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Lynn Klein’s History Corner … “Hurricane Hazel , October 16th 1954 by Bruce Newton”

This year marks the 60th Anniversary of the Hurricane Hazel Disaster in Toronto , October 16, 1954

other communities

 

On the evening of October 15, 1954 the “Paramedics” and “Emergency Medical Dispatchers”  of that era in the Toronto region coming on duty for their shift anticipated it would be business as usual, responding to calls in their area , only having to put up with heavier than normal rainfall.  Most people carried on as usual in their business as they headed home and tried to stay dry.

As the evening moved on, the ambulance services began receiving an alarming increase in storm related calls.

Little did our colleagues of that era realize, they were to witness and actively take part in the worst natural disaster to hit the Toronto area in over a hundred years. By the time the storm had passed, Hurricane Hazel would kill over a 1,000 people in North America and the Carribean,  with 81 of them in Southern Ontario.

 Many local ambulance personnel would risk their own lives to save others, and 5 Volunteer Firefighters from the Islington area of Etobicoke would loose their lives in the Humber Valley.

 

displacement of 3000 people

To learn more about Hurricane Hazel and its effect on Toronto please see the Attached PDF: Huricane Hazel Final 2014 that details the response of your colleagues of that era 60 years ago.

 

Bruce Newton

Superintendent, Operations

Toronto Paramedic Services

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Gabriola Islander completes ambulance training thanks to HeartSafe EMR scholarship for gulf islanders

Gabriola Island could have one more local islander working on the ambulance staff, thanks to an EMR scholarship offered through Victoria-based HeartSafe EMS (Emergency Medical Solutions).

Derek Kilbourn of Gabriola Island was one of the first to be awarded the scholarship, starting his training process with HeartSafe in January of 2014.

The company started a program in 2013 to offer one scholarship per gulf island in an effort to boost Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) hires on the islands and to get word out about the training programs it offers.

Kilbourn said, “I’ve had an interest in joining the on-call ambulance staff on Gabriola for some time.”

“But like any small business owner, I was always in the position of either not having the time or the extra cash to be able to get the training done.

“Getting this scholarship from HeartSafe solved half of that equation; working with HeartSafe to schedule my training for January [a quiet time of year on the island] helped with the other half.”

Kilbourn has completed his training and has also gone through the BC Government licensing exams to be able to work as an EMR if hired by the BC Ambulance Service. He is currently going through the BCAS hiring process.

Paul Stone, owner of HeartSafe, said the program was one he and his staff thought important to provide.

“These islands typically have trouble keeping their ambulances staffed, some islands more than others.

“We wanted candidates who would continue to work on their particular island and weren’t looking for full-time ambulance work down the road.”

The EMR course offered by HeartSafe is a “bridge” course, with the first two weeks being an Occupational First Aid (OFA) Level III course, followed by a third week upgrading the training to a fully-endorsed Emergency Medical Responder (EMR).

Exams are held after the OFA and EMR training sessions, leaving the scholarship recipient with a valid OFA Level III ticket and an EMR certificate at the end of three weeks, assuming the recipient passes all the HeartSafe exams.

EMR is the first of four levels of training for ambulance staff. The other three, all of which require much more training time, are Primary Care Paramedic, Advanced Care Paramedic and Critical Care Paramedic.

Kilbourn said, “The training staff and sessions were excellent.

 

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“Trainers Russell and Jeremy were able to get the material across to us. They were very good at stressing the seriousness of anything we’d be doing when working as EMRs. But they were also good at keeping things humorous so we didn’t get overburdened with the weight of the material.”

“The Heartsafe Exams were also really good for getting us ready for stress of taking the EMA Licensing exams. Heather and Jeremy from Heartsafe are solid examiners. Heather’s really tough, you can’t get anything past her. But they were both very fair. They want to make sure their students know the material. There’s still a lot of on the job experience I’m going to need, but I really felt like Heartsafe gave me a solid background to work from. Including all the EMR endorsements as part of the training was also helpful. It was great to be able to check ‘yes’ on all the EMR endorsements on my initial EMA license application.”

The terms of the scholarship require that recipients go through the licensing process with the BC Government and be hired by the BC Ambulance Service for work on their home island for a minimum of two years.

Each recipient needs to be endorsed as a valid candidate by a local health care society (in Gabriola’s case, the Gabriola Health Care Foundation), who are then responsible for ensuring the recipients fulfill the terms of the scholarship.

