St Albans emergency services giving up their Christmases for your safety

PUBLISHED: 18:03 24 December 2011

Gary Sanderson

Gary Sanderson


WHILST most of us will be unwrapping presents and tucking into a turkey dinner on Christmas Day, it will be quite a different story for those working in the emergency services across St Albans.

The Herts Advertiser spoke to some of those for whom Christmas is just another day at the office.

Gary Sanderson has been working with the East of England Ambulance Service for 24 years. He will be on call on December 25 to help deal with any significant incidents across the region.

“Our trust provides a 24/7, 365 days a year service, so we tend to treat the festive shifts as a normal day,” he said.

“The main type of call-outs on Christmas Day varies each year, but the normal jobs are heart attacks, domestics, strokes, falls, breathing problems and road traffic collisions.”

While for many it means being away from their families, the ambulance crews who are working try to make the most of the day.

Gary said: “The crews accept that they may be required to work over the festive period and they try to enjoy the day as much as they can with their colleagues. They all chip in and bring mince pies and food to eat.”

He continued: “We cannot forget the control room and support staff, the non-emergency staff, that also work over the festive period, alongside their A&E colleagues.”

Firefighters Jim Eddy and Martin Bulford, from Red Watch St Albans, will be working 48 hours over the Christmas and New Year period.

As well as responding to emergency calls, the crew will carry on with their normal routine, including drills and training, and Martin will have the added of pressure of cooking the turkey!

Jim, who has been a firefighter for 19 years, said: “The main types of incidents we have to attend on Christmas Day include road traffic collisions and fires.

“At Christmas people tend to relax more and that seems to be when accidents happen.”

The pair said they will miss their families, but Martin, a firefighter for almost eight years, added: “It is part of the job.”

When asked what sort of feedback they get from people for working Christmas Day, Martin continued: “There is a sense of feeling sorry for us, but people are also very appreciative.”

Jim added: “Most people are happy to think they have a good fire service they can call on at any time.”

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