CityNews Article

Paramedics experience quieter May long weekend as more British Columbians appear to adhere to restrictions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The May long weekend is widely accepted as the unofficial start of summer, and for paramedics, typically that comes with an uptick in calls.

But Troy Clifford with the Ambulance Paramedics and Dispatchers of BC, says this weekend has been quieter, and he hopes this means people are sticking to the province’s circuit breaker COVID protocols.

“May long weekend tends to be that opening up of summer. And with that, usually lots of recreational and all those associated calls we get with that,” Clifford says. “I’m talking to paramedics and definitely [crews are] experiencing less this weekend. So that’s hopefully an indication that people are adhering to the guideline.”

Clifford says the year and a half into the pandemic, along with a relentless opioid crisis, has been hard on first responders. And unfortunately, they continue to see a high call volume.

“[COVID] definitely caused impacts for fatigue and stress and workload issues. For paramedics and dispatchers … “COVID challenged us all, I think, in this society, and hopefully after this weekend, we’ll see more hope on the horizon. I’m optimistic about that. And I know paramedics are.”

Clifford added that this week marks Paramedic Services Week, so he’s encouraging British Columbians to give a wave or take a moment to thank a paramedic when you see one — especially as many are struggling to balance two public health emergencies.

“We know it’s a tough and mentally challenging physical job. And when you add the other enhanced components … it’s really definitely affecting the wellness and, and the mental health injuries for paramedics.”