HeartSafe offers one scholarship per year for one student from each island to enroll free of cost into the OFA 3/ EMR program in Victoria.

The scholarship does not include travel or living expenses.

For more information on HeartSafe and the programs it offers, visit www.firstaidforbc.com.

 

 

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Lynn Klein’s History Corner: A Brief History on Shoulder Crests Worn by Senior Officers, Fleet Operations & Telecommunications

BCAS_Historian

Late 1980’s:

This is when the process of  designing crest insignia for senior offices began. Several elements in the design by the BCAS executive had to be considered. The BCAS executive did not want the crest to look like the crests of the field personnel. The two reasons for thinking were one, they did not want to be mistaken as a licensed paramedic, and two they wanted the senior staff cresting to be different so they would be identified as senior staff.

Because all members wore white shirts the different crest was to show  clear separation in uniform insignia between the management and union ranks.  As noted several incarnations were designed, until the current crest was chosen. The first four crests were all worn for a brief period of time between late 1988/1989. The small rocker crest was worn for such a brief period that virtually no senior staff member kept these. The one depicted here is very rare, and was donated to the archives in April of 2012, by Mr. Ralph Jones, BCAS Director of logistics and special services.

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 All these crests were produced by LOGOTEX manufacturing Ltd of Vancouver BC. This company had a master standing order (MSO) to produce all government embroidered items. All the crests were designed by the BCAS Public Relations office.

 

1988:

This crest (below) was finally the design shape that had been decided upon to reflect the general shape of the field crest. However the light blue text did not show up well. This crest was produced as a prototype only.

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1989: 

The crest (below) for Fleet  Management was the idea of the Director of  Fleet operations, Jim Fissel. The Telecommunications crest was developed by the late John Tones. The crests are the same shape as the field and management crests. However, as to not be confused with the paramedic crest or senior officers crest the gold thread was used for the text. 

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1990: 

The next crest was finally decided upon as the crest that was to be worn by senior officers. This crest, and all subsequent crests were produced LOGOTEX manufacturing Ltd of Vancouver BC. Around 1994 all cresting and embroidery work was done B&S emblems of Aurora, Ontario. Since 1996, Grant Emblems of Etobicoke, Ontario has produced all BCAS cresting for shoulder flashes. 

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2008:

The full metallic gold braid crest was created, and is worn on the dress tunic of senior officers. 

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-Lynn Klein

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In Our Community

HeartSafe_Times_Colonist_CPR_SIlverthreads

Recently we have noticed that there is a demand within our community by not for profit groups, community centers and volunteer services, that don’t necessarily have the funding needed to schedule first aid seminars or workshops for their team members. In order to step up within our community we have decided to offer Free 2 -3 hour First Aid & CPR Workshops for volunteers, elderly etc.

We have just finished wrapping up a CPR workshop for Silver Threads on Douglas which had over 30 seniors participating and have just scheduled another session for the overflow of registrants coming up in November 2013. We will also be working with Saanich Volunteer Services Society this October!  This is something that is new and exciting for HeartSafe and we hope to spread the word to other groups in our community that may be needing first aid training! 

In addition to our work with volunteers and not for profits we also wanted to branch out our services to the Gulf Islands to help specifically tackle the issue of the islands having a shortage of Ambulance and Emergency workers. This is where the HeartSafe EMR Scholarship comes into play!

HeartSafe_Times_Colonist

Paul Stone, long time (36 years) Paramedic with BCAS and HeartSafe EMS First Aid training’s owner recognizes that the Gulf Islands along with many other rural communities in BC sometimes have a major issue / problem staffing the Ambulance (or community Ambulance) for local responses. We have had major successes in training students to become Paramedics and we want to help the smaller communities by offering this solution:

 We are prepared to offer per year for one student from each island to enroll free of cost into our OFA 3/ EMR program here in Victoria. The applicants that are chosen will attend and successfully complete our EMR program, EMA Licensing exams and then apply to work within their community. We think this will be a good start to helping resolve the shortage in our rural communities.

This has been a great year so far and we look forward to our upcoming events within the community:

October 2013: We will be working with RDA – Rapid Damage Assessment & LUSAR – Light Urban Search and Rescue, providng equipment and warm bodies to help as they practice their yearly Earthquake Drills.

October 2013: Providing a free CPR workshop for Saanich Volunteer Services Society who work with the elderly within Saanich and surrounding areas.

November 2013: Our second workshop for Silver Threads on Douglas will take place, 2-3hr. CPR workshop and tips on how to help if you arent physically able to perform CPR.

