A lifetime of saving lives

LONG STINT: Warren Mannion has begun his 40th year as a paramedic – and has no intention of calling it quits any time soon. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 050916cpara1IT is a long way fromcompleting a butcher’s apprenticeship to notching up four decades as anambulance officer andparamedic, but Bathurstresident Warren Mannion is on the verge of doing just that.
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And he has no intention of stopping.

At least, no intention until his beloved Cronulla Sharks have finally won a premiership, anyway.

When he’s not copping jokes about the Sharks’ Amco Cup win and when that trophy might have some company, he is a father, a grandfather, and an overseer of the nextgeneration of local paramedics.

He has now entered his 40th year in the profession – which is a long time to be helping to save lives.

“My dad was a paramedic for 35 years, so it is in the blood. I was an ‘ambo baby’ and lived around stations the whole time I was growing up, so that made it a logical career path in some ways,” he said.

“I am actually a butcher by trade. I finished myapprenticeship and came home one day and saw mum watching the Granville train disaster on television and dad was actually on the coverage.

“After seeing that I made the decision that it was what I wanted to do.”

Initially, Mr Mannion was stationed at Rockdale, south of the Sydney city area, before a regional transfer, and he has stayed west of the Blue Mountains ever since.

“I did regional and remote postings. I worked on aeromedical and helicopter units for six years, which was a bit of an experience,” he said.

“There have been a hell of a lot of things I’ve enjoyed about the job and, though it is starting to wind down a bit now and I’m more involved in paramedic education, it is still something I really enjoy.

“I’m an operational intensive care paramedic, but my main role now is assisting with the certification of currentparamedics and helping them maintain their skill-base and their qualifications.

“The whole profession changes a lot. It has changed so much since I started with the new drugs, equipment and skills that everyone needs to know.

“We are probably busier now than we have ever been, and everything has changed accordingly with that. The design of ambulances isobviously a lot different, and we even have electronically-operating stretchers now.”

In such a vital profession there have naturally been plenty of calls that Mr Mannion would prefer to forget, and in his job there isn’t much he hasn’t seen or had to deal with.

But on the flipside, thesatisfaction of saving lives and, in some cases, welcoming new life, is more than enough to make up for the bad days.

“You do see the sadness, the accidents and so forth that come with the job, but any time you can help deliver a baby is something amazing,” he said.

“It is a real high that you get from seeing a new life come into the world. That sort of thing makes it far easier to focus on the positives of the profession than the negatives.”

While his role as more of an educator than a regularlyrostered officer means that his career is beginning to wind down, he says he has nointention of giving it away just yet even if other things are starting to become a priority.

A dad to Tim and Jennifer and grandpa to Harry, Samara and Emerson, he spends as much time as he can with them as well as his partner Kat and her children Kobie, Kelsi and Mathew.

“Kat has spent the last 15 years as a paramedic as well, so it is hard to get away from it,” he said.

“The kids have all grown up and moved out; a few of them are doing uni. It is starting to get towards the end for me professionally, but I’ve still got a few years left in me. I might call it quits when the Sharks win a comp. I’m not holding my breath for that, though.”

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