Emma is an eight-year BCEHS veteran, and serves in Princeton’s community paramedic program. (Andrea DeMeer photo)

The faces of courage: A salute to Princeton’s paramedics

The global pandemic has made life and work harder for B.C. paramedics as they hold the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.

Joe Acker, a paramedic practice leader with BC Emergency Health Service, recently told Black Press the industry has been preparing for the virus since its impacts on China were first understood.

“We’ve changed from business as usual to now, almost all of our time is making sure paramedics are safe,” says Acker, adding that the majority of senior paramedic staff’s day is spent ensuring their safety.

Leading up to the declaration of the pandemic, 911 call takers would ask a series of questions to determine the likelihood of the patient having COVID-19. Now, everyone is treated as if they have the virus.

Related: ‘Different than anything we’ve ever seen’: How B.C. paramedics are responding to COVID-19

This has led to a change in procedure for paramedics making house calls. Normally, a paramedic would walk right in, sit down next to you and start treating your illness — now, paramedics call the patient to the door.

Making sure to stand three metres away, and dressed in full personal protective equipment — protective glasses, the best quality mask you can get, a full apron or gown, a face shield and of course, gloves— paramedics will assess the situation.

Paramedics might have to change in out of all that gear anywhere from six to 10 times a day so as to not contaminate other areas they work in such as the front of the ambulance.

Acker’s urged residents to not call 911 or 811 for every small sign or symptom of the virus.

Use the BC Centre for Disease Control’s online self-assessment and follow the steps from there. “Don’t bother the health professionals unless you absolutely need them because everybody is really busy right now,” he said.

“The public shouldn’t panic, they should take care of themselves but when they do need us they can rest assured we’ll be there for them.”

Related: ‘Incredibly disheartening’ say Kelowna paramedics after vehicle broken into, equipment stolen

—With files from Kendra Crighton

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Karen Reader is the unit chief for Princeton’s detachment of BCEHS, with 18 years on the job. (Andrea DeMeer photo)

Just Posted

COVID-19 closes Okanagan College summer camps

Popular Camp OC put on shelf from Salmon Arm to Penticton, and Revelstoke, until 2021

UPDATE: Penticton RCMP find no evidence of early morning gunshots

Loud blasts reported by several residents, RCMP say one person likened blasts to a car backfiring

COVID-19: SD67 approves budget reductions

Staff positions will be cut to balance budget

COVID-19: Pre-recorded graduation events planned for students in School District 67

Graduates from Penticton Secondary have created petition to urge postponement of grad ceremonies

COVID-19: SD67 plans restart program for Penticton, Summerland students

District following provincial guidelines as students return to classrooms on June 1

Video: Okanagan mayors encourage water conservation this summer

Water conservation this summer could be more important than ever, experts say

Public asked to leave Okanagan bear and cubs alone

Sow and babes spent the day up a tree Saturday in a busy area

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

Body of missing woman found in Kelowna

Kelly Joy Zuchotzki was last seen on May 24

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

Most Read