 

 

 

 

 

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The British Columbia Ambulance Service, how did we get to where we are?

BCAS_Historian

 

The rational for the creation of the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) was to end the patchwork and duplication of the many agencies that were providing some kind of ambulance service to the people of B.C.  Prior to the creation of the BCAS numerous briefs and submissions were made to all levels of governments in an attempt to convince political leaders that a better system of emergency medical care to the ill and injured must be sought.

 These attempts fell on deaf ears, and little was done to improve the situation.  Some large municipalities had reasonably good and well-run services, and others could only provide   a basic level of care. Most communities were served by volunteers with little access to financial resources, proper equipment and advanced training.  In many remote or small towns no type of ambulance service was available.

 It was not until 1972 when a new provincial government called the New Democratic Party (NDP) swept into power that the pleas by so many were finally heard, and acknowledged.

 This was a government with a very ambitious agenda to dramatically overhaul the present social and health system operating in the province. The NDP was lead by a fiery and quick-witted Premier named David Barrett.  Successive and different provincial governments have come and gone, but they have all endorsed, and supported the concept of an integrated ambulance system void of any jurisdictional restrictions, or parochial ideology.

 The fist step to create this new provincial entity was to draft legislation that laid the cornerstone to build the system. The legislation that was introduced was Bill 93 The Emergency Health Services Act. The Bill became law on May 30, 1974. Under this act independent governance board was created called the Emergency Health Services Commission. This was, and still is, the guiding authority for the BCAS. The name changed in 2013 to the British Columbia Emergency Health Service or BCEHS.  The B.C. Ambulance Service began operating on July1, 1974. Over the years major advances in the system have been made. The BCAS is constantly upgrading and improving the system.  More improvements are planned in the area of technology and patient treatments over the next few years. As of April 1, 2011 the BCEHS became an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).  This organization is focused on the advancement of many aspects of high quality healthcare for British Columbians, and under this authority BCAS will continue to develop and improve. The BCAS move patients by land air and water and is the only public ambulance provider in the province. The service works closely with their colleagues of other emergency services such police and fire departments.

 The challenges are many in operating Canada largest EMS system. B.C. is a province that has a very diverse type of topography, with vast distances to travel, and a relatively small demographic. However, the value of this no-boundary system has been demonstrated time and time again. When only one coordinated delivery model is put to the test of responding to a major incident the amount of resources that can be assembled with all in the same uniform, all with the same colour units, and with the same medical focus is brought to bear, the patient becomes the benefactor. All this is in keeping with the official motto of the BCAS.

 

ONE TEAM-ONE GOAL WORKING TOGETHER FOR LIFE

-Lynn Klein

BC Ambulance Historian

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Marine Medics of the Gulf Islands

BCAS_Historian

MARINE AMBULANCE VESSEL AT HOME IN CANOE COVE

One Team—One Goal Working Together For Life

Ashley_Water_ambulance

Did you know?

 Canoe Cove Restaurant is a way station for paramedics and crew involved in British Columbia’s only dedicated ocean going ambulance vessel.  The 28 foot high speed craft commenced operations from the Cove in January 2010.  Since then she has performed over 500 medevac runs.

The 28 foot Argo aluminum ambulance boat, ASHLEY, carries two paramedics and a captain.  Twin Volvo 210 HP diesel engines give her a top speed of 35 knots. “We cover the Southern Gulf Islands,” said skipper Sarah Powell, one of four certified captains licensed to operate the boat.  “Mostly we’re dispatched to Pender Island, Galliano Island, Mayne Island and Saturna, and sometimes, Saltspring Island.  We’re on call 24 hours a day and have to be at the boat within fifteen minutes notice.

Gulf Islands Water Taxi in Ganges, Saltspring Island, owns the ASHLEY.  Victoria resident Jack Hughes has owned and operated the firm for the past 35 years.  For many years his water taxi, GANGES HAWK, acted as a part time medevac boat for the B.C. Ambulance Service, amongst her other duties.

“In 35 years of operation we’ve enjoyed a perfect safety record,” said Hughes recently.”

The ASHLEY has been fitted out with the same equipment as a land based ambulance, including stretcher rack, spine boards, oxygen, and Entonox gas for pain relief.  In the most critical cases a medevac helicopter will be dispatched and in extreme weather the Canadian Coast Guard provides the ultimate backup to both ASHLEY and B.C. Ambulance Service helicopters.

