On the scene, ambulance paramedics have a truckful of specialized equipment they can use.
Most ambulances have one main stretcher, three spinal immobilization devices, defibrillators, oxygen tanks, diagnostic equipment, thermometers, pulse oximeters, glucometer and blood pressure monitoring.
Paramedics provide early intervention to those who are too ill or injured to make their own way to the hospital is that critical.
Campbell River paramedics respond to an average of 5,500 calls in a year.
The Campbell River ambulance branch has a staff of 41, with nine of those being full-time paramedics and the rest working part-time.
A typical schedule for the full-time paramedic is two day shifts, followed by two night shifts and then four days off. Shifts for the part-timers are typically 12 hours long, depending on which of the three ambulances the paramedic is assigned to.
The Alpha shift, primarily staffed by full-time paramedics, is the first ambulance called out to an emergency while the second ambulance out is the Fox shift – mostly used by the part-time paramedics who are on standby at the station.
While the Campbell River unit’s normal response area is Roberts Lake to the north, Strathcona Park Lodge to the west, and south to Hamm Road, paramedics are not bound to one area and are sometimes sent to neighbouring communities to help out when needed.
Local paramedics also have a good working relationship with their other emergency services partners. This includes the Campbell River Fire Department, RCMP, Canadian Coastguard, SAR and Oyster River Fire Department. Paramedics also work very well with their closest health care team, the emergency room doctors and nurses at Campbell River Hospital.
Anyone who is interested or would like to get involved as a paramedic can visit www.bcas.ca or call the BC Ambulance Service Careers Help Desk at 1-877-577-2227.