LOCAL HERO: The impact of responding to fatals on our roads
FOR twelve years, Josh Mangan has been a first responder to some of the most horrific road accidents in the South Burnett.
As a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services auxiliary in Nanango, Mr Mangan has seen it all, from fatal head on collisions to cars swerving off the road.
It's a job that has and will continue to leave a life long impact on him.
Josh said one small mistake on the roads can affect a lot of people for a lifetime.
"It's not just your own personal life, it's the other people involved, the family, the friends, the innocent bystanders and the first responders who are left bearing the weight of lives lost on the roads," he said.
"They say one road accident effects 100 people and from personal experience it takes a long time to recover from experiencing a fatal accident.
"The graphic images stay in your head, you have flashbacks and the memories never go away.
"When we get the call about an accident a lot runs through your mind, what could be in the job, who might be trapped, what will I be able to do to help and the adrenaline just rushes through the system."
As a born and bred South Burnett local, Mr Mangan has experienced first hand the far reaching impacts fatal road accidents have on our community.
Personally for him, it's the memories that stick with him for life.
Mr Mangan said it's like a vault, the memories are always there and certain trigger points always bring them back.
"It takes a long time to recover from going to a fatal and depending on what happened the recovery is different," Mr Mangan said.
"Sometimes I will go quiet for 24 hours and just stick to myself, other jobs it might take a week or so until I can really stop thinking about the accident.
"No matter how long after responding to a fatal the memory is always there and can be brought back pretty easily.
"There are trigger points all over the road, when you drive past a spot where someone died it always brings the memories back, even if the accident was twelve years ago."
Mr Mangan said while it's important to always remember the fatal five, it's even more important to think of the life long impacts car accidents have on so many different people throughout the community.