THE world of ambulance services has changed drastically during Richard Marchingo's time as a paramedic.
Celebrating 35 years in the job, Mr Marchingo is stunned when he thinks of how his work practices have evolved since the mid 1980s.
He said the biggest change was the care paramedics were able to provide at the scene of an emergency.
"We didn't have defibrillators, there were no drugs except a mild pain relief, nothing to treat asthmatics and no cardiac drugs.
"So it was drive out fast and drive back even faster. And fast was fast - we used to drive (Ford) F100s with big V8s."
Mr Marchingo said his pathway to becoming a paramedic was vastly different to what was happening today.
"I went to school and come home and the old man said 'I've got you a job as boilermaker'," he said.
"So I did that for four years. Then I wanted to join the police force and went and sat the exam.
"The bloke said come back next year but I had blokes I used to run with who said to be an ambo. That's how it grew legs.
"This job is a degree now and the kids are highly trained. In those days it was like an apprenticeship.
"You started and had the ambulance officer training centre in Melbourne. You went there for a couple of weeks, then were out on the road before you would go back for a couple of more weeks.
"It was three years of that. It was learning by your seniors. You grew on their experience."
Changes to paramedic training and patient treatment were introduced in the late 1980s.
"Bendigo has come a long way," Mr Marchingo said.
"In the mid '80s there were basic things (in rural areas) like dialysis or intensive care, but there were no helicopters. We thought we did a good job - and we did - but that's how far it has come.
"We went through a period where we were all learning until it got to a degree.
"(The next generation) has a depth of knowledge far greater than mine. I might have a bit more experience but going forward we are in good hands."
"Each town had its own phone number to ring for an ambulance. It was pretty primitive when you look back on it," he said.
"It's incredible now to the point if something significant happens, even out on the footpath, if (paramedics) think it can't be maintained in Bendigo, we get a helicopter in and put you on that."
In all the emergencies he has attended over the years, Mr Marchingo said he had never woken up and thought "I don't want to go work".
"I still enjoy the job," he said.
"It does have its highs and lows but like any job , if know what your doing, you tend to get in and just do it.
"In 35 years I have covered most parts of the job. Its an interesting job and obviously rewarding."
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