Bruce Krauter

Essex-Windsor EMS recognizing Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Essex-Windsor EMS is doing its part to help people during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

As part of its support, Essex-Windsor EMS is flying yellow and purple flags outside its bases this September in recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said they are a strong supporter of this awareness campaign being spearheaded by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-Essex County Branch, in partnership with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit. He noted they are flying the flags at all EMS stations and have been active in the campaign for the last three years.

“We are a strong supporter of suicide prevention,” said Krauter.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadians under 25. In 2011, more than 40 residents from Windsor and Essex County died by suicide and there was a nine-year high for self-harm emergency department visits in 2015, according to the CMHA.

“Suicide isn’t the answer,” said Krauter.

Essex-Windsor EMS is flying flags for Suicide Prevention Awareness Month at all of its bases during the month of September (County of Essex photo)

Krauter noted that it is hard on first responders to go out on such calls and that even EMS members can suffer from mental health problems.

“As is the case with any first responder, we’re human too,” he said. “They may be suffering too.”

The key message of this year’s campaign is “You Are Not Alone” and the CMHA stresses that connecting and openly communicating with those who have had suicidal thoughts or those who have lost loved ones to suicide “is essential in the effort towards suicide prevention.”

Krauter said people are encouraged to reach out and talk if they are going through any difficulties. He said Essex-Windsor EMS has methods in place to support each other.

“We have an active peer support system within Essex-Windsor EMS,” said Krauter.

The County of Essex alerts people that there are events happening as part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, including an event this Sunday at 9 a.m. at the St. Clair College Sportsplex. There is a 5km or 2km Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk. For more information on seminars and events, check out the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month calendar on the CMHA’s website, found at https://windsoressex.cmha.ca.

There is help available 24-hours a day and there are caring professionals ready to listen. The Community Crisis Centre (Ages 16+) has a 24-Hour Crisis Line that can be reached by calling 519-973-4435 with the Windsor Distress Centre (all ages) being available noon to midnight by calling 519-256-5000.

“It’s OK to ask for help and it’s OK to get help,” said Krauter.

Villanova social justice students donate “comfort dogs” to EMS

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A group of St. Thomas of Villanova students have stepped up to assist children in times of emergencies.

Two Grade 12 social justice classes from the Catholic secondary school donated 101 plush St. Bernard dogs to Essex-Windsor EMS last Wednesday afternoon. Teacher Jolene Coste said there was a “dress down” day in the school that raised approximately $1,200 and that allowed for the purchase of the stuffed animals.

“I’ve been doing it for the last couple of years with emergency services,” Coste said of the project.

Two social justice classes from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School stand with Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter after the school donated 101 “comfort dogs” to EMS.

This was the first year the Essex-Windsor EMS received the stuffed dogs, with Coste stating the classes believed they would be a good organization to donate to. Emergency services in LaSalle and Windsor have received donations in previous years.

“It’s about giving back to the community,” she said.

Bruce Krauter, chief of Essex-Windsor EMS, said such a donation is very important to someone who is in need. It means a lot to the children and parents, he said.

Krauter praised the Villanova students, stating it shows they are both caring and community leaders for undertaking such a project.

Staff from Essex-Windsor EMS will give out the stuffed “comfort dogs” to children who have been in an accident or are in another crisis situation.

County approves new medical tiered response program

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County council has amended the Essex Windsor EMS and Fire Services Medical Tiered Response Agreement (MTRA) and it appears that it will benefit local fire departments.

One of these is the Amherstburg fire department, with town council taking credit for pressing the issue with the county.

According to a report from Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter that went before county council earlier this month, Essex-Windsor EMS as well as the county and Windsor fire services “have a long-standing agreement in which the fire services are notified, or otherwise known as tiered, for medical responses. The agreements are provided to the Central Ambulance Communication Centre as a directive for communicators to follow when requesting assistance from fire services.”

Krauter noted in his report that the criteria of medical tiered response changed over a 24-year period among the various individual fire services until 2015.

“The variety of the criteria resulted in confusion of the communicators and responding paramedics alike, therefore in 2015 the Medical Tiered Response Agreement (MTRA) was unified and formalized across the city and county fire services,” Krauter stated in his report. “The unification created a consistent approach across all municipalities and fire services.”

Krauter also noted that the 2015 MTRA introduced “the unified medical direction, continued quality assurance and call auditing. This unification and consistent approach has improved patient care and is one of the leading factors in the increased sudden cardiac arrest survival rates, year over year.”

Krauter added: “Since the inception of the 2015 MTRA the EWEMS call volume has increased, on average, 6-8 per cent. As discussed in the 2018 budget deliberations, the increase in call volume has put pressure on not only EWEMS but also the local fire services, whom are participants in the MTRA.”

While local fire departments can still respond to Code 4 calls when EMS staff is depleted, they would not be dispatched to medical facilities where doctors and nurses are already on site.

As a general rule, fire departments should not be dispatched to doctor’s offices, dentists offices, Family Health Teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, hospitals, hospices or community health centres, Krauter’s reported added.

“This additional clause is expected to reduce the responses to those locations where a higher medical authority is on scene and able to provide a higher medical intervention before EMS arrival,” Krauter stated. “The amended Medical Tiered Response Agreement is expected to maintain the excellent services our fire services provide across the Essex-Windsor region while maintaining their local services in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner. The Essex Windsor EMS and Fire Services Medical Tiered Response Agreements are currently in the approval process in their respective municipalities. Once approved, they become part of the EWEMS deployment plan and are delivered to the Windsor Central Ambulance Communication Centre for implementation. It is the anticipated the MTRA can be delivered with in the next three to four weeks.”

