1. How do I become a paramedic?

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2. What area does Rainy River District Paramedic Services operate in?

The District of Rainy River. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainy_River_District )

This includes ten (10) municipalities and a large Townships without Municipal Organization (TWOMO) area.

3. How many paramedics are there in the Rainy River District?

Rainy River District Paramedic Services (RRDPS) employs approximately fifty-five (55) paramedics of which thirty-four (34) are full-time, four (4) are part-time and seventeen (17) are casual.

4. How many ambulances are there?

Our fleet consists of nine (9) ambulances, three (3) emergency response units (ERUs), and three (3) emergency support unit trailers (ESU).

There is one ambulance 24/7 at each of the stations across the district and an additional ambulance in Fort Frances, Monday to Friday 0700 hr to 1530 hour excepting statutory holidays.

5. How many stations are there?

We have four (4) stations: one in each of the following communities, Rainy River, Emo, Fort Frances and Atikokan.  During some events the public may also see ambulance staged in Stratton, Devlin or Mine Centre.  This staging is used to provide coverage to the vast area when the ambulance from any station is on an extended call.

6. How much does it cost for an ambulance?

An Ontario resident will be a co-payment charge of $45.00. A non-resident, either out of Province or out of country will pay $240.00 for use of a land ambulance.  No other charges for equipment/supplies or mileage are applicable.  The charge for ambulance use is billed by the hospital receiving the patient.

For more information, please visit www.health.gov.on.ca

7. Do paramedics use “lights and sirens” on every emergency call?

Generally paramedics do respond to “true” emergencies with “lights and sirens” to request the right of way from other drivers and to get to the emergency as quickly as possible.  “Lights and Sirens” must be used anytime that an ambulance proceeds through a red light or exceeds the speed limit.  The safety of our paramedics and the patient is always paramount and the service has strict criteria on when these exceptions may be exercised.  In some cases, the use of lights and sirens may actually increase the risk to paramedics and other drivers. In other incidents, lights and sirens are not necessary to quickly respond to the emergency, so it is possible to see an ambulance responding to a call without using lights and sirens.  The use of lights and siren is generally at the paramedic’s discretion. That’s why, if you’re waiting for an ambulance, and it arrives without “lights and sirens” activated, it does not mean that they were not responding quickly.

Our first priority for paramedics is to respond to calls safely and quickly, and to ensure that we “get to the call”, while following the “rules of the road”, and respecting the responsibility that comes with authority to break those rules.

8. Why do firefighters and police officers respond to some medical calls?

When available firefighters and police officers often work jointly in an emergency to give the best possible response to who are injured or ill. We do so under a “tiered response agreement”. This ensures that those in distress receive help as quickly as possible. Paramedics, firefighters, and police officers work as a team, but have different responsibilities. Paramedics direct patient care, firefighters extricate, rescue, and provide scene safety, and police officers ensure safety and investigate crimes. Firefighters and police often assist paramedics in providing patient care.

11. What ares the staffing levels for on-duty paramedics?

Rainy River District Paramedic Services follows a deployment plan that ensures 24/7 staffing of one ambulance in each of our four stations, Atikokan, Fort Frances, Emo and Rainy River.  An additional vehicle is staffed on dayshift, eight hours per day, Monday to Friday excluding statutory holidays, at the Fort Frances base to provide additional coverage and support.

12. How much are paramedics paid?

Paramedics in our service are all trained to a Primary Care Paramedic level and earn approximately $36.39 per hour once they have completed three years of service.  Full time paramedics earn approximately $75,700 per year and work 2080 hours.

13. Why are Deputy Chief’s vehicles called Emergency Response Units (ERVs)?

In order to fulfil the duties required under the Ambulance Act and Policy & Procedures and our response plan, Deputy Chief’s travel the district in ERVs.  These vehicles are fully equipped and our deputy chiefs are fully qualified paramedics who may provide a rapid response to an emergency call.  In any case where these vehicles are closer to an emergency call than an ambulance they may be dispatched to the emergency scene. They provide immediate on site care until the ambulance can arrive, but do not transport patients to the hospital.  These vehicles are also used as command locations in disaster or multi-casualty situations.

15. Who dispatches paramedics?

Paramedics are dispatched by the Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC) located in Kenora, Ontario. The Kenora CACC is a Provincial agency that is not a part of RRDPSs, but there is  close collaboration between the two. They are staffed by ambulance communication officers (ACOs). For more information on the Kenora CACC visit www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/ambul/ehs_mn.html

16. Who funds EMS?

In Ontario, the provision of EMS is a municipal responsibility. Under an agreement with the Province, municipalities operate the EMS while paying 50% of the costs. The municipality(s) pay the other 50%.

In the Rainy River District, the Province pays 100% of the costs for the First Nations and Townships Without Municipal Organization (TWOMO).  The remaining costs are than shared on a 50%, 50% basis between the province and the 10 municipalities within the district on a cost apportionment based on a formula that recognizes weighted assessment.

17. Are the paramedics unionized?

RRDPS paramedics are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4807. For more information please visit: www.4807.cupe.ca

18. Why does it sometimes take so long for an ambulance for transfers in-between health care facilities?

Non-emergency transfers, usually in between health facilities for patients requiring assessment or treatment, are the lowest priority for EMS ambulances. Unfortunately, these calls sometimes wait while paramedics are busy responding to 911 emergencies. Since the same paramedics respond to both types of calls, the emergencies take priority over non-emergencies, or routine calls.

19. Who operates the air ambulance / helicopter in northern Ontario?

In Ontario, there is a provincial air ambulance service – Ornge. For more information, please visit: www.ornge.ca