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First responders issue stay-safe plea

Emergency services tasked with responding to road and ocean trauma will be hoping for another fatality-free Christmas holiday period.

While most people are spending time with friends and family during the festive season, our first responders are on the frontline keeping us safe.

The Great Southern avoided a fatality during the Christmas-New Year double-demerits period last year; however, six people were taken to hospital after being injured in road crashes.

So far 18 people have died this year on Great Southern roads in 16 fatal crashes.

Paramedic Garth Gilmour is pleading for motorists to be safe and responsible on the roads coming up to the busiest times of the year.

“We are encouraging everyone to be aware of road conditions, be aware of your environment and don’t take unnecessary risks this Christmas,” he said.

He also warned that Albany had limited resources compared to other cities.

“Sometimes it’s not easy to reach people quickly, in the country, we only have a couple paramedics on during the day and one at night — there may be delays, which is important for people to know,” he said.

“Take precautions, common sense is the biggest thing.”

Paramedic Garth Gilmour, Albany Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mike Ausma and Albany Sea Rescue president Colin BairstowParamedic Garth Gilmour, Albany Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mike Ausma and Albany Sea Rescue president Colin Bairstow
Camera IconParamedic Garth Gilmour, Albany Fire and Rescue Station Officer Mike Ausma and Albany Sea Rescue president Colin BairstowPicture: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Albany Fire and Rescue station officer Mike Ausma and his team are also pleading for people to stay safe this Christmas.

“On the roads, don’t drink and drive; we don’t want to come out and cut you out of the vehicle,” he said. “We get called out to road crashes and bushfires and most of the time they are preventable; people get presents like candles and leave them unattended, things like that.

“Have a good time this Christmas, but if you are going to drink alcohol please don’t drive and think about if you going to have a cooking fire somewhere, think about where it is, make sure it’s contained and don’t leave it unattended.”

Our first responders on the water are also hoping for people to use common sense and be safe on the water this Christmas.

Albany Sea Rescue president Colin Bairstow said mistakes and actions had consequences for everyone and urged people to be responsible during the festive season.

“There are other people involved with your mistakes and accidents that creates a chain reaction; the decisions you make are not just for yourself,” he said.

“Please be safe on the water — log on and log off with Albany Sea Rescue so we know where you’re going, how long you’re out and when you come home.”

He said it was vital locals and visitors in Albany were aware of coastal safety to prevent drownings this Christmas.

“Something that was always told to me by my dad and grandfather was never turn your back on the ocean, never trust it,” he said.

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