With 16 years as a paramedic under his belt, Kapunda Ambulance Service volunteer Peter Brown is no stranger to road accidents.
But despite being faced with some terrible scenes in that time, he says he’s “just doing his job”.
Mr Brown’s career as a paramedic began after he heard about a volunteer session in Eudunda.
“I actually rang up to see what I had to do to become a paramedic in Adelaide, and they said there’s a volunteer session going on at Eudunda, so I went for the information night, ended up in Kapunda – and 16 years later, I’m still here,” he said.
As a volunteer, Mr Brown has helped save lives, but he's also borne witness to some terrible injuries.
“My job is to save them where I can, and get them to hospital,” he said.
“People might have head injuries, spinal injuries, lacerations, serious lacerations, trapped in cars.
“We do the training with the CFS and SES; we get them out, patch them up and send them to hospital.
“We do the first aid and ambulance response, we get them out, we patch them up and send them to hospital.”
Mr Brown sacrifices a large portion of his time to meet his requirements as a volunteer.
“It’s a weekly training session that we do, we have to meet requirements as a volunteer with 30 hours a month on roster, including training,” he said.
“We have 12 course subjects a year which further our skill and keep us accredited.”
Mr Brown said the job ouldn range from vehicle incidents to other health issues.
“As a volunteer you go to a range of things, it could be motor vehicle crashes, or it could be shortness of breath,” he said.
“The training we have helps us with what we have to deal with when we get there.
“But you don’t know what you’re going to get until you get there.”
The tougher jobs come with support, though.
“We get back up from the Barossa to assist us in getting people out of cars.”
In addition to his volunteer work, Mr Brown also trains future ambulance workers.
“As a driving instructor for SA Ambulance, I train volunteers around the state,” he said.
“I’m what you call a regional educator, being involved with SAS, and I train people in their clinical skills.”
Mr Brown finds the experience rewarding for the difference he can make in the community.
“To see you can make a difference to your local community, you can really hold your head high,” he said.
Mr Brown is a Nuriootpa local, but crews half an hour away in Kapunda, where he “does his own thing” until the pager goes off.
“I initially did three nights a week, and I would stay there as they have kitchen, shower and beds, but when the pager goes off you respond accordingly,” he said.
Mr Brown said when the pager goes off to inform him of a job, the “adrenaline pumps a little bit” because of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.
He said he has seen more than his fair share of road accidents of the years.
“There’s seriously been too many to count,” he said.
With a significant folio of experience behind him, Mr Brown had some messages for those on the road.
“What I generally say to people is take your time, take your breaks every two hours for 15 minutes (when driving long distances), for the sake of rushing you might not get there,” he said.
Mr Brown stressed the importance of thinking of those around you – those you could leave behind.
Mr Brown said situations like a deceased person in a vehicle crash, or lifelong injuries, were some examples of instances that could be avoided.
“It’s not you who is always affected, it’s the people that you leave behind,” he said.
“Think about the impact on your family, your local community, your friends and yourself.”