Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Having a Heart Attack: Call an Ambulance

A recent study shows that nearly half of all heart attack patients don't call an ambulance. The choice not to call an ambulance has devastating consequences. Calling paramedics decreased the time it took to receive critical life saving care by 50% and increased the chances of critical heart tests being preformed. Simply going to the hospital by any other means significantly increases the chances of a negative outcome.

By calling 911 patients receive electrocardiograms (ECG's) faster, allowing patients to by-pass the ER  thus seeing a Cardiologist sooner. “Getting an ECG by first responders greatly improves the speed of effective care at the hospital,” said the study’s principal investigator James M. McCabe, MD, University of California, San Francisco.

By receiving treatments faster patients have significantly less heart damage. Less heart damage allows for heart attack victims to get out of the hospital sooner, be on less medication, and increase their chances of returning to a normal life.

So why do people wait or worse, not call an ambulance at all?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Sneakier Way To Bust a Union

Authored by Russ Tychonick, on Mar 10, 2011
There has been a lot of attention on Wisconsin of late, what with Republican Governor Scott Walker attempting to gut collective bargaining and destroy the public sector union that represents government workers there. But there are other, more subtle attacks on unions taking place in other states that are going relatively unnoticed.

The Ohio Senate has recently passed a bill that basically hands over all labour arbitration decisions involving public workers directly to the governments that employ them. The bill would give public sector employers the right to unilaterally determine how much their workers are paid, the benefits they receive, and their hours of work.

But this attack on labour hasn’t received much attention at all. Ohio’s Republican Governor, John Kasich, is perhaps a bit craftier than his Wisconsin counterpart.

And of concern to Canadian labour leaders is that the Ohio example could be attempted here in Canada. The key is control over the arbitration process.

Public sector workers are already denied the right to strike in provinces across the nation. But this has not proved to be problematic since disputes that arise between these workers and their employers are decided by independent arbitrators.

Normally, arbitrators are as fair as possible to both sides and strive to reach an agreement that is generally reflective of what would have been realized had both sides continued to negotiate with each other.

But the Ohio solution is a sneaky way around this process. Under the proposed legislation, all public sector employers are deemed essential and thereby denied the right to strike. Their union rights are not removed entirely, but all they are really able to bargain for is wages.

And in the event of an impasse, independent arbitrators do not make a decision. It is the workers’ political masters that do so, basically making the entire bargaining exercise irrelevant.

For those who want to curtail union rights, the elimination of independent arbitration is every bit as effective as the Wisconsin approach. And much more stealthy.

from: Union Bug

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

60 Seconds Can Save a Life

Everyday Paramedics face life and death. Often these tragic outcomes could have been avoided, living healthier, getting enough exercise, and learning CPR and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) use are simple changes people can make to reduce cardiac arrests. Paramedics can only do so much, we cannot be standing beside everyone, waiting for the day that person may suffer a cardiac arrest. We can train, work hard and get ready for the next call. But that often isn't enough to save a life, if someone doesn't immediately start CPR and use a public access defibrillator everything we do after is often in vain.

Once the heart stops pumping, seconds count. For every minute that passes without help, a person's chance of surviving drops by about 10%. But if you know how to respond to a cardiac arrest, a person's odds of survival and recovery may increase by 30% or more. With most cardiac arrests occurring in the home it's you and your loved ones that will benefit the most. Learning CPR is easy, and now doesn't cost a thing and takes just 60 seconds to learn.

Studies show that less than 30 % of the public are trained in CPR and there is significant hesitation from the layperson to perform CPR.  It is now easier than ever to perform CPR, just two simple steps.

1. Call 911
2. Push hard and fast

Watching this video will increase the likelihood of you performing this life saving skill. So watch, learn and then ensure that the Paramedic services in your community are adequately funded to be there when you call. Paramedics and your loved ones are depending on it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pull to the Right

Paramedics respond to urgent calls for service on a daily basis. While responding to these life and death matters, emergency equipment such as lights and sirens are activated in order to alert the public. It is important that the public responds quickly when emergency vehicles approach. Often times, Paramedics are faced with motorists who fail to pull out of the way in order for emergency vehicles to pass safely. These situations can delay Paramedics from arriving to potentially life-threatening events. Emergency service personnel are confronted with these types of situation far too frequently. Paramedics have seen a noticeable increase in collisions involving ambulances in recent years.

On some occasions motorists have reacted to emergency vehicles by:

- Stopping short not knowing what to do
- Freezing in place
- Ignoring the lights and sirens
- Pulling in front of oncoming emergency vehicles to block the path

These situations place our emergency responders, victims of the emergency and other motorists at risk.


When stopped at a red light, look around, and when safe to do so, it is legal to pull into the intersection to allow the emergency vehicle to pass. Your efforts may save a life

Motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of Paramedic line of duty deaths in Canada. Not only is it dangerous for us to respond to calls, emergencies that take place on our roads often place responders at risk of being struck by motorists.

Reduce your speed and give us room to work when emergency lights are activated. Please allow us to go home at the end of our shift.

Snow Angels

Last week a group representing seniors asked city hall to adopt a volunteer based snow shoveling program, Snow Angels. It’s simple, volunteers register and when help is needed seniors call for a snow angel to come shovel the sidewalk.

Emergency services personnel know all too well the impact such a program could have on the well being of seniors. Those with ailing health, those that need a program like this, often need the assistance of emergency services. In an emergency every second counts, so when Paramedics face a snow bank or un-shoveled walk they know time will be wasted in getting the patient to the hospital.

So not only will the Snow Angels program help with the isolation of winter, it may in fact save a life. Don’t wait for city hall to make a decision, look around your neighbourhood and be a snow angel.