 

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Lynn Klein’s History Corner … “Oliver”

coat_of_arms_Oliver_BC

 

Oliver not Jamie, but the town of Oliver, is located in the beautiful Southern end of the Okanagan Valley of B.C. This community of just over 4000 residents is often the hottest part of Canada on summer days.  The town was named after “Honest” John Oliver who was the 19th Premier of B.C. from 1918 to 1927. The town was established in 1918 as a settlement for veterans of the First World War. The Coat of Arms for the town has a very interesting history, and is worth looking up on google.  The Chief Herald of Canada granted Oliver its coat of arms and flag in 1994. “They are a unique expression of the Town of Oliver’s natural and historic heritage.”

Oliver is also the home of where Bill Leveret began his ambulance career in 1979. Bill is a 34-year veteran of the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS) and is presently a Paramedic Duty Supervisor (DS) in Victoria B.C. When not on duty as a DS or an active ALS paramedic he is very active in restoring one of his two vintage ambulances. It is one of these fine old vehicles that bring us back to Oliver.

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Bill purchased the 1953 Pontiac Ambulance in 2002 and is in the process of restoring this vehicle that served the people of this community for many years.  While Bill never had a chance to work in this ambulance as it was removed from service in 1974, he clearly remembers this ambulance on runs in and around the town. It is folks like Bill who have dedicated much time and financial resources to keep the history of early ambulance service in B.C. alive. An early custom-made ambulance was not simply another vehicle. Several very talented fabricators, mostly in the US, manufactured these vehicles.  Coach builders with names like Hess and Eisenhardt, Miller Meteor, Superior Motor Coach and others manufactured many of the early ambulances. Or what is commonly known to day as professional cars.

 

In an interview with Bill he tells a bit about his Oliver Pontiac Ambulance project:

 The ambulance is actually a combination vehicle in that it also had the necessary mounting hardware to carry a casket. The ambulance was built by the Guy Barnnette Company of Memphis Tennessee. This small conversion company built ambulances, hearse, combinations and flower cars on Chevrolet and Pontiac chassis’ from 1949 to 1955.

The ambulance originally saw service in Penticton from 1953 to 1963. It is believed to have been bought by the Penticton Funeral Home and used as a local ambulance. It was fully painted in ambulance ID and had the emergency lights and sirens permanently mounted. The casket hardware was include most likely to allow the company to carry a casket if required but not for a funeral service. Most “combinations” saw double duty as both a hearse and an ambulance. The Penticton Funeral Home was large enough to allow for the purchase of both duty-specific types of vehicles.

Don Becker, of the Four Star Taxi Company of Oliver in 1963, bought the vehicle. Four Star Taxi had the contract to run the local ambulance service for the area and received a small subsidy from the town and also direct billed anyone using the service.

 

Bill provided some photos of the old girl when he assumed the vehicle. As one can see it takes a lot of dedication to restore the old vehicles, but Bill enjoys the challenge of keeping our history alive.

penticton_ambulance2 penticton_ambulance1

 

Thanks Bill!!

 

– Lynn Klein

 Lynn_Klein

Author’s Bio:

Lynn began his career in EMS in 1966, working in the Alberta “oil patch”. In 1967 he accepted a position with Starr’s Ambulance Service in Calgary. (Not to be confused with the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (S.T.A.R.S.) that presently operates. His career would see him work for two other services in Calgary – Universal Ambulance and Aaron Ambulance.

In early 1970 Lynn moved to Victoria BC and continued his career with another private ambulance service, called Garden City Ambulance.  In 1973 Lynn, along with a fellow ambulance colleague Larry Tuttle, would be hired as a consultant to co-author a report on ambulance services for Dr. Richard Foulks Health Security Programme Project. The report entitled “Twice and Orphan” would be a companion piece to Dr. Peter Ransford’s working papers XXX1X. This extensive document would set the stage for Canada’s first, and only provincial owned, and operated ambulance service.

In July of 1974 Lynn was hired by the Emergency Health Service Commission (EHSC) British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), where he remained for a 38 years.. Lynn served in the capacity as a field paramedic, Superintendent of media and public relations, and finished his time with the service, in the Vancouver Island Communications Centre as one of the Communications Officers (EMD).

Lynn has presented at local, national, and international EMS conferences, and written many articles on EMS topics. Lynn retired from the BCAS in January 15, 2012 and now serves as the historian of the BCAS. Lynn is a recipient of the national EMS Exemplary Service Medal with a 30 and 40-year recognition bar.

