On the other side of adversity on the job

Helen Berry. PHOTO: Emma Hillier
THE GOOD, BAD AND UGLY: Wangaratta MICA paramedic Helen Narayan has many stories to tell from her challenging but rewarding 27-year career, having seen the best and very worst of what society can bring. PHOTO: Emma Hillier

A GIRL from Melbourne’s western suburbs couldn’t believe what she saw on her first day on the job as a paramedic and now the Wangaratta woman has 27 years of stories under her belt.

Helen Narayan was one of the first 10 female paramedics ever to join Ambulance Victoria which celebrated its 30-year anniversary yesterday since the first two worked their first shift.

The year was 1990 when Helen joined as a 22 year old, a time when women had to battle for everything they could get on the job.

“My first job was a girl who got burnt to death in a car and we had to chase the driver when he started running to catch him for the police and I was like whoa, what is this job,” Helen said.

“We’ve had to deal with the death, the way people live and even though I grew up in the western suburbs I never had to deal with this.

“It was a pretty rough and violent place but since becoming a paramedic it has been unbelievable.

“There have been drug overdoses, death and violence, shooting people after an argument, and stabbing people for not cutting the grass.”

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