Sav­ing lives for 30 years

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

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.’’

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