By Marcus Tignanelli, North Bay City Councillor
As a city councillor I believe it is our duty to make educated and informed decisions regarding the many services within our municipality. My commitment to City Council has included various ride-alongs to date with many of these service partners. I have spent time with our North Bay Police Services, Fire Prevention Service, Public Works and most recently Nipissing Paramedic Services.
This past week I spent the day with my father, one of Nipissing District Paramedic Service’s Advanced Care Paramedics.
When I first entered into the election campaign over a year ago I made it my mission to see significant changes to our EMS level of service. I'm beyond excited to announce through the absolutely dedicated work and passion of many individuals, the citizens of North Bay can expect to see a rapid response unit (RRU) on our city streets.
RRU’s are emergency response vehicles that are designed to get paramedics to the sick and injured quicker.
The RRU is not your traditional ambulance but a more mobile vehicle such as an SUV that can easily and safely maneuver through our city. These units are staffed with one qualified and equipped paramedic who can undertake full paramedic care when they arrive at severe and critical emergencies. The RRU has specialized equipment in addition to the traditional equipment on board an ambulance, minus the stretcher.
Traditional ambulances are staffed with two paramedics responding to emergencies and transporting patients to hospitals and other health care facilities. This often results in delays and unavailability to emergency calls.
The RRU, in contrast, can respond to an emergency, provide high-level paramedic care and begin treatment of patients prior to the arrival of the transporting ambulance. Due to the complexity of certain emergencies, the RRU will assist and support paramedic crews that are already on the scene. The RRU paramedic can transfer care of the patient to the transporting paramedics and remain available for the next emergency.
On my ride-along I began the day at our Central Ambulance Communication Centre for a tour and briefing of the process from the time an emergency call comes in, to when it is dispatched to our paramedics. From there I rode along in the rapid response unit responding to various calls. Calls included a car crash, an elderly person experiencing cardiac issues, an unconscious patient and several mental health-related emergencies.
Growing up around my parents whom are both in the medical field I often heard stories. However, witnessing the complexities of a day in the life was eye-opening and reaffirms my election promises that our Nipissing Paramedic Services have been underfunded.
Under the innovative direction of our new Chief and the dedicated paramedics, dispatchers, and staff I believe the citizens of Nipissing are in much better care going forward.