Deidree Whap

Deidree Whap's life has travelled a neat circle.

As a little girl, she grew up next to Thursday Island's ambulance station. She watched the ambulance officers at their work with a child's curiosity, and was inspired by what she saw. It shaped her young mind.

After leaving school, Deidree moved to the mainland and joined the Queensland Ambulance Service, working in Cairns, Bamaga and Thursday Island. She's a fully-qualified paramedic with 21 years experience.

And now she is back home in Torres Strait, in charge of training locals who volunteer for Queensland Ambulance Service's first responders program. This time around, it's Deidree who's doing the inspiring.

Deidree travels to the strait's island communities and drums up the locals' enthusiasm. Then she trains them in basic life support so they can respond to community medical or accident emergencies, everything from car accidents to helicopter medivacs. They are the first line of help, rendering first aid until advanced medical care arrives.

It's an essential role in an area as vast as Torres Strait.

"Being local, it helps a lot," she said. "I'm trying to put forward it's me that's coming out to train them; it's their own person doing it.

"It is a different job to working on the ambulance, but a job where I can help our communities in a different way by training and supporting First Responders to help in an emergency in their community.

"I really enjoy training my people."

DESCRIPTION: Deidree Whap, Paramedic