Newsrooms are appreciably quiet during Christmas breaks.

Compared with the periods immediately before or after the phones are still and the sirens not nearly as prominent in the soundscape.

At this juncture the fourth estate steadies itself for the onslaught that typically ensues at the same time as the drying of the pohutukawa's red threads.

Read more: 'It's 3:35am and I still can't sleep': Officer traumatised after seeing mother die in crash


But such is the sometimes fickle nature of news that the hiatus didn't play out this year.

A disproportionate road toll, drownings, missing persons, fires and other calamities made for a busier than usual silly season.

The lesser realised spin-off is that those in emergency roles were also denied an intermission.

Ambulances, rescue helicopters, hospital staff, the constabulary, fire crews, coastguards, rural fire volunteers, search and rescue staff, surf lifesavers and funeral directors were presented with anything other than a sedentary few weeks.

In the newsroom it reminded me of the frequency and depth of horror heaped on those who are pulled into tragedy professionally.

This was underscored when an experienced constable took the moving step of taking to Facebook at 3am after yet another road fatality where he had to inform a man his daughter was dead.

"Oh hell, how do I react to that? He was teary, and so was I. I don't do tears and I don't do emotion ... up until that point ... 3.53am and I still can't sleep."

Understandably, these grim duties aren't what most of us choose to reflect on when we're downing the trifle.

That's why I think now, post pohutukawa and post-pavlova, first responders' help and humanity warrants serious thanks.