Parkland Ambulance invites community to socially-distant thank you

Agency celebrating paramedic services week by inviting residents to draw a message in sidewalk chalk in front of bases Thursday

Paramedic Chris Pacey models the PPE used by Parkland Ambulance during the pandemic. Submitted photo.

Parkland Ambulance is encouraging the public to get involved and help celebrate Paramedic Services Week while remaining physically distant.

This Thursday from 1-3 p.m., members of the public are invited to visit either the 225 24th Street West or the 555 13th Street East location of Parkland Ambulance to leave a message or colour a picture for paramedics on the front driveway.

“Come and celebrate Paramedic Services Week with us by adding some colour to our bases” Parkland Ambulance wrote in a press release.

“By that we mean using sidewalk chalk to draw an image, write words or whatever message you want onto our driveway to say thank you to our paramedics for their service, dedication, determination and heroic roles of service to our community.”

According to director of public affairs Lyle Karasiuk, past paramedic services weeks have involved visiting schools or holding an open house. None of that can be done this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The service can’t even host the large staff luncheon they normally have for their teams.

“We want the public, especially the kids to come out and say thank you to our paramedics, to share their stories, to show why paramedics are important to the community and display that message in sidewalk chalk right on either of our two front driveways,” he said.

“We’re needing to find other ways to celebrate paramedic services week. This way we can involve the community. We want the community to come out and be part of our week, part of the celebrations. We felt this was a great way to involve, especially, the young people … and add some colour to some really drab asphalt in front of both of our bases.”

Karasiuk said the pandemic has been hard on paramedics, who often have to greet patients through PPE such as a mask, gown and face shield. That’s caused challenges in connecting with patients who need a human touch or a face they can connect with.

‘We’re not able to connect with people who sometimes are suffering a lot and could really rely on that human connection,” he said.

The sidewalk art will bring joy to Parkland Ambulance staff, he continued.

“I think the community coming out his way to show how much paramedics mean to them and how much paramedics have cared for them will be a really great opportunity for them to share their love for our paramedics and say to our paramedics ‘thank you’ for the awesome job they do in this community.”

While chalk will be provided, residents are free to bring some of their own. Residents are asked to respect physical distancing. Snacks will be provided. If it is raining on Thursday, the event will take place on Friday instead. Ring the front doorbell when you arrive to get supplies.