We depend on them

Talk to the part-time and full-time paramedics in your community and ask them about their EMS professional duties,

Dear Sir:

Talk to the part-time and full-time paramedics in your community and ask them about their EMS professional duties, what it consists of being on-call day or night for the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS).

And please then ask them what it’s like working in the remote, urban and rural communities while trying to survive off of wages offered to them as part-time paramedics on standby at their BCAS station or carrying their pager on-call.

We need to show our respect and appreciation for the dedicated services they provide in our communities and the ongoing training that is required to keep their license as emergency medical professionals. The part-time and full-time paramedics are just as important  as having the firemen and policemen on station standbys for emergency response and therefore, they deserve the same benefits and wages.

If the stations in remote communities cannot staff ambulance shifts and BCAS sends in part-time paramedics with full wages and benefits to cover those stations, why can’t they pay fair full wages to the part-time paramedics who work in their own communities on station standby and on-call with a pager?

Why doesn’t Kitimat have a separate ambulance station so the female paramedics living there can work in the BCAS in their own community?

If the part-time paramedics are required to come in and be at the station ready to respond to emergencies night and day just as the policemen and firemen, then they deserve full wages.

If the paramedics are carrying a pager on-call for schedule shifts, they should be getting paid minimum wages at the very least for being on pager and ready to respond to emergencies.

This to me would seem more equal to the other employed professionals on station standby or on-call on a pager ready to respond to duties.

Currently, I think the wage of the part-time paramedic on standby at the station and the paramedic ready to respond to their pager at home is insulting considering that they are required to have the same training and skills as the full-time highly trained EMS professionals.

I wonder if nurses, doctors and/or other health/public safety personnel get their wages cut for being on-call as a part -time or casual.

If the part-time paramedics all stood together and stopped working for a single day, you would see the essential service that they truly are in our communities  across B.C.

Who would respond and transfer our injured, sick or dying loved ones?

Someone needs to step up to the plate and make the necessary changes by calling MLAs, municipalities and governments for more funds to keep the part-time and full-time paramedics employed fairly and to employ more part-time and full-time paramedics to ensure that remote and rural communities don’t go without the necessary emergency medical services needed.

We, as families and friends of the paramedics and as communities, need to talk the MLA and BCAS in your area.

Find out how to support and keep our paramedics employed sufficiently for their high quality emergency medical services needed so they aren’t forced to go work elsewhere.

I see posters of the BCAS vision, mission and values to be a world leader and provide the emergency medical service needed.

Let’s help support them to achieve and improve this in the remote, urban and rural areas.

You can read more about it in Canadian Paramedic Magazine at www.emsnews.com.

Kevin Goddard

Terrace, B.C.