The Rainy River Association of Professional Paramedics and the Rainy River District Paramedic Service will be hosting a series of open houses and free barbecues across the district in honour of “Paramedic Services Week” (May 27-June 2).
The public is invited to come out and see first-hand how the paramedics serving their community operate, said Malcolm Daley, who is the RRAPP co-chairman along with fellow paramedic, Kim Jacobson.
The first open house will be held Monday, May 28 from 4-8 p.m. at the Atikokan ambulance base (114 Dorothy St.), followed by one on Tuesday, May 29 from 4-8 p.m. at the Rainy River ambulance base (104 Atwood Ave.)
The next one will be held Thursday, May 31 from 4-8 p.m. at the Emo ambulance base (32 Florence St.), with the final one set for Saturday, June 2 from noon-4 p.m. at the Fort Frances Ambulance Base (801 Scott St.)
“We will have hotdogs and hamburgers, free of charge, graciously donated to each event by the grocery stores in those communities, bean bag toss games with paramedic-themed prizes and a colouring book station for the kids, door prizes donated by local businesses, and individually-packaged baked goods available for purchase to help fund future RRAPP events and continued community involvement,” noted Daley.
He said the reason “Paramedic Services Week” is held and, in essence, the reason the RRAPP was created, is that people understand what paramedics do when they see them at work during public trauma events, but in fact they do so much more.
“I think that many people don't know the other work paramedics do to keep them out of hospitals in the first place,” Daley remarked.
“We are celebrating 'Paramedic Services Week' this year by highlighting the out-of-hospital care efforts we undertake every day, whether it be emergency care or preventative monitoring,” he added.
Daley said one of the emerging trends in out-of-hospital care provided by paramedics is community paramedicine.
“Paramedics are proactively dealing with an aging population by visiting patients in a non-emergency setting,” he explained.
"We check blood pressure and blood sugar or run a heart monitor system in an effort to prevent or identify health concerns before they require emergency care.
“Public education is another significant role that paramedics play in promoting healthy communities.” Daley added.
“Across the Rainy River District, we visit dozens of people in a scheduled one-on-one setting to monitor any potential health issues they may have.”
District paramedics also conduct group wellness clinics at different locations to provide these same services to larger groups who may not require individual visits.
While “Paramedic Services Week” is not a new phenomenon, Daley said it's more organized in Rainy River District this year, involving all four community bases.
“The recent creation of [the] RRAPP has allowed us the structure to present ourselves, alongside the RRDPS, as proud individuals who want to share our profession and our skills outside of our work life,” he reasoned.
"We want people to have a better understanding of pre-hospital care and exactly what the role of paramedics is in the health-care system.
“Most importantly, we just want to offer a fun, relaxed event for people to get out, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and meet some of the people who are working to keep their community safe and healthy,” Daley added.
“If people are curious about what exactly goes on in the back of an ambulance, then this is a great time to ask any questions they may have and take a good look at what we do day in and day out to ensure we're ready to respond when we need to.”