Paramedics urge caution on roads

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
St John paramedic Mike Ficko is urging drivers to take care on the roads throughout the region this festive season.
Camera IconSt John paramedic Mike Ficko is urging drivers to take care on the roads throughout the region this festive season. Credit: Laurie Benson

In his 20 years as a paramedic, Mike Ficko has not seen anything like it.

The consistent string of fatal crashes in the Great Southern in the past two months coming up to the festive season has given career and volunteer paramedics extra reason to urge care on the roads.

Mr Ficko, who attended one of the recent fatalities, said a fatality left a lasting impact not only on the family and friends of the victim, but also the men and women who rendered assistance.

The Great Southern’s road toll currently stands at 31, more than double of last season when 15 people lost their lives on the region’s roads.

“Without a doubt, the last couple of months has been unprecedented for road traffic accidents,” he said.

“It is the worst run of road trauma I can remember.”

Mr Ficko, who has been at the coalface for the past nine years as a St John Ambulance paramedic in Albany and previously spent three years on the RAC rescue helicopter responding to road trauma, said the fatalities were avoidable.

“It’s tragic no matter what time of year it is,” he said.

“It has a flow-on effect to the families and friends but also to the emergency first responders.

“As soon as you throw in drugs or alcohol with a motor vehicle, the consequences are just disastrous.

“You can see the cause and effect at the crash scenes; alcohol, speed, mobile phones, they are preventable.”

Mr Ficko will be rostered on to work Christmas Eve and morning and New Year’s Eve, traditionally busy times for paramedics, and he hoped a serious road crash could be avoided over the festive period.

“People just need to take more care,” he said.

“Slow down and take your time to get to your destination.”

Great Southern police have also appealed to road users to take responsibility and ensure a fatality-free festive season.

Double demerits apply from midnight tonight (December 23) to Sunday January 8.

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