Paramedics name danger spots

By Alesha Capone and Charlene Macaulay

More than 40 locations in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs have been flagged as potentially dangerous for paramedics.

Ambulance Victoria last week released a list of more than 230 suburbs and towns across the state which are home to locations where paramedics have encountered patients or individuals who could pose a “threat” to their safety.

The list included locations where Ambulance Victoria staff have encountered aggressive dogs, weapons, “unsafe houses”, verbal threats and assaults, between January 2016 and March 13 this year.

Several areas in the north and west featured, including suburbs in the Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank, Maribyrnong, Hobsons Bay, Moonee Valley, Hume and Whittlesea municipalities.

Sunbury and Yarraville each had three locations included on the list (Shepparton had the most, with five).

Broadmeadows, Keilor Downs, Meadow Heights, Sunshine West, Thomastown and Werribee each had two locations on the list.

Albion, Altona, Ascot Vale, Airport West, Braybrook, Brookfield, Delahey, Doreen, Epping, Flemington, Footscray, Kings Park, Laverton, Moonee Ponds, Point Cook, Roxburgh Park, South Kingsville, Sunshine, Sunshine North, Sydenham, Tarneit, Tullamarine, Whittlesea, Williamstown North and Wyndham Vale each had one location on the list.

Wyndham police Inspector Marty Allison said police took any threats against paramedics very seriously.

“I think it’s disgusting that paramedics, who are there to help people who are critically unwell or injured – people who have called a paramedic to come and help them – think it’s OK to assault an ambulance officer,” Inspector Allison said.

“No, it’s not OK.”

Last week, the state government announced it would toughen minimum prison sentencing laws so attacks resulting in injuries to emergency workers will result in compulsory prison time.

“This sends the strongest possible message – if you attack and injure an emergency worker, you will go to jail,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.