Every year, there is a Paramedic Services Week. We feel it’s very important to raise awareness to a part of our Healthcare System that is frequently overlooked or misinterpreted. This year, Paramedic Services Week is May 28-June 3. We encourage you to talk to your local paramedics/service to THANK THEM for an INCREDIBLE JOB THEY DO! Also, please inquire about those details you might be unsure of. Don’t worry, you do not need to call 9-1-1 to contact your local service, they have an Office Phone Number!
Ever wonder about the facts and common misconceptions about paramedics? We send a huge THANKS to the paramedics who helped compile this information!
- Trained in stabilizing someone who has sustained an injury or medical condition.
- There are three different levels to responder/paramedic training:
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) (basic level of care)
- Primary Care Paramedic (EMT-PCP) (intermediate level of care)
- Advanced Care Paramedic (EMT-ACP) (advanced level of care)
- The basic aim of these three levels remains the same: to stabilize the ill or injured prior to arriving at the receiving facility.
- They each maintain their own medical license through the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics.
- There is ALWAYS two responders/paramedics in an ambulance.
- The level of care (see above), can differ between ambulance services. Most services employ PCP and/or ACP levels.
- Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)’s can be employed with an ambulance service, however, not many services in Saskatchewan hire this level.
- Unless they are employed within a larger city (Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, etc), majority of EMS personnel do 24-hour on-call. This means they carry a radio and are ready to respond during all hours of the day/night. Usually they do a few days of “on-call” in a row. They are limited to where they can go, what they can do, and some daily tasks are hard to accomplish while being on-call (ie. showering, preparing meals, grocery shopping, etc).
- When an emergency call comes in, most services require their staff to be IN the ambulance and obtaining information, in LESS THAN 10 minutes. This is in effect regardless if they were sleeping, showering, cooking, yard work, grocery shopping, etc.
- Some Fire Departments (usually Urban), require some type of medical training.
- “They throw the person into the back of the ambulance and drive to the hospital.”
- They are highly trained to stabilize the person with similar treatment, as what they would receive at the receiving facility, while on the scene. That care continues during transportation to the facility.
- “An appropriate name for them is “Ambulance Drivers”.”
- Although one person is required to drive the ambulance during any emergency call, both of the individuals are trained to deliver appropriate patient care. This can vary from being very basic treatment, to very advanced “hospital level” care as per necessary. Paramedics receive a tremendous amount of training, from specialist medical knowledge to hazardous material operations. Training specifically for driving the ambulance, is a low priority.
- “I never call for an ambulance because I’ll get a bill!”
- Pending your service area, if you are not transported to the hospital, you MAY NOT receive a bill. Most insurance companies cover ambulance services, and some can be billed directly. It works very similar to any other medical profession where you would obtain a bill for service (ie. dentist, optometrist, etc). Contact your local service to obtain information specific to your insurance coverage.
- “It’s faster to just drive the ill/injured person to the hospital, because it’s quicker than waiting for an ambulance!”
- Ambulance services employ medical professionals that can treat the ill/injured person “hospital-style” right in the home or location of incident. Their job is to stabilize the ill/injured person and provide medical treatment prior to arriving at the medical facility. This can save crucial time for those individuals who may be suffering a “Life-Threatening” emergency (Airway, Breathing, or Circulation is affected).
- Some illness/injuries can worsen during transportation. Our treatment is specifically geared toward decreasing the chances of that happening.
- “Medics get paid more for transporting people to the ER department, that’s why they try to convince you to go!”
- They are not paid “per patient transported”. They have specific protocols to follow when it comes to leaving a person at home/scene of incident.
- “They use their lights and sirens whenever they feel like it”
- Paramedics are governed by traffic and safety laws, and are only permitted to use lights and sirens under certain circumstances. They use their discretion regarding the person’s medical condition/injuries.
- “They transport dead bodies.”
- If there is a “death in the field”, the funeral home or designated personnel will be contacted.
- “Why does the ambulance wait outside for the Fire Department and/or Police to show up? Someone could be hurt or ill! They should go in and save them!”
- Paramedics are licensed to deliver Medical Treatment. They (just like anyone else) are required to wait until the scene is safe for them to enter. For example: if a vehicle is on fire, or un-stable, they will not go inside or get too close until the Fire Department has stabilized it. Another example: if the scene is dangerous, they are not trained in weapons or defense mechanisms, so they must wait until the police arrive and ensure the scene has become safe.
You can view their “scope of practice” documents by visiting the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics, or clicking the link below! This document will provide you with the details regarding the levels of treatment, medications, procedures, and the general guidelines around the paramedics role during an emergency.