Iridia Supporting the Teaching of CPR and AED Skills to Terrace and Kitimat Youth

Furthering our partnership with the ACT Foundation, Iridia recently helped to bring CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training to Caledonia Senior Secondary School in Terrace and Mount Elizabeth Middle/Secondary School in Kitimat.  In total, seven teachers across the two schools attended the teacher-training workshop which was held in Terrace on 25 June, 2013.

The workshop was delivered by BCAS’ paramedic, Gil Kurtz, who was supported by the Deputy Chief of the Kitimat Fire Department, Pete Bizarro.  Both gentleman generously volunteered their time to teach the workshop.  Iridia’s support comprised the donation of equipment – including AED training units and AEDs – along with the provision of funding for the AED mannequins and program resources. 

As a result of this teacher-training, approximately 350 students will be trained annually by their teachers to use these life-saving skills.  Janine Dethlefs from Iridia was also in attendance to speak to the teachers about the work that Iridia does and the importance of having as many people as possible trained in CPR and AED use.

 

CPR Training

Click to watch the segment from CFTK TV

Not that this importance isn’t already understood by the teachers and students at Caledonia Senior Secondary School.  A few years ago, a life was saved by a student from Caledonia when a gentleman in Walmart suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.  With no other adult close by who was able to respond, the student acted quickly, engaging his CPR skills and knowledge. Fortunately, the outcome was a happy one and shows that these skills, once learned, can be invaluable.

This is just one example of how sudden cardiac arrest can occur anywhere, at any time.  With eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home or in public places, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

Check out the following link for more information about the ACT Foundation.

http://www.actfoundation.ca/index2.cfm

 

A Look at the Sun Peaks EMR Pilot

Sun Peak Fire Rescue

Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks Fire Rescue is a rare department. Staffed by 3 full-time fire officers and 20 volunteer firefighters, they have made significant improvements in meeting the emergency response needs of Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality.

These improvements were driven by the need for trained emergency response personnel to attend at the scene of an incident promptly where BC Ambulance paramedics were unable to do so.  To meet this need, Fire Chief Bill Stoner lobbied for his firefighters to improve their pre-hospital emergency skills and training.  As a result of his efforts, Sun Peaks was one of two B.C. fire departments chosen for a pilot project allowing firefighters to use the Emergency Medical Response (EMR) protocols.  SPFR then embarked on the process of upgrading their training of their firefighters to the EMR level. 

Having completed the EMR upgrade and with the assistance of Iridia, Sun Peaks Fire Rescue entered into a pre-hospital care consultation process. Included in this consultation process were the Emergency Health Services Commission, the BC Ambulance Service, BC Ambulance paramedics and emergency room physicians. Through this collaboration, a defined framework was established within which EMR skills could be utilized by the Sun Peaks firefighters. 

Emergency Medical Responder protocols outline the roles and responsibilities of firefighters and paramedics who respond to a medical emergency on-scene. The goal of the protocols is to quickly identify and respond to any potential life threatening medical emergency.

Using the EMR protocols provides firefighters with better tools to attend to a patient’s needs. It allows firefighters to use additional pain relief as well as immobilization tools when responding to emergency situations.

The EMR pilot is an ongoing effort. At this point, the pilot has improved documentation on patient care and interaction between Sun Peaks firefighters, paramedics and physicians. Further improvements in this pre-hospital care will be made throughout the duration of the project and the citizens of Sun Peaks will enjoy the benefits of collaboration and innovation that this pilot project brings.

Comments from Sun Peaks Fire Chief Bill Stoner:

“Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality is a world class resort town which enjoys a number of outstanding facilities.  One facility that the town is lacking however is a British Colombia Ambulance Station.  As such, Sun Peaks depends on ambulance service from the neighbouring community of Kamloops.  Because of this lengthy wait for emergency transport, Sun Peaks Fire undertook a pilot project in 2011 which allows firefighters to operate at the level of Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).  It is believed that using EMR protocol will improve the level of pre-ambulance care that Sun Peaks Fire can offer its patients.
When Sun Peaks began utilizing EMR protocols its members recognized a number of significant benefits; firefighter’s patient assessment skills improved, so they were able to deliver better information to ambulance personnel; the ability to provide Nitro and ASA to patients showing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack was also unquestionably beneficial.   The benefit that provided the most profound impact however, was the ability to provide pain relief with Entonox.
 Although most patients who complain of severe pain are not suffering life threatening conditions, they are experiencing a situation that is distressing, not only to themselves but also to their families and friends, as well as to the first responders who attend the scene; it’s tough to watch someone suffer without being able to help.  Due to the 45 minute wait for an ambulance, Sun Peaks Fire’s patients have had to endure this pain.  With EMR protocol however, fire department members can use Entonox to assist with pain relief.  This relief makes the patient more comfortable and alleviates the stress suffered by friends, family and first responders. 
As Sun Peaks gathers its ongoing statistical data on the EMR Pilot and the potential effects and benefits in saving lives; one thing is for sure, delivering enhanced pre hospital care has allowed its members to provide much better service to the people in the community and great customer service is what Sun Peaks Fire strives to deliver.”

For more information on our service offerings for At Iridia we are thrilled to have the opportunity to have worked with Fire Chief Bill Stoner and Sun Peaks Fire Rescue in the development of the EMR program. We believe the EMR pilot is just the beginning. There is a bright future for BC fire departments and the delivery of pre-hospital care.

 

Toronto EMS Creates a New Kind of Paramedic

Paramedics aren’t usually called upon until after someone’s had an accident or an injury, but the Emergency Department of a hospital ranks among the most expensive of places to treat a patient.

Toronto EMS

To ease that demand, Toronto’s EMS program has decided to try something different: visit people’s homes before their need becomes an emergency. Under the city’s Community Paramedicine Program, emergency workers note the living conditions of patients who are, for example, housebound or suffering psychological problems and flag their cases for follow-up. Later with the patient’s permission, Community Paramedics pay them a visit. They interview the patient; sometimes they examine the patient or take a look at the patient’s prescription medications and help to arrange more regular care through community nursing, social workers, or hospital outpatient services.

 Toronto’s EMS

For many people whom are marginalised or living on the fringes of society, paramedics are their first -or even sole- point of contact with the health care system as they rely on emergency services to manage their chronic or unaddressed health care issues. Many of these people whom have fallen through the cracks in the system have become so used to their isolation that they have to be convinced or cajoled into accepting the services that exist for them. By turning paramedics into front-line medical professionals who make house calls, organizers of the program say Community Paramedics have helped to reduce repeat 911 calls by 80%.

“It is unsustainable to wait for the phone to ring and to respond to those life-threatening emergencies,” said Michael Nolan, the president of the Emergency Medical Services Chiefs of Canada. “We believe strongly that paramedics have more to offer by being pro-active.”

The program is gaining attention in other parts of the country as well. “It’s about keeping people healthy so that they don’t need the emergency services; they never deteriorate to that point.” said Penny Price, Alberta Health Services’ Health Integration Manager.

At the moment, there is no program like this in BC, which presents an interesting possibility.

In 2009, BC’s paramedics held a job action mainly over what they considered unacceptably low wages. At times, a junior BC paramedic’s pay can be as low as $2/hour while standing by between calls. In Toronto the starting wage for a paramedic is around $27‑$30/hour.

If you took an average of the various arguments flying back and forth in 2009, you’d probably find supporters of the paramedics saying that this financial position is untenable for junior and part-time paramedics trying to build a career in emergency health care. In response, you’d find detractors saying that the union’s overall proposed wage hike was enormous from a percentage standpoint (31%) with unjustified pay levels (the union claimed it was seeking wage parity with the Vancouver Police). Eventually the strike was broken when Victoria legislated the paramedics back to work with a 3% pay raise.

If Toronto’s success with its community program were to be repeated in BC, it seems there would be a substantial savings in emergency healthcare money and resources, the public would enjoy more comprehensive care, and the paramedics would have an opportunity to retool their wage structure.

Whether or not it represents a potential win-win scenario for paramedics and the BC Ambulance Service brass lies in a couple of questions: would those who opposed the paramedic’s demands reconsider if the paramedics offered services like the one in Toronto alongside their regular duties? To those who supported the paramedics (and the paramedics themselves), do you think it would be fair to ask them to take on programs like this as a condition of a more substantial wage increase?