Paramedics are highly trained medical professionals who bring advanced medical care to the roadside, bedside and just about anywhere else. Paramedics specialize in dealing with critical and acutely ill patients in and out of a hospital environment. When people suffer medical emergencies, they depend on highly skilled Paramedics to provide treatment and medication prior to arrival at the hospital.
Paramedics possess advanced diagnostic abilities and knowledge of hospital specialties and capabilities. In some circumstances, timely diagnosis by Paramedics can radically improve a patient’s chances of survival. In Ontario, Paramedics require at least two years of schooling for entry to practice, but education is a continuous process.
During a regular shift, Paramedics are expected to respond to a wide variety of calls, from an unconscious person who requires a tube placed into their lungs, to a child with asthma, to an elderly person who needs increased support at home.
Paramedics are a vital resource for people in the community. Often, Paramedics have the responsibility of encountering people on the worst day of their life and trying to make it, and them, better.
-Provide a variety of medications for pain, cardiac arrest, heart attack, allergic reactions, asthma, seizures and poisoning
-Secure a patient’s airway using a variety of techniques
-Provide manual defibrillation
-Use electricity to speed up or slow down a patient’s heart
-Treat fluid in the lungs with a positive pressure ventilator
-Manage cardiac arrest in adults, children and infants
-Diagnose heart attacks using a 12 lead ECG
-Refer patients for home care through Community Care Access Centres
-Call in specialized air ambulances staffed by Paramedics for rapid transportation and even more specialized care
A VEPA, or Vehicle Equipment Preparedness Assistant, is a professional who works for the Paramedic Service. They specialize in the stocking and readying of Paramedic vehicles, ensuring Paramedics have the tools they need to provide care in a diverse set of circumstances.
In a regular shift, a VEPA works with a partner to ready a number of ambulances that have just completed a shift. Occasionally vehicles need special cleaning and stocking mid-shift and return for urgent attention. Besides stocking, VEPAs are responsible for tracking inventory to ensure that the millions of dollars of equipment used delivering Paramedic services are accounted for and the Paramedic Service always has the equipment needed to continue providing world class care.