Lynn lives in Victoria with his wife Sharon. Lynn has a family of five grown children, nine grandchildren and one great grandson. Lynn is presently writing a book on the history of the BC Ambulance Services.

 

 

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Lynn Klein’s History Corner …”The Thumper”

In the mid 1960’s the Heart Lung Resuscitator (HLR) was introduced to many North American ambulance services. This piece of equipment ran on 50 or 90 PSI of an O2 tank. The machine was said to dramatically improve the person’s chance of survival in a cardiac arrest. Well that was the sales pitch in the brochure.

The_Thumper_Brochure

In the 60’s and opportunity to have a piece of equipment that your competitor did not increased the chance of finding more people who would call your service. Of course there were ambulance operators who truly wanted to improve patient care and increase a person’s chance of survival. In 1967 this piece of equipment was in excess of $1500.00, so this was a big chunk of change to a small operator, and hence not that many services acquired this machine. One service in Calgary, Alberta called Universal Ambulance Service bought a couple of these units. The largest private ambulance service west of Toronto was Metropolitan Ambulance Service of Vancouver B.C.  The company was very progressive in training, and passionate about improving patient care, so they invested in this new technology.

The concept was good, but the unfortunate design flaws did not allow the machine to function in a manner that really gave a patient more chance to survive than CPR.  It did look very impressive when dragged onto a scene. It whizzed, it banged, it blew and it looked very futuristic, and very technical.  Like many good ideas in the early days of EMS, the machine was introduced without much research. The following commentary on this device, and the E&J Resuscitator was part of a presentation at an EMS Expo Conference. The presentation was by Michael (Mike) Smith BSc, MICP. Mike has been the lead instructor for the Paramedic Program at Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, Washington for twenty years. Mike is one of the most sought after speakers at local, national and international EMS conferences. Mike has been in the EMS profession for over 30 years.

With no real control over the development and implementation of equipment, we embarked on a trial and error process to expand the contents of our toolbox. One of those tools was the E&J Resuscitator—literally a hard shell suitcase with about fifty pounds of ventilator inside that you unceremoniously humped on to your patient. Once applied, it over ventilated patients almost instantly—to the point of inflating the stomach—resulting in the patient vomiting, which the E&J then blew down into the patient’s lungs. As an old-dog physician once told me, ‘For patients who were going to die from a cardiac problem anyway, the E&J Resuscitator shortened the period of suffering, bringing about the patient’s demise quickly’.

Another loser was the HLR, or the heart and lung resuscitator. A plastic wedge was placed under a cardiac arrest victim and strapped over their shoulders, fixing the straps onto little pegs. When it was turned on, the first two or three compression’s blew out the costochondral cartilage and then the HLR really got going. If you weren’t smart enough to stop and re tighten the straps securing the device, the HLR would bounce around and pretty much loose all intended effectiveness.

The Author:

 Lynn_Klein

Author’s Bio:

Lynn began his career in EMS in 1966, working in the Alberta “oil patch”. In 1967 he accepted a position with Starr’s Ambulance Service in Calgary. (Not to be confused with the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (S.T.A.R.S.) that presently operates. His career would see him work for two other services in Calgary – Universal Ambulance and Aaron Ambulance.

In early 1970 Lynn moved to Victoria BC and continued his career with another private ambulance service, called Garden City Ambulance.  In 1973 Lynn, along with a fellow ambulance colleague Larry Tuttle, would be hired as a consultant to co-author a report on ambulance services for Dr. Richard Foulks Health Security Programme Project. The report entitled “Twice and Orphan” would be a companion piece to Dr. Peter Ransford’s working papers XXX1X. This extensive document would set the stage for Canada’s first, and only provincial owned, and operated ambulance service.

In July of 1974 Lynn was hired by the Emergency Health Service Commission (EHSC) British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), where he remained for a 38 years.. Lynn served in the capacity as a field paramedic, Superintendent of media and public relations, and finished his time with the service, in the Vancouver Island Communications Centre as one of the Communications Officers (EMD).

Lynn has presented at local, national, and international EMS conferences, and written many articles on EMS topics. Lynn retired from the BCAS in January 15, 2012 and now serves as the historian of the BCAS. Lynn is a recipient of the national EMS Exemplary Service Medal with a 30 and 40-year recognition bar.

Lynn lives in Victoria with his wife Sharon. Lynn has a family of five grown children, nine grandchildren and one great grandson. Lynn is presently writing a book on the history of the BC Ambulance Services.

 

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