re­cently be­cause of my train­ing. I’ve been ac­tive teach­ing com­mu­nity groups how to use a defibrillator. I’m also a keen moun­tain biker, and I love to fly-fish when I get the chance. I’m look­ing for­ward to fin­ish­ing my study and find­ing more time to spend with my wife and kids.

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