Time for com­mu­nity to help St John

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

It has been more than two decades since for­mer truck driver Paul Con­non started work­ing as a vol­un­teer for St John.

Now a qual­i­fied para­medic, the Green Bay res­i­dent has made help­ing oth­ers his ca­reer.

Also a mem­ber of Ti­ti­rangi’s vol­un­teer fire brigade for 27 years, Mr Con­non de­cided to join St John af­ter sev­eral of his fel­low fire­fight­ers be­came in­volved.

“I only vol­un­teered for about six months. I just helped out, look­ing af­ter pa­tients. Af­ter that I de­cided to make a ca­reer of it. I liked the work.”

He started out as an am­bu­lance of­fi­cer and worked his way up to para­medic.

Work­ing out of Mt Roskill sta­tion, Mr Con­non works four 12-hour shifts in a row and gets four days off.

“It can be tir­ing but you get used to it. Get­ting four days off af­ter­wards is nice.”

While out on the job, Mr Con­non works with an­other para­medic or am­bu­lance offi

They as­sess the scenes they are called to, make sure they are safe to en­ter and de­cide whether more re­sources are needed.

“We treat the pa­tient and trans­port them if nec­es­sary.”

He can be called out to work any­where around the Auck­land re­gion and has dealt with all kinds of sit­u­a­tions in his time.

In­jured chil­dren are the hard­est pa­tients to deal with for him.

“It can be stress­ful. You’ve got to put up a shut­ter. We’ve got plenty of peer sup­port for any­one who wants it.”

Along with his nor­mal du­ties, Mr Con­non is part of the St John team that at­tends motorsport events to pro­vide sup­port if needed.

St John’s an­nual ap­peal is on un­til Satur­day and north­ern re­gional gen­eral man­ager Stephen Franklin is urg­ing peo­ple to get be­hind the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Ev­ery year our am­bu­lance of­fi­cers treat and trans­port more than 320,000 pa­tients, at­tend nearly 250,000 emer­gency in­ci­dents and travel 14.6 mil­lion kilo­me­tres by am­bu­lance,” he says.

Mr Franklin says the ser­vice re­lies on com­mu­nity fundrais­ing to main­tain am­bu­lance ser­vice lev­els, fund things like am­bu­lance sta­tions, am­bu­lances and other ve­hi­cles and its car­ing and com­mu­nity pro­grammes.

St John ap­peal en­velopes have been sent out and peo­ple can also do­nate at www. stjohn.org.nz or by phon­ing 0800-785-646.

Photo JA­SON OXENHAM

Help­ing oth­ers: St John para­medic Paul Con­non started as a vol­un­teer and loves his work.

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