Advice for avoiding misadventure this Christmas
With even Santa Claus falling victim to misadventure last Christmas, NSW Ambulance paramedics are encouraging people to be mindful of the potential for injury this festive season.
NSW Ambulance Inspector John Brotherhood said paramedics attend many injuries each Christmas that could be avoided with a little extra care.
“It’s a time of year when spirits are high and people are taking risks in the name of fun or engaging in activities that are beyond their ability and ending up in hospital,” he said.
Injuries/misadventure last Christmas included:
A Santa Claus who suffered a dislocated shoulder while visiting a shopping centre at Wagga on Christmas Eve;
A 52-year-old man who suffered a fractured vertebrae after falling from a hoverboard at Forresters Beach;
A 23-year-man who ran naked in a park while intoxicated and drug-affected at Ambarvale on Christmas Day;
A 28-year-old male at Granville who fell and dislocated his shoulder after consuming “6 to 12 drinks” on Christmas Day;
A 30-year-old male who dislocated his hip on a slippery dip at Moruya on Christmas Day;
A 40-year-old man who rode a bicycle while intoxicated at Caves Beach and had to be rescued from a drain on Boxing Day;
A 50-year-old woman who suffered a serious wrist injury after falling from a child’s scooter at Culburra Beach on Boxing Day.
Mr Brotherhood said that, with general misadventure, there were many bicycle and scooter-related incidents including people who fell, crashed or collided with other cyclists and vehicles. There were also incidents involving skateboards, and three involving hover boards.
Trampolines, often given as Christmas presents, also proved dangerous.
“People suffered injuries from sprains to broken bones. We also had a series of calls for slip and slides and swings, including a 30-year-old Moruya man who dislocated his hip on a slippery dip on Christmas Day,” Mr Brotherhood said.
“A 24-year-old man was also injured on an inflatable pool toy at Salamander Bay. Suffice it to say, if it’s been a few years since you’ve attempted a highly physical activity or something that involves a degree of skill, it’s probably best avoided.”
Mr Brotherhood said the potential for misadventure is exacerbated by the consumption of alcohol.
“People do things they may not do in a more sober frame of mind and end up embarrassed or, worse, seriously injured,” he said.
He reminds parents to supervise youngsters who receive new bikes, scooters, trampolines and other toys for Christmas, and to ensure the provision of correct safety gear, including helmets and padding, adding that every paramedic could relate a story of patients suffering the pains of the silly season.
Mr Brotherhood also reaffirmed NSW Ambulance’s zero-tolerance stance on abuse of Triple Zero (000) call takers.
“Control Centre staff are routinely faced with an unacceptable level of abuse and threatening behaviour from members of the public they are merely trying to help,” he said.
“Our message is clear: offensive language, screaming, swearing, yelling, arguing, name calling, belittling, threatening, hanging up, being rude, sexually suggestive or unco-operative is abuse.
“These staff do an extraordinary job under intense and unrelenting pressure. There is simply no excuse for the abuse they routinely subjected to,” he said.
To see the No Excuse for Triple Zero (000) Call Taker Abuse campaign follow NSW Ambulance on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or visit the NSW Ambulance website. For those wishing to access more information about what to expect when they dial Triple Zero (000), fact sheets can be accessed online via www.ambulance.nsw.gov.au.
Meanwhile, NSW Police has issued a checklist for residents to be aware and stay safe over the Christmas-New Year season, including:
- Let a trusted neighbour or family friend know of your whereabouts and contact details. Ask them to watch your home, empty your mailbox, mow your lawn and, most importantly, call Triple Zero (000) if they notice anything suspicious, or if a smoke alarm is activated.
- Dispose of Christmas wrapping and delivery/goods packaging carefully. Don’t advertise your new valuables to would-be thieves.
- Lock away your handyman/gardening tools, which may be used to force open doors or windows, and any item that may be used to gain access to the property or cause damage.
- Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your valuables and then put them somewhere safe.
- Switch off and disconnect non-essential electrical appliances and IT equipment.
- Ensure any electrical items you decide to leave on continuously, or on timer circuits, are in good working order – that includes lights left on to deter thieves both inside and outside.
- Make sure that any lights you have left switched on are away from combustibles such as curtains and are of the right wattage to prevent overheating.
- Switch off and empty clothes dryers before you leave.
- Close all internal doors before you leave to help contain any fire that occurs.
- Pay bills in advance including electricity, gas, water, and telephone so that your supply continues while you’re away.
- Avoid posting information about being away on holidays because thieves will often use this information to target properties.
- Be sure your home and contents insurance is adequate and up to date.
- Check your doors, windows and garage are locked securely, and remove spare keys from hiding places. As you leave, check everything again.
- Finally, if you have a home security alarm, activate it.
If your home has been broken into:
- Call your local police station immediately.
- Don’t touch anything. Let police see your home exactly as the thief left it.
- While you are waiting for police to arrive, compile a list of what you think is missing; include brand names, model numbers, serial numbers, accurate descriptions and any engraving details.