Thank a paramedic today: Karasiuk

Lyle Karasiuk, spokesperson for Parkland Ambulance, sits in the back of one of the ambulances during an interview. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Ambulance agencies right across Canada are celebrating paramedic services week, and Parkland Ambulance here in Prince Albert is no exception.

Wednesday, the agency held an appreciation barbecue for its members and members’ families, but it’s just one of many activities planned in the P.A. community.

“It’s the week we showcase the paramedics across our great service and across the great cities and provinces, to educate the public about what paramedics do, the may talents they have and the may skill opportunities they bring to the people they serve,” said spokesperson Lyle Karasiuk. “We do a lot of appreciation activities for them, and we do a lot of social media activities to recognize them, but that’s an ongoing role for us, and we engage the public in various activities.”

Some of those activities are regular occurrences for the service, which is often found teaching first aid and CPR classes across the region, or volunteering at one of several events.

During the week, Parkland Ambulance stopped by tree planting,  Relay for Life and the weekend’s bike and music festival out at Little Red. That community presence is an important part of what the agency does.

“We’re taking our paramedics to the people,” Karasiuk said.

“Involving ourselves in the community (and) community service is one of the big things for our agency it’s one of the premier things we like to focus on and give back.”

The biggest thing Karasiuk wants the public to take away from this week is the ever-evolving role of a paramedic.

“We aren’t just there in your emergency,” he said.

“They will be there, and they will bring you to our emergency room, but (people should also) understand that our paramedics play a huge role in the community, not only in the public events that we self-initiate, but in roles they have in their off time. Many are coaches. They live in our communities. They participate in many activities. They are an integral part of the communities they serve.”

Karasiuk’s other key message is to thank paramedics for the work they do, both on the job and in the community.

Riverside school has already begun. Students from the school created personalized cards for each of the paramedics. Those cards were handed out at the barbecue.

“One of the things I would encourage the public to do would be to say thank you,” Karasiuk said. ‘We get thank yous from the people we’ve cared for … but just when you see our paramedics out for lunch, or stopped at a local grocery store or convenience store, just say thank you to them. It’s important for them to be recognized and to have that opportunity to be thanked.”