Easing the burden for prairie paramedics

Hydraulic equipment boosts emergency medical services staff in Kerrobert

For these professionals, being a community caregiver has also required a big lift.

“I’ve been with emergency services since 1989. We’ve been providing services to our community for a long time, and so have our backs,” says Jo-Ann Dupuis, the emergency medical services co-ordinator in Kerrobert, SK. “We respond to about 200 calls a year, and we’re lifting and moving every one of them.

“You’re talking about a 130-pound stretcher, with a patient on top of that.”

Dupuis and her hard-working colleagues will soon have welcome relief. With financial support from Enbridge, Kerrobert EMS now has the wherewithal to order a hydraulic ambulance cot and stair chair unit, for moving patents up and down stairs and through tight spaces, as well as a defibrillator-cardiac monitor unit.

“This means everything to us. Equipment like this will keep me working,” says Dupuis. “The power-lift stretcher does most of the lifting for us. As for extrication, we do spend a lot of time getting people out of their homes, and the stair chair is just terrific—you secure the patient in the chair, engage the track, and it glides up or down a set of stairs with assistance from our EMS staff.

“And the LIFEPAK 15 is the best part of all,” she adds. “We don’t just transport patients. With the technology it contains, we can transmit an electrocardiogram using Bluetooth technology to the local physician—all while the patient is in transit.

“The LIFEPAK 15 unit can monitor heart rhythms, allow us to acquire a 12-lead ECG, and be used as a defibrillator. It’s the best of all worlds.”

The equipment was recently facilitated through a $68,000 Enbridge donation to Kerrobert EMS from our Safe Community program, as well as a one-time donation from Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Program.

Safe Community awards grants to local first-response emergency services, including firefighters, rescue services, and EMS, for purchase of safety equipment, professional training, or education. Since 2002, the program has invested nearly $8.5 million in emergency responder organizations near our pipelines and facilities.

The Line 3 Replacement Program, the largest project in Enbridge history, is investing in communities affected by the proposed replacement of Line 3 from Hardisty, AB, to Superior, WI.

“Working on the front lines of emergency medicine is truly a calling, not a job. It takes incredible dedication and dignity,” says Lorna St. Thomas, Enbridge’s manager of community partnerships. “We’re proud to supply the equipment that makes life a little easier for these community caregivers.”