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A great team behind the scenes

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A great team behind the scenes
A Parkland Ambulance Care Ltd. telecommunicator takes a call in the dispatch centre. -- Parkland Ambulance/Sumitted

Paramedics are a welcome sign during a medical emergency, but they wouldn’t be able to arrive on time without the help of dedicated telecommunicators.

With National Public Safety Telecommunications Week kicking off on Monday, Parkland Ambulance Care Ltd. chose to put the spotlight on the people on the other side of the phone during an emergency.

“Behind the scenes is a great team of hardworking and dedicated people,” Parkland Ambulance spokesman Lyle Karasiuk said. “Despite the fact that you never see them, this great team is vital to the care our paramedics provide.”

Last year, Parkland Ambulance telecommunicators handled calls and guided paramedics for more than 48,000 incidents. Karasiuk said without that assistance, paramedics couldn’t do what they do.

“(They’re) a team of dedicated professionals who every day work so hard behind the scenes to keep you safe,” Karasiuk said. “That’s the short answer. The long answer? People don’t realize what’s happening in our medical communications centre. Folks might not realize they are not the only person who needs help.”

On Monday, Karasiuk said telecommunicators dealt with eight incidents in Prince Albert in the span of about five minutes. All of those calls needed to be assessed, processed and cared for at one time.

Karasiuk said telecommunicators provide ‘zero minute response’ which means someone starts helping the second an injured or distressed person calls. That often involves asking a variety of questions to scared, anxious, or frustrated people. Karasiuk said it’s a vital part of the process.

“One of the biggest misconceptions people have is ‘because the communications team asks a lot of questions, the paramedics are delays,’” he explained. “That is wrong. As soon as we know where help is needed, help is being sent, even while the questions are being asked and you are being given instructions on how to help.”

National Telecommunicators Week runs from April 10-16.