Prince Rupert Community Paramedic Jessica Friesen during Paramedic Service Week from May 23 to 29 said it is the toughest day of a person’s life when they have to call 911. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert Community Paramedic Jessica Friesen during Paramedic Service Week from May 23 to 29 said it is the toughest day of a person’s life when they have to call 911. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

B.C. paramedics service more than half a million calls per year

Paramedic Jessica Friesen says it’s the toughest day of a person’s life when they have to call 911

Ambulance paramedics have the most advanced lifesaving skills and training for frontline situations, with more than half a million emergency calls across B.C. that require ambulance dispatch, Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC, said during Paramedic Services Week.

“Our training takes months and years — not hours,” he said

May 23 to 29, 2021 is Paramedic Services Week across Canada, a time to honour and recognize the work of ambulance paramedics.

“This year has seen some of the worst service shortfalls in recent history due to medical leaves, recruitment and retention issues, and a flawed on-call service model,” APBC stated in a media release on May 23.

This year’s theme of Paramedic Services Week is Paramedic as Educator – Citizen Ready.

Prince Rupert has 16 paramedics, two staffed emergency ambulances at all times, as well as community paramedics. Community paramedics specialize in education to prevent 911 calls, and work to stabilize emergency calls to avoid the necessity of a hospital visit. They can do home visits to patients offering educational supports to make them more comfortable. Community Paramedics are licensed at the PCP-IV level or higher to provide non-emergency and scheduled care to patients as part of an integrated healthcare team.

Prince Rupert community paramedic Jessica Friesen, said these services are necessary for rural and smaller communities as there are fewer resources to rely on. The services are vital to communities, and the roles have been constantly changing due to the pandemic conditions with the need to provide the highest service remaining constant.

She said with so many medical emergencies lots of work can go unseen, especially in the pandemic with staff working more shifts, longer shifts, more time needed to clean after a call and there are challenges in communicating with patients through levels of personal protection equipment such as masks and face shields.

For the past two years, Ambulance Paramedics of BC (APBC) said its 4,500 plus members have felt overwhelming love and support from the public due to the global pandemic and worsening opioid crisis with more than 90 overdose calls per day.

“Our ambulance paramedics and emergency dispatchers appreciate the public’s gratitude at a time when dual health emergencies have led our members to physical and psychological exhaustion,” Clifford said.

From the moment someone calls 911 dispatch and asks for an ambulance, they are connected to an emergency dispatcher who is trained to begin what can be lifesaving medical instruction over the phone as a paramedic team heads their way by ground or air.

Friesen said despite any challenges being a paramedic is rewarding, but they work together as a team with the dispatchers to get successful results. “It’s s the toughest day of a person’s life when they have to call 911. Dispatchers are the first ones to talk to patients. We couldn’t do our jobs without them.”


K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Stelly’s Secondary student and North Saanich resident Merril McMillan will use her Beedie Luminaries scholarship to pursue a Bachelor of Psychology at UBC or Queen’s University. (Courtesy of Beedie Luminaries)
North Saanich student among two local winners of $40,000 Beedie Luminaries scholarship

Stelly’s and Vic High grads receive financial support for post-secondary studies

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Andrea Lewis (left), board member of the Shoreline Medical Society, receives a $3,000 cheque from Andrew Hansen, owner of Boondocks Bar and Grill. They are joined by Elizabeth Rhoades, executive director Shawna Walker, as well as board members Richard Flader and Andrew Tidman. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney bar owner helps doctor recruitment for Saanich Peninsula clinics

Boondocks Bar and Grill raised $3,000 in May for Shoreline Medical Society

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read