The town has spent $70,000 over the last couple of years on medical calls with the new agreement calling for a reduction of almost half of that.

Councillor Rick Fryer said every municipality should be paying its fair share and the new agreement will allow for a more equitable distribution of costs.

“I know this was not well received at first and (the county) was not too impressed with our council but we did the job for our residents,” said Fryer.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the new agreement won’t address off-load delays at area hospitals, but will address many of the town’s concerns.

“It’s a good thing we brought it up and frankly, we got what we asked for,” he said.

Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone anticipated a favourable financial impact for the town and said it will lessen the impact on local ratepayers.

“Amherstburg led the way on this issue,” said Montone.

“Amherstburg led the way on this issue,” said Montone.

Twenty-two new recruits welcomed into Essex-Windsor EMS family

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex-Windsor EMS welcomed 22 new paramedics to their team and are set to welcome even more later in 2018.

A commencement ceremony took place last Friday afternoon at the Essex Civic Centre in which the new paramedics were officially welcomed into the fold. They were the first group of local paramedics to join Essex-Windsor EMS with 27 more expected to be hired in May.

“It’s one of the biggest recruitments Essex-Windsor EMS has ever done,” said Slawomir Pulcer, captain with Essex-Windsor EMS.

The new members of Essex-Windsor EMS gather for a group photo with senior members of the staff last Friday afternoon. A commencement ceremony was held celebrating the arrival of the 22 new recruits.

Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter said the new paramedics were chosen out of 342 applicants. He said the enhancements to the service are largely due to Essex County council, who provided the increase in the budget to allow for the new recruits to be hired. Krauter added he was pleased with how the process went with the new hires bringing the total number of Essex-Windsor EMS staff to over 320 people.

The new hires are expected to allow Essex-Windsor EMS to get more ambulances on the road and to allow existing staff to take time off when they need it. The 22 new paramedics will all be part-time to start, but they could work as much as 36 hours per week.

Once the next group is hired in May, Krauter said it will result in a larger group of new paramedics than usual.

“It’s over twice as much as we usually get,” he said.

Krauter added that “we are preparing for the future” as a number of paramedics are getting close to retirement. He told the new hires that the service is a “family” and that they are there to help each other.

Deputy Chief Ryan Lemay (left) and paramedic Dave Bart (right) place the epaulletes on the shoulders of new Essex-Windsor EMS paramedic Michael Awad during a ceremony held last Friday afternoon at the Essex Civic Centre. Twenty-one other new
paramedics were also welcomed.

“We work together and support each other through thick and thin,” said Krauter.

Rob Maisonville, CAO with the County of Essex, told the new hires they should be proud of themselves, adding they are now part of the County of Essex family.

New recruits include Mitchell Adam, Khaalid Ali, Michael Awad, Adam Bardgett, Patrick Biczysko, Bart Czerniawski, Jenna Diamante, Stephanie Dummer, Christopher Dziedzic, Justin Elwgren, Suhaib Hammoud, Veronica Jarvis, Dalton Kingston, Tiffany Koniecki, Mitchell LaDouceur, Kody Lauzon, Amanda McCarton, Jessica Robson, Caullin Rundle, Ray Serifi, Dino Souilliere and Meaghan Vieira.

Candidates were required to pass a written test, complete a comprehensive paramedic practical evaluation and be successful in a qualifying interview and physical fitness evaluation.

EWEMS to donate surplus ambulances to St. Clair College

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Essex County Council has made the decision to donate a total of four ambulances to St. Clair College over the next six years.

Essex-Windsor EMS chief Bruce Krauter said in 2017 they received a request from St. Clair College asking for a donation of an ambulance to use as a teaching tool. He noted to council St. Clair College has received a donation of a surplus ambulance back in 2009, which at the time was five years old and is still being used by the college today. They have also, in the past, donated ambulances to various other organizations locally as well as internationally to St. Clair College, St. John Ambulance, Town of LaSalle Police Service, Jamaica and Haiti.

“In the case of St. Clair College, it benefits our future paramedics that may come into our community to work,” said Krauter. “They are familiar with the vehicle that is used as a teaching tool, and they understand how it works. It’s also a benefit to St. Clair College through their automotive and power training program because they can use those ambulances and work on them to see what the technology is, which has changed dramatically since 2004.”

When they aren’t donating their surplus ambulances, they either trade them in or use a web based auction house and bring in about $3,000 to $6,500 per vehicle.

The revenue is funnelled back into the vehicle reserves for future purchases.

The recommendation Krauter brought forward to council suggested they extend the donation over two years by donating one ambulance in 2018 and one in 2019. He also proposed they make a donation of another ambulance in 2023 with another donation proposed for 2024 which will create a consistent plan for the EWEMS to plan for, and will also allow for St. Clair College to plan for future teaching tools they will need.

Krauter said it will lessen the impact on their reserves, while also allowing for systematic and coordinated rotation as well as allow for the college to forecast.

“With the donation request we did reach out to our vendor, Crestline Coach Limited and they have graciously accepted a request to provide an additional $3,250 towards the trade in value of the 2018 ambulance purchase,” said Kruater. “That will help offset any costs of the donation and still bring into reserves. With this is will provide assistance with the reserves for the County of Essex and Essex-Windsor EMS.”

The motion was passed by council.