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

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of June 13

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

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

Most Read