Emergency services dread accident calls

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au

'WE hate pulling young kids out of accidents', but for firefighter Harry Tattersall it's something he has to do far too often.

Gladstone Fire and Rescue station officer Harry Tattersall has been a firie for 30 years today.

'I can remember every accident I've gone to,' Mr Tattersall said.

'We hate going to road accidents.'

Some accidents have affected him more than others but what he will never reconcile is the loss of young lives.

He stressed that the effect of a car crash on someone is serious enough in itself but said so often youth don't understand the full ramifications of what their actions or the accident could have.

'Young people don't realise the trauma it causes others when they're involved in an accident,' Mr Tattersall said.

'Their involvement is just the tip of the iceberg. Firstly,there's the other people in the car.

'Secondly,there's the firies, the ambos, police, medivac ? all suffer some sort of trauma.

'Thirdly,there's immediate family, extended family, friends at school. These are all the people that have to pick up the pieces.'

The emergency services sometimes found it hard to deal with the impact of the accidents especially attending so many in the normal course of their job.

'You do feel helpless sometimes. Firies have a tendency to deal with it in a humour-ous way.

'It's not black humour, it's a stress management technique but it'd be better if we didn't have any accidents to go to.'

Mr Tattersall was encour-aged by discussion of safety initiatives for young people.

He believed the emergency services program raising awareness of road risks for year 12 students held every year had had some success.

'They need to think how they would feel if a police officer came to their door and told them their son had been killed or maimed in an accident,' Mr Tattersall said.

He would like to see more stringent licence testing and restrictions for young people driving high-powered vehicles.



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