In an emergency people will ask the oddest questions

HEARD IT ALL: Danny Palmer has fielded many unusual requests during emergencies.
HEARD IT ALL: Danny Palmer has fielded many unusual requests during emergencies. Alistair Brightman

IN HIS 10 years as an ambulance officer, Danny Palmer has been asked all sorts of strange requests each time a natural disaster hits the Fraser Coast.

As station officer at Hervey Bay, he plays a big role in helping the region through a disaster and is one of the emergency services responders the Fraser Coast Chronicle will be profiling this flood season.

Mr Palmer is responsible for the complicated process of making sure there are paramedics where needed when floodwaters threaten to cut off Fraser Coast communities.

Paramedics often end up being responsible for the communities where they live, as was the case in Burrum Heads and Granville in 2013.

Mr Palmer said officers in those communities fielded bizarre requests from people who fail to prepare for being cut-off - including one memorable demand to rescue someone because he had run out of toilet paper.

He said other requests included people asking for batteries and nappies or people who refused to evacuate then calling for help to be rescued.

Organising and handing out prescription medication to people in cut-off areas became a major responsibility in both 2012 and 2013, Mr Palmer said.

"The medication, that was a big problem," he said.

"That was something that could have been avoided.

"It all comes back to preparation."

That preparation had to be done safely however, Mr Palmer warned.

He said falls off ladders and snake bites were among the jobs officers had responded to in summer as people attempted to prepare their homes for flood and fire.

Mr Palmer urged the public not to rely on emergency services unnecessarily during a natural disaster.

"A lot of people want our help who don't need our help," he said.

"We may not be able to get to them, we may not be able to help them."

Despite the pressure, the job is a rewarding one, Mr Palmer said.

"You meet some really grateful people," he said.

Topics:  ambulance officers emergency services paramedics

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