Every day Barbara Copeland faces the unenviable task of being prepared for disaster in a place famous for all the wrong reasons.
In her five years on Christmas Island, the St John Ambulance volunteer and school teacher has seen and dealt with it all, from heart attacks and missing fishermen from the local community to the 2010 SIEV 221 boat tragedy.
No matter how hopeless the situation, Ms Copeland said she felt privileged to help someone when she knows they've got no one else.
"I had a situation where a young man passed away and he was all on his own and I just held his hand," she said. "Even though you don't speak the language, just to touch someone, that was probably one of the ones that hit my heart there."
Last night, Ms Copeland was named Country Ambulance Service volunteer of the year.
As the island's sub-centre chairwoman for the past three years, Ms Copeland has lifted volunteer numbers from four to 15 as callouts rose from five to 150.
When the SIEV 221 washed on to rocks in December 2010, Ms Copeland had a pool of only eight volunteers to call on.
A group so committed to saving lives were forced to stand helplessly on the shore, watching children and adults drown. They then organised equipment and supplies and helped survivors to the hospital."We had something to do, so in a lot of ways even though it was deeply affecting for people, they felt that they were doing something positive," Ms Copeland said. "It gave them something to hold on to."