Saving lives for 30 years
If you’ve required an ambulance in Finley there is a strong chance David Burton has been one of the first to arrive on scene.
Mr Burton (pictured) celebrated 30 years of service as a paramedic for Ambulance NSW last week.
The 51 year-old father of six said originally he applied to work for the police,l however after missing out due to the high number of recruits he applied to work with Ambulance NSW.
‘‘When I started it wasn’t university based training so you were required to do a 12 week course in Sydney,’’ he said.
‘‘I then worked with a training officer for a year, which I did in Albury, then back to school for seven weeks.’’
Mr Burton recalled a funny story on his first week when he was shocked to learn about the life of a paramedic in the rural and remote country.
‘‘After doing my training year on my first week coming back from school they sent me out to Balranald on relief,’’ he said.
‘‘I arrived there and the station officer handed me a map and a list of a few names and numbers, told me they were the volunteers who might be available and said ‘good luck, you’re it for the next five days’.
‘‘The volunteers would help on the drive otherwise you were on your own.’’
Although he said there have been plenty of changes to Ambulance NSW and saving lives one thing has still remained the same.
‘‘There is a lot of travelling such as transferring patients to Shepparton and Albury.
‘‘Even though we need to do longer drives, our response times compared to the city are usually quicker because of traffic.
‘‘Community first aid is a big part of making sure people survive and have the best outcome.’’
As an intensive care paramedic, Mr Burton can administer tubing and other ranges of medications.
He said in his line of work he often experiences people at their worst and most vulnerable.
‘‘The job can be quite terrible and not just from the sight but the devastated family.
‘‘It can be a confronting job but we have an excellent support network. There are counsellors, chaplains and pyschologists we can all have access to now.
‘‘When I started if you found anything confronting then you were weak and basically pushed out.
‘‘Thankfully it’s openly accepted that we have a confronting job and all need help.’’
Mr Burton said his job does require a lot of effort, however it wouldn’t be possible without the support of fellow paramedics and family.
‘‘We have a great team in Finley. It’s a good working team and we also work a lot with the Tocumwal Fire and Rescue team who are first responders.
‘‘All of us work a day shift and take the ambulance home on call.
‘‘If you’re working the next day you’re on call that night and we do quite a few call outs per week.
‘‘Usually over my kids’ birthday parties, it’s almost guaranteed I’ll be called out,’’ he said with a laugh.
‘‘It’s a big commitment on the family, however it’s a very rewarding and satisfying job at times.’’