Shift workers’ loved ones miss out on special occasions

BALLARAT paramedic Rod Irvine was lucky enough to spend most of Christmas Day with his family yesterday.

However, he knew he couldn’t enjoy too much Christmas cheer, because duty called at 6 o’clock last night and continued until 8 o’clock this morning.

The acting manager of the MICA paramedics team, Mr Irvine was one of the many ambulance officers on duty not only yesterday, but throughout the festive season.

He had lunch at home, but went  in to work early, so that  others with young families could get home sooner.

Christmas duty for the paramedics in Ballarat is rotated each year, making it fair for those who have young families.

While Mr Irvine, a paramedic for 16 years, admits he has missed his fair share of family Christmases, now his two daughters are aged 19 and 20, working on December 25 is a little bit easier.

“Being a shift worker, I have missed out on certain special days, like Christmas, with the family.

“However, because I am a shift worker, I have been able to catch up on other special occasions, like attending school events with the children,” he said.

Depending on how busy the day gets, Ballarat paramedics on duty try to make their own festive cheer by having a cook-up with all the trimmings.

Traditionally, though, December 25 is a busy day for ambulance officers.

Mr Irvine said a combination of alcohol, bad behaviour and emotive family problems sometimes led to incidences where someone was injured and needed medical attention.

“There are also others who are lonely on Christmas day.

“This is enhanced by no family or social support,” Mr Irvine said.

Call-outs to accidents with Christmas presents, like new bikes and trampolines, also keep paramedics busy.

Road traumas, too, were common on or around December 25.

“Many people travel long distances on Christmas Day, with some not even considering using the Driver Reviver stops along the way.

“They are often fatigued and don’t think to take a break,” Mr Irvine said.

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