Recognised for 30 years of service

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Experienced paramedic Edwin McLean has seen his fair share of catastrophic incidents in his 30 years at St John Ambulance, but one aspect of his job remains the same.

“The basis of going to manage people has not changed,” he said.

“You have to have a very clear understanding that you are there to help people through a moment in their life and you are there to carry some of the load for them.”

After signing up as a Ravensthorpe volunteer ambulance officer in the early 1980s, Mr McLean has been recognised for three decades of service to St John Ambulance.

Life as a farmer was left behind in 1987 when he became a career paramedic before moving to Albany in 1994.

Mr McLean said the call to help others inspired him to leave the farm and he had encountered the entire spectrum of scenarios, including cardiac and respiratory arrest, as well as industrial and domestic accidents and car crashes.

“This whole system is about reassuring people,” he said.

“ ‘The paramedics are here, the paramedics are here’ — you hear that often and you have to appear calm and offer solutions, take control and involve them in the process in a calm and measured way.

“Drugs are on the tip of everyone’s tongues and it doesn’t take drugs to heighten people’s emotions, and people like us are a little bit of calm in otherwise a completely chaotic situation, and it’s the same — it doesn’t matter if it’s a workplace or a fight at a party.”

One of the biggest and most profound changes Mr McLean said he had seen in his long paramedic career was the widespread availability of defibrillators.

“That’s probably the biggest thing in my time,” he said.

“They existed when I started but the reliability and cost — they have come down so much now we can have them across the countryside and it’s one of the things that is almost magical.”

St John Ambulance senior operations manager Justin Fonte congratulated Mr McLean.

“He can feel justifiably proud of his achievements over the years and of his unwavering dedication to saving lives in the Great Southern region,” he said.

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