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OPSEU salutes paramedics


Toronto – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is proud to join the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been helped by a paramedic in celebrating Paramedic Services Week from May 22 to 28.

“Not that long ago,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, “an ambulance driver would pick you up and rush you to hospital. If you made it alive, you were in luck. Today, when seconds can mean the difference between life and death, paramedics provide immediate and frequently lifesaving care.

“Paramedic Services Week is a great time to recognize – and thank – our paramedics for the work they do for all of us.”

OPSEU represents more than 2,100 paramedics whose expertise and experience save lives in 20 communities across Ontario.

As the first medical professionals at the scene, paramedics assess the injuries of patients facing medical emergencies. They deal with individuals who have overdosed or ingested poison. They treat people who have respiratory and other illnesses. They provide pre-hospital emergency care, including CPR, oxygen, bandaging, IVs and medication.

They can work any hour of the day or night, any day of the year. They work under the boiling sun, in the freezing cold, in the pouring rain. Their work is physically and emotionally draining. They witness traumatic events and are at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder.

To do all this every working day requires stamina and unparalleled commitment and dedication.

“I wonder how many of us realize what a phenomenal asset paramedics are to our public health system. I wonder how many of us owe our lives, or will owe our lives, to paramedics. This week gives us a chance to ponder these questions – and to respond by saying thank you: in person, or on social media. It’s so little but it can mean so much.

“Imagine a world without paramedics. Then support them as much as you can. Help your local paramedic service help you when you need it most.”

For more information: Jamie Ramage, Ambulance Division Chair, OPSEU, 905-730-9351