Part-time paramedics needed during flood
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | August 10, 2017
When the Sunnybrook Bridge on Bobcaygeon Road was closed for two weeks because of the flood, part-time paramedics were on standby on either side of the bridge in case they were needed.
It turns out they were.
Between May 7 and 18, two ambulances and 360 staff hours were required to help residents. A first response vehicle was used on May 19, the final day of the closure. It has all the necessary equipment to treat someone on-scene, but can’t transport patients because it doesn’t have a stretcher.
There were 137 calls including 39 transfers, 98 emergency calls and 11 calls on the west side of the bridge. Paramedics had to use a boat for one call.
“Call types varied from chest pain, possible stroke, respiratory problems and musculoskeletal issues,” said Tim Waite, chief of the Haliburton County Paramedic Service.
The financial impact is more than $18,000, but no overtime costs were incurred because they are part-time employees. Twenty-three part-time staff work in the department.
The additional expense can’t be recouped from the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program, but half will be recovered from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. It funds half of ambulance service costs and the county pays the other half.
The closure of the bridge added eight to 10 minutes to response times, depending on where the call originated on the west side of the bridge, Waite reported. That’s why a decision was made to put paramedics and vehicles there.
Brent Devolin, warden and reeve of Minden Hills, thanked Waite and his team for their service. He said residents were happy they were close by.
Waite’s report was for information only.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.