Eastern Courier : December 29th 2010
4 EASTERN COURIER, DECEMBER 29, 2010 NEWS NEW YEARS NIGHT Saturday 1st January 6PM - MIDNIGHT Free live entertainment, 200 stalls, 50 food stalls, Xmas bargains, arts n crafts, fashionware, antiques, electronic games, rides. All weather, in the carpark under The Warehouse, Westfield Pakuranga Plaza Phone 576 5223 or 027 689 9520 firstname.lastname@example.org www.watersfunerals.co.nz 426 Great South Rd Papatoetoe Manukau City Auckland Caring, professional service for all cultures & communities Intimate Chapel facilities Nicole, Keong & Richie hR d, y Ph: 09 278 8742 Officers' compassion shines through First to care: Paramedic Andrew Burt, left, and ambulance officer Virgil Heke say it doesn't get much better than saving lives. Photo: NICOLA WILLIAMS By NICOLA WILLIAMS It's 7.02am and tucking in to a bowl of cereal is interrupted by the first alarm of the shift. St John officers Andrew Burt and Virgil Heke jump into the ambulance as the lights and sirens start blaring. Information from the communications centre tells them they are on their way to the home of an elderly lady who has suffered a suspected stroke. Mr Heke gives her oxy- gen and checks her vital signs in the ambulance while Mr Burt drives the route to Middlemore Hospital that is so fam- iliar to the pair. The kind compassion- ate words he offers in English and Maori must be almost as powerful as any drug in comforting her. St John staff are a special breed of people. At the doors of the emergency department the woman who can barely draw enough breath to speak puts in a huge effort to get out words of thanks to Mr Heke. You treat people the way you would want to be treated,'' he says. Several more jobs fol- low in succession includ- ing a middle-aged woman with a high fever and symptoms of infec- tion and a fit young woman who collapsed after exercising in the water. It's noon before the officers get back to the station and their soggy cereal. Sometimes it can take three attempts to eat a meal but they don't complain as it's part of the job they signed up for, Mr Burt says. And he couldn't think of a better job after mak- ing the career change 15 years ago when his job as an electrician lost its appeal. I enjoy working with people, I wanted to help people.'' Even more remarkable is he died for three minutes'' just three months ago. Mr Burt was heading to the ambulance station onadayoffwhenhehad severe chest pain. His colleagues took him to hospital where he went into cardiac arrest. He was shocked back to life and after surgery at Auckland Hospital spent four days recovering at Middlemore followed by two months off work. Now he is back saving other people's lives. The experience has increased his empathy for patients. It's really frightening when you don't know what's happening,'' he says. I had more know- ledge than most people about what was going on but it was still incredibly scary.'' Seeing the ambulance from the patient's per- spective has put it in a different light. I know what's going through their heads.'' Mr Burt was lucky to have medical attention close at hand because it is rare to be resuscitated from full cardiac arrest. It's not a job he could stay away from for very long. We see things and do things most people never would,'' he says. At the more gruesome or distressing jobs officers carry the mindset they are there to get a job done. We understand the gravity of the situation and work appropriately.'' I thought the highlight of the experience would be the buzz of the sirens and speed that took us to each callout. But it was watching the compassion the officers showed towards the patients and the rapport they built with them. If you were looking for hearts of gold you would find them here. Plunket urges more care in driveways this holiday Plunket is asking parents and caregivers to think of the safety of under-fives over sum- mer. Plunket national child safety adviser Sue Campbell says when more friends and family are visiting there are also more vehicles. Often amidst all the excitement of celebrating and spending time together there will be more cars coming and going, and more children and adults around. This all increases the risk of a driveway runover tragedy or a child wandering off,'' Ms Campbell says. It would be great to see families or groups taking time to ensure an adult is watching out for children at all times. Maybe the adults in the house can take turns watching.'' Fire safe holidays Don't become one of this summer's statistics. The Fire Service says being fire safe is just as important over the hol- iday break. It's peak barbecue season so check the gas fittings and don't drink and fry. Check that the smoke alarms in baches and boats are working and take some spare batter- ies with you if you are going away. Have an escape route wherever you are whether it's in a bach, cabin, tent or hotel. For more information visit www.fire.org.nz. Green turns gold at Beachlands Success in sustainability: Beachlands School students, from left: Josh Reid and Maya Keast, both 9, beside the school's purpose-built frog pond. Photo: FIONA GOODALL By KRISTINA RAPLEY Last year ended on a high note for Beach- lands School. They have secured the highest environmental award for Enviroschools -- green gold status. They were first awarded green gold in 2007 and have now had it renewed for the next three years. Becoming an Enviro- school involves joining a network of other schools that are developing a holistic approach to learning about the environment. The scheme involves three levels of bronze, silver and green gold. Once a school has gained green gold they must reapply at least every three years to make sure they still qualify for the pres- tigious title. Beachlands School enviro co-ordinator Laureen McLeod says the students and staff are thrilled all their hard work has paid off. Visit www.enviro schools.org.nz for more information on the programme.
December 22nd 2010
January 5th 2011