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Andrew Fergusson - Northland Road Safety Champion 2024

Andrew Fergusson has attended more road crashes than he cares to remember over the last couple of decades.

Of the countless he has attended, many have been fatal accidents, and he believes most did not need to happen.

It is something he reflects on often, particularly with 2024 Road Safety Week upon us.

Andrew Fergusson (Photo supplied)

And for the father of young children, the Northland Rescue Helicopter Critical Care Paramedic has a clear message for drivers on Northland roads – slow down, follow the rules and stop taking risks.

Put simply, be safe to keep yourself and others safe, says Andrew.

“The big thing I reflect on being a husband and a dad is that everything can change in one moment of inattention when driving,” says Andrew.

“That can be a moment of rushing for something that does not require rushing and that can have devastating lifelong impacts. I have seen too many families no longer whole because of this and people left with injuries that impact on them for years.

“The reality of large crashes we go to is that no-one leaves the same person they were before. I think I can speak on behalf of all first responders in that if we never had to attend a motor vehicle crash again, we would be really happy about it.

“Most crashes are preventable if people made better decisions. In New Zealand we view driving as a right and not a privilege, so we sit behind one to three tonnes of metal and we are travelling 50-100km/h, sometimes faster, and the physics alone show that the kinetic energy and force in a crash is going to be devastating for a human body.”

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Andrew says as a father, when he attends road crashes with children, he compartmentalises the situation.

“Our role is to provide the best care we can in someone’s time of need. Everyone is intrinsically like that in this job. We do this type of work because we genuinely care about people.”

After starting out in the military, Andrew progressed to a career with the Ambulance service before beginning work with the Northland Rescue Helicopters in 2014. Having grown up in Tutukaka and Pataua North, Andrew always had a goal of returning north and working in the air.

He has held leadership, management and clinical support roles within the ambulance sector and in addition to his clinical and SAR roles he is also the clinical equipment lead for the chopper service. Andrew says he enjoys the diversity of not knowing where he will end up on any given day.

“I enjoy being able to make a positive difference in the community and helping people out. That’s really satisfying,” says Andrew.

And no doubt he is familiar to plenty of Northlanders who he has helped over the years in his role as a Flight Critical Care Paramedic.

To register for 2024 Road Safety Heroes relay go to https://forms.gle/5FWNwys5ftsVeQ2NA and to find out more about Road Safety Week 2024 (including downloading educational packs), check out https://www.roadsafetyweek.org.nz/

In the days leading up to the Road Safety Week Heroes relay, child restraint workshops will be held in locations around Whangārei, with qualified technicians on hand to answer questions and ensure car sets are installed correctly. Workshop dates and locations will be updated at https://www.facebook.com/nrsnrcnz

Meantime, Northland Road Safety Trust wants more motorists to pay more attention to the concept of RIDS (Restraints, Impairment, Distraction, Speed). Always wear seatbelts and ensure children are properly restrained at all times, don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, don’t be distracted by phones, drive to the conditions and do not speed.

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