By Darren Lum
Published May 26 2020
When everyone is being led away from danger it’s the paramedics who race to it and help.
Take this week to thank the 49 emergency responders who are always there for us in Haliburton County during this year’s Paramedic Services Week.
The 2020 Paramedic Services Week theme is Pandemic: Paramedics on the Front Line which recognizes the important role paramedics serve to the front lines of the healthcare system during this pandemic.
Paramedic Services Week is about recognizing paramedics and educating the public and started Sunday May 24 running until Saturday May 30.
Each day has been and will be focused on a particular subject to educate the public about the paramedic service. Monday is activating 911 and call screening; Tuesday is about personal protective equipment what and why; Wednesday is protect the protectors/help the helpers; Thursday is about staying informed; what and why we do what we do? Friday is about health and resiliency and Saturday is paramedic services recognition day.
Haliburton County Paramedic Service chief Tim Waite said paramedics are always ready to serve and are at the very front lines of emergencies.
“We’re the first to see those very sick patients to assess them and transport them in a very close quarters office as I like to call it. They are at a high risk given the work space they have to work in when they are on route to the hospital” he said. “They are entering residences and places we don’t know what’s in there when they get there and that’s why right now they’re on very high alert. They do extra screening when they get to the residence or facility and do everything they can to ensure they maintain their safety as well as safety for the patient.”
Deputy chief Jo-Ann Hendry said she appreciates this week because it enables the public to learn more about the service and the people behind it and how they work. Hendry said each day of the week there will be a posting on Twitter and Facebook.
Among the posts the paramedic’s perspective will be revealed.
“The pandemic is not new for us. This is what we do on a regular basis. Sure it’s a little bit higher contagion right now until we get it under control but our paramedics deal with [all sorts of health conditions]” she said.
Due to the higher risks associated with the current health crisis paramedics have received more training and practice. There has also she said been collaboration between health agencies such as the family health team and the hospital.
With the current health crisis it has meant greater collaboration between health agencies which has strengthened the working relations between them all she said.
Hendry added that advertisements will be published this week in local media to recognize Paramedic Services Week.
Prior to restrictions to public gatherings the paramedics had planned a CPR lesson down at Head Lake Park including planned outreach efforts around the county.
It’s important to educate because the public doesn’t know the full story about paramedics she said.
“Because the unfortunate thing is nobody really thinks about what we do or how we’ve changed over the years until they need 911 so we like to spend it when it is not the worst day of people’s lives that we can share some of what we do and educate. We’re not ambulance drivers anymore. We’re paramedics. We have highly honed skills now to treat different conditions” she said. “We’re like an emergency room [which is] mobile.”
Waite said he is extremely proud and thankful for the work of the paramedics and how they have conducted themselves.
“A big thank you from us at Haliburton County needs to go to our paramedics because as a chief they’ve stepped up tremendously. All the extra stuff they have to do. The extra uncomfortable stuff they have to wear. It’s not a fun place to work sometimes especially in pandemic times and I have to say our paramedics have really stepped up and are just doing an excellent job” he said.