Heather calms time of panic

HEATHER Lidster is often a calming voice to Central Queensland residents in an emergency situation.

The Rockhampton woman is reluctant to discuss her job as a communications officer in the Central Region Ambulance Communications Room.

In fact, she would prefer this Community Hero story to focus less on her, and more about the team she works with.

"I work with a brilliant team,'' she said.

"We are a really well-oiled machine at the moment.''

Ms Lidster is constantly surrounded by a hive of activity as she works to answer triple 0 calls, and co-ordinate responses across Central Queensland.

She is affectionately referred to as "mum'' by the ambulance crews.

"It is just something that has evolved over time,'' she said. "To have a rapport with the crews is great, otherwise your work wouldn't flow.''

Ms Lidster started training in the communications room in June, 1999, and said her most difficult moment on the job was giving CPR instructions over the phone to the parents of a sick baby.

"I had to give CPR instructions to parents over the phone for 45 minutes while giving directions to the responding crew at 3am,'' she said.

"It was a very remote area.''

When asked what she liked most about the job, the Rockhampton woman replied it was the "challenge and diversity of the role.''

One such challenge was delivering a baby over the phone soon after she started.

Ms Lidster received the Communications Officer of the Year award for the Central Region for such efforts.

Communications Centre Supervisor Malcolm Hampson said she had a strong work ethic.

"She knows her stuff,'' he said. "She is one of the old school ? she is reliable, efficient and effective.''

Co-worker Melissa McKinlayStack agreed, saying she liked the way Ms Lidster worked.

"She is efficient and professional while still being compassionate and caring,'' Ms McKinlay-Stack said.

With Ambulance Communication Centres being first in line on the medical emergency front, Ms Lidster said it was important for the public to be aware of their function.

"People have a perception that because we are talking to them on the phone, we are not getting an ambulance to them,'' she said.

"However, this is not the case.

"There is a dispatcher coordinating the most appropriate ambulance responses as we endeavour to obtain the relevant information over the phone to assist them.

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