Stay safe: woman pleads for better bystander protection

URGENT: A Ballarat woman is questioning emergency services protocol after learning she had helped a man at an address with safety concerns.

URGENT: A Ballarat woman is questioning emergency services protocol after learning she had helped a man at an address with safety concerns.

A BALLARAT woman is questioning emergency services safety protocol for Good Samaritans on the city’s streets.

The women, who The Courier has chosen not to name, stopped to help a man who was staggering and straying on to a Ballarat street after dark earlier this week.

It was not until paramedics arrived that she learned the incident was at a “location of interest”, as deemed in Ambulance Victoria guidelines, due to safety concerns at the address.

After learning this about the location, the woman’s fears were heightened for herself and her young child, who was locked in her car nearby.

The woman said she stopped because she had thought the man was drunk or drugged and he had his genitals exposed. He refused her initial offer to help, but she called triple zero when the man collapsed having seizures and became unconscious.

It was about 25 minutes before emergency services arrived and the woman was concerned that not once did the operator for Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority warned her this was a potentially dangerous location.

She later learned the man had been armed.

Ambulance Victoria Acting Grampians regional director Chris James said location details were specific for paramedics’ work and not appropriate to discuss with bystanders.

Mr James did confirm Ambulance Victoria had met with the woman to both thank her for her action and to discuss her concerns.

“The community relies on bystanders to call triple-zero and come to the aid of those in need,” Mr James said.

“We have a system whereby location-specific instructions can be relayed to paramedics attending certain addresses following calls to triple-zero … it is important to note that these instructions are for paramedics and relate to locations only. It is not possible to confirm during a triple-zero call whether people near these properties are connected to the information.”

Locations of interest can include patient medical information, known frequent callers or information for paramedics to access property, as well as safety concerns.

The woman said Ballarat paramedics and police had been fantastic in their follow-up welfare checks on her and her son.