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Oxford County celebrates Paramedic Services Week

Updated: May 31



By Lee Griffi

Paramedics in Oxford are joining other services during this year’s Paramedic Services Week to highlight this year’s theme of “Help Us, Help You,” emphasizing the many ways paramedic services help in our community.

The week runs from May 19-25 and is billed as the perfect time to recognize and celebrate the skilled paramedic professionals locally and across the globe.

Oxford County Paramedic Services provides emergency care for the critically ill and injured and plays a proactive role in the greater health system through community paramedicine. Last year, paramedic services responded to more than 19,000 paramedic calls in Oxford and made over 4,000 community paramedicine visits to vulnerable, marginalized or homebound residents.

Oxford County Paramedic Services operations commander Joe Vandermeer said the week provides a forum to get some important messages out to the public.

“You can look at that from so many different viewpoints. I think it’s a good opportunity for us to reach out to the community and let them know some ways they can help us help them. We have a campaign happening this year to make sure your 911 or house numbers are visible. It is also a big help to unlock the door, lock up pets and have your health card and medications available.”

There have been immense changes to the scope of practice and utilization of paramedics in the last few years. They played key roles during the pandemic to support other health-care sectors such as hospitals and long-term-care programs. Vandermeer said many exciting things are happening.

“The recent addition of community paramedicine to pretty much all of the paramedic services in Ontario has been great. A lot of services, including ours, have taken an active role in providing immunizations. Many changes are happening in terms of areas where we can be utilized.”

Vandermeer added paramedics have proven to be adaptable and nimble to be able to address any changes or needs in the health-care system.

“We are unique in the sense we are mobile. We never work in one place, which is dynamic and different than any other health-care agency. We go to where the trouble is, we go to where we are needed to help. It is unique and gives us a platform to be able to positively affect change in the sector.”

Through the paramedic union, Local 114, the service was able to produce informative videos this week to highlight key messages and give people a glimpse into their daily work lives. Vandermeer said it’s a unique look into what they do daily.

“We engaged a few of our paramedics. It was completely led by them, filmed and edited. They worked closely with the (county) communications department to make sure we had great content, but it was all about this year’s theme to create that community engagement.”

Follow Oxford County Paramedic Services Local 114 on Instagram at @oxfordparamedics114.

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