IAN Ireland was enjoying his Wednesday night when he got the call to what has become an all too common occurrence this year.
The long time CFA volunteer with Ballan was among the first respondents to reports of a serious accident on the Western Freeway, something that he has unfortunately become used to.
For the Ballan Rescue Brigade, it is the third time it has been called out to a fatal accident on a straight stretch of freeway in the 37 days of 2019. “Yeah, I went to it last night, and I’ve been to the great majority of them,” Mr Ireland said yesterday.
“It’s just something you do. It’s a part of the community experience that we choose. It’s part of protecting our own community. We care about our community.”
Mr Ireland has seen his fair share of major collisions in his time and admits, it never gets easier to deal with.
“I don’t really believe you ever become immune to it, you take every job as it comes,” he said.
“When you arrive, you’re thinking of what you can do to help. You think, you don’t know the person and you do what you can.
“There is a lot of support if we want it and it’s free flowing, but we are a rescue brigade so we also do a debrief afterwards and we look out for each other. We make sure our mate is OK.”
Mr Ireland said Ballan had 12 members on the scene Wednesday night helping crews from Wallace, Bungaree and Millbrook who were also on scene.
“As we’re a rescue brigade, we provide assistance to the ambulance where we can. Last night they were run off their feet. One of the MICA trucks had to come from Hillside, there was so much happened all over the place.
“We finished up about 1.30am, and then you go home and you go to bed, but you don’t sleep, you can’t.”
Mr Ireland said he does not have an answer to the cause of deaths on the freeway. His advice to motorists was to care for each other and the community.
“Think about the consequences of what happens afterwards and the trauma they create with the families involved and emergency service workers,” he said.
“After a period of time, there is a definite toll factor.”
CFA District 15 Operation Officer Gavin Hope said such scenes affect people in different ways.
“In the really bad situations we automatically get a peer support into the debrief. People are attending these types of scenes a lot, but sometimes, something comes across that throws you out, children are the worst and you always relate it back to your own family,” he said.
“It’s important we keep a close eye on people and even witnesses who come across such scenes.”