Paramedic Services Week came to a wrap this past Saturday as the Fort Frances ambulance base held the last open house and barbecue in acknowledgment of all the services paramedics provide to the district.
The Rainy River Association of Professional Paramedics (RRAPP) committee put on the events to celebrate their general success and to educate the public what goes on behind normally closed doors.
Paramedics have extensive training to help them make split-second lifesaving decisions and preventative measures during a medical emergencies. The role of a paramedic has had a dramatic change in recent years.
With hospitals being overcrowded and more beds being tied up, more of the onus has fallen on paramedics to provide advanced care.
Ambulances are fitted as portable emergency rooms to provides intensive care in cases of severe emergency scenarios.
“There's the old misconception of just being ambulance drivers, and our profession has come a really long way and we do a lot more than just transport to the hospitals,” said RRAPP co-chair Kim Jacobson.
One major aspect of the RRAPP initiative is to educate children on the experience of receiving care from a paramedic. The aim is to lower a child's anxiety to make an emergency situation less intimidating or scary.
“We don't want paramedics to be scary; we want people to be comfortable right? We want kids to be comfortable with us,” said Jacobson.
“So, if they come and see us and see an ambulance then maybe if they get a call it won't be quite as scary.”
The RRAPP wanted to showcase and promote their profession in a positive manner. RRAPP was also able to raise $400 for “Boots on the Ground” which is a peer support group for first responders.
Boots on the Ground is a call centre which provides confidential 24/7 peer support across Ontario for first responder finding difficulties of the impact of constant exposure to trauma.
Jacobson said that in their own experiences locally, RRAPP has seen the impact excessive exposure can have mentally on first responders.
“It is very important to us if our co-workers—any of our first responders we work with—that we know are hurting or are in trouble that they can get help,” she noted.
“So, it's near and dear to our hearts.”
It has been a part of the RRAPP's goal to recognize even though first responders help save lives, sometimes they need assistance also. RRAPP thanks the community for its tremendous support and understanding.