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

Caledonia Secondary School is the recipient of a $50,000 grant to replace its aging science equipment. (File photo)
Cal snags major grant to modernize science equipment

The $50,000 comes from a pharmaceutical company

Unemployment rate drops in northwestern B.C.

Large improvement since Spring 2020

Uplands Nursery this year will do all of the 4600 Block of Lazelle Ave., beginning at its east end, and a portion of the 4700 Block. (File photo)
Lazelle sidewalk project begins June 14

Improvements coming to 4600 and 4700 Blocks

Cassie Hall Elementary School students pose for a picture in their garden. Since 2019, students and staff at the school have been attending to the garden project. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
Cassie Hall students grow a green sanctuary at school

The K-6 elementary school students and staff have been working on the garden project since 2019

Glenn Bennett returns as chief councillor for Kitselas First Nation after June 10 elections. (Submitted photo)
Kitselas First Nation votes Glenn Bennett as chief councillor on June 10

Six council members were also elected from a packed pool of candidates

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read