It’s been 45 years since Parkland Ambulance began operating in Prince Albert, but the organization achieved a first Friday.
For the first time in the organization’s history, both bases boasted an all-women street crew, including supervisors.
Parkland Ambulance shared the news on its Twitter feed Friday afternoon with photos of the seven women involved in the historic first: Sherri Morrison, Brooke McInnes, Danielle Bolduc, Cory Kulcheski, Jessica Berquist, Eden Shirley and Erica Hnidek.
“It’s a lot of fun. This is a great group of girls working today,” McInnes said.
“We’re all very strong paramedics. We’ve got our strong personalities and we carry our jobs well.”
McInnes has been with Parkland Ambulance for the last eight years. During that time she has seen more women become interested in the profession.
“Absolutely it’s good, it’s starting to become more equal now,” she said.
“Today’s crew is very powerful.”
It’s not just more paramedics, it’s more interest from the grassroots level. McInnes said she’s had a few students who were strong paramedics-in-training who were women and has seen more interest from women at job fairs.
“It’s nice to see a lot more interest from women,” McInnes said. Even when we do career fairs we get a lot of females and they look up to you. When they see you in positions like this they realize that ‘hey, we can do this as well.’”
Parkland Ambulance director of public affairs Lyle Karasiuk said Friday’s milestone is “awesome.
“We have steadily seen an increase in females in our organization,” he said, adding that he has also observed an increase in interest from women who want to become paramedics.
“It has been for so many years a male-dominated profession because they (historically) said women couldn’t do it.”
Unfortunately, some of those attitudes still exist.
“We still get some older men, predominantly older men saying ‘she’s not going to be able to lift me,’ and my response, if I have a female partner, is ‘just watch her, she could probably lift both of us,” Karasiuk said.
“We have some great female leaders in our organization and we continue to excel in all of our paramedic levels with females.”
McInnes said she also encounters those misperceptions, and while they’re starting to change, it’s not a quick process.
“There’s always been that very strong masculine type. It’s starting to change but it’s something that’s going to take time,” she said.
“(We are) starting to see positive changes in our workforce.”