- Councillor's Corner
As many of you may be aware, I have been very vocal over previous Council’s decision to freeze any hiring of new paramedics. Our City has grown and our aging population has increased, but without hiring more paramedics and additional vehicles, we had been unable to keep up with the demand.
After extensive work in 2015 with Mayor Watson; City Manager, Steve Kanellakos; General Manager of Emergency & Protective Services Anthony Di Monte; and my council colleagues, we were able to increase funding, which has since provided 50 new paramedics and 10 new vehicles.
After reviewing the the Ottawa Paramedic Services 2017 Annual Report at the Community and Protective Services (CPS) committee meeting, Ottawa Paramedic Services Chief Myles Cassidy announced that they are now meeting Council’s goals for critical response times thanks to the decision to hire more staff in 2015. Chief Cassidy also noted that there are new paramedic staff who have completed their training and will be on the road soon; this will continue to help match the increasing call volume and response times to people in need.
At peak times of the day, calls to the dispatch centre can exceed 1 call per every 1-2 minutes. In one instance, 17 ambulances and their on-board staff were held up at the hospital for hours, while waiting to transfer their patients into the care of nurses and doctors. Chief Cassidy is actively in discussions with local area hospitals, to ensure staff can return to service and prevent unnecessary delays.
I asked the CPS committee to provide any needed support for Chief Cassidy in these discussions with the hospitals, since the timeliness of our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff is crucial to the well-being and safety of City of Ottawa residents.
With so many factors coming into play during an emergency call, we will always need to examine each step thoroughly to mitigate delays. In 2015, we identified the cities growth, and council’s actions has addressed the need to invest in more paramedic staff and vehicles. Now reaching our targets thanks to these investments, we will be facing a new challenge moving forward.
I trust that our EMS team, with the support of council will find as solution to ensure paramedic staff are always available without delay.
It was a huge honour to receive an Appreciation Award from the Ontario Paramedic Association during the Paramedicine Expo and Conference. I am very thankful to Darryl Wilton, who nominated me for the award.
The evening was very touching. Some standout moments were the entertainment from the Paramedic pipe band and dancers, along with the tolling of the bell in recognition for all those who lost their lives over the last year.
As a City Councillor, I consider the safety of my residents to be one of my highest priorities. Over the past few years, I have worked closely with Emergency and Protective Services and council colleagues to increase the number of Paramedics within the City of Ottawa. Adding these paramedics has help provide faster response times across the city and especially in the rural wards.
I have also worked on a project to ensure all the Royal Canadian Legions in Ottawa, not already equipped with the AED heart defibrillators, will have one provided by Ottawa Paramedic Services. Our veterans risked their lives to protect us, and we felt it was important to protect them by having access to these live saving devices. I will continue to work with Ottawa’s Emergency and Protective Services and champion the real heroes, Ontario Paramedics. Everyday these brave men and women put their lives at risk by responding to emergency calls and saving lives. I can’t thank you all enough for your dedication, service and sacrifice.
I am a strong advocate for these Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public spaces. When a heart stops beating, early intervention can often save a life. An AED, or automated external defibrillator, is a device that automatically analyzes heart rhythms and advises the operator to deliver an electric current if the heart is in ventricular fibrillation, an otherwise fatal rhythm. Since the Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) program began in the early 2000’s, over 100 lives have been saved by these AED machines.
AEDs at Royal Canadian Legions
In support of the Paramedic Services and my advocacy for AEDs, I worked on a project to ensure all the Royal Canadian Legions in Ottawa, not already equipped with the AED equipment, will have one provided by Ottawa Paramedic Services. Our veterans risked their lives to protect us, and we felt it was important to protect them by having access to these live saving devices. I will continue to work with Ottawa’s Emergency and Protective Services and champion the real heroes, Ontario Paramedics. Everyday these brave men and women put their lives at risk by responding to emergency calls and saving lives. I can’t thank you all enough for your dedication, service and sacrifice.
AED at the Greely Community Centre
I had many senior residents, community groups, and recreation groups come to me with concerns over the lack for of AED equipment within the Greely Community Centre (GCC). As a result, I have gotten a new one installed. You’ll find the AED equipment at the main entrance of the GCC! The GCC originally had one in the main entrance when the PAD program started, but it was somehow relocated when the Greely Library opened. As the GCC and Greely Library have different hours of operation, it was best and most practical to get this new one installed. Greely has grown and flourished over the years, with the GCC now providing indoor and outdoor programs to residents, kids and seniors alike. This AED will be easily accesible in the case of an emergency, benefiting not only users of the community centre but also those living in the area.