What Paramedic Changes are Happening in Caledon?

Starting in January 2019, the paramedics serving Caledon will start and end their shifts at a large reporting station in Brampton (at Bovaird and Dixie) rather than at a small non-divisional station in Caledon. For some, this means they may need to drive further to work. For others, they may live closer to their new start location.

Why is this change happening?

This change is one of the final steps in the full implementation of our new operational model. The new approach was endorsed by Regional Council in 2007 to improve response times to emergency calls and optimize costs for taxpayers. Savings are realized because of centralized vehicle cleaning, restocking and maintenance, and medical inventory storage. The 24 paramedics serving Caledon are among the last of our almost 600-paramedic workforce to shift to the new model.

Will fewer paramedics and ambulances serve Caledon in the new system?

No. The same number of paramedics and ambulances will be assigned to serve Caledon each day as are assigned today.

Will paramedics respond to Caledon 911 calls from the Brampton station?

No. Paramedics will be in Caledon when the calls come in because they will be assigned there once they start their shifts. They only start and end their shifts in Brampton. Once assigned, they will drive to their geographic zone. They may go directly to a smaller station in Bolton, Caledon East, Valleywood or Caledon Village to wait for calls, or they may remain mobile in their zone.

Is your centralized restocking process reliable?

Yes, and it is continuously evaluated for improvements. Logistics Technicians at our reporting stations follow a standardized process to make sure every ambulance and paramedic bag is filled with the appropriate supplies. If errors or omissions happen, the process is reviewed and revised immediately. This helps prevent human errors that could occur in stand-alone sites where standardization is harder. There are no medical supplies stored in satellite stations.

Will there be a gap in ambulance coverage at the beginning of each shift? It's a long drive from Brampton to north Caledon?

Absolutely not. We already start shifts at staggered times throughout the day to prevent gaps in ambulance coverage. In the new model, Caledon will be prioritized over other areas. For example, the first two ambulances that start at 5:30 a.m. every day in Brampton will be assigned to Caledon. They will head north to replace the ambulances in Caledon that will be coming off shift later that morning. Another ambulance will be sent to Caledon if one of these first two ambulances responds to a 911 call before they get to their assigned zone. This staggered start approach will happen again with the night shift.

What is the definition of response time for emergency calls? What are your targets?

Response time is measured from the time the paramedics get the call from the Provincial Dispatch Centre (CACC) to the time they arrive on scene. Response times are set for all of Peel and approved by Regional Council on an annual basis. Our historic response time rates can be found here (please select Peel from the list marked UTM/DDA/FA). Current targets (2017 and Jan-May 2018) can be accessed here (page 287 of the PDF).

What is your deployment plan?

Our deployment plan is a mathematical model that predicts where and when 911 calls are most likely to occur across Peel (Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga). It factors in time of day, population/location, historical call volumes and types, and our Council-approved response time framework. Our plan is used by the Provincial Dispatch Centre (CACC) to optimally place ambulances where calls are likely to come in and backfill zones when ambulances respond to 911 calls.

Why isn't there a large reporting station in Caledon, just like in Brampton?

Caledon may be large in geography, but right now, call demand doesn't support a large reporting station. That may change in the future if call demand increases significantly.

Why build smaller stations in Caledon if they are always empty?

Our stations in Bolton, Caledon East, Valleywood and Caledon Village are an important part of our system. These stations are places where paramedics can complete their paperwork or take a much-needed break. Paramedic services are fluid, so they often move around the community or geographic zone where they are assigned. That's why the stations may be empty at the time you drive by. At other times, you may see an ambulance parked inside.

Why do paramedics from neighbouring areas respond to some calls instead of Peel Paramedics?

The closest ambulance will respond to your emergency. Across Ontario, paramedic services work together to provide a seamless system to protect citizens. We often travel into York, Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton and Toronto to help save lives. Those paramedic services do the same for us.

Are our neighbours left without an ambulance if they respond to a call in Caledon?

No. Paramedic services are the only emergency service in Ontario designed to eliminate gaps in coverage. For example, a Dufferin ambulance from Orangeville may go to a call in north Caledon. Provincial Dispatch makes sure that neighbouring ambulances from Simcoe, Dufferin, Wellington and Peel are moved to provide seamless coverage for Orangeville. The same type of shifting of ambulances happens if a Peel ambulance responds to a call in Erin or Woodbridge.

Why do Fire or Police arrive before paramedics?

Minutes matter when you are in cardiac arrest or suffering a life-threatening illness. So, it doesn't matter who starts CPR or first aid, or follows instructions on an defibrillator. It's just important that it gets started fast! To make sure that happens, we have a signed agreement with all local Fire Services to respond to calls for life-threatening illnesses and provide first aid, use a defibrillator or administer Naloxone. Peel Paramedics will always take over medical care from Fire, Police and trained bystanders once they arrive and transport the patient to hospital, if needed.

Isn't it better to have paramedics who know Caledon roads than someone from the city?

It is impossible for every paramedic to know every road in every city or town, even if they live there. That's why paramedics across Peel rely on information from their dispatcher and navigational technology to get to locations. During a 911 call, it's important to give the street address and the closest crossroad/intersection to help the dispatcher guide the paramedics in.

Have you factored bad weather and rural driving into your plan?

Yes. The 90-minute shift overlap is more than double the amount of time allocated for staff briefing and travel time, even to the furthest Caledon post (Bolton). For example, we allocate 17 minutes at the start of shift for morning/afternoon briefing and readiness before paramedics are deployed for coverage. The Bolton satellite station is approximately 26 minutes from Fernforest Reporting Station.

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