Your child is choking on a piece of meat. Someone just collapsed. A loved one has fallen and is in such pain that you suspect a broken leg.
We’ve all been trained since childhood to call 911 if something really bad happens and we need urgent help. If you live in Headingley, do you know who it is that comes to your rescue?
Since I was a little confused about emergency services work in our rural setting, I consulted Glenn Reimer, co-ordinator of the Headingley First Responders, to find out.
Reimer has been involved with the program since its inception in 1994. The Medical First Responders (MFR) have 160 hours of training and skills practice every three years.
Reimer explains that "the province allows you to retain your license in one of two ways. Every three years you can write a challenge exam and perform the required skills.
"An alternate route to maintaining your license is to complete the required hours of training and skills practice in ongoing sessions. We meet every second Wednesday to train and complete the modules."
Examples of the required skills learned, practised and updated are cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR); defibrillation; airway management; oxygen therapy; dealing with emergencies involving bleeding; head and spinal injuries; diabetic emergencies; child birth; immobilization of patients for transport to hospital, and many others.
We are blessed in Headingley to have a very dedicated, very capable team of
responders who are on call all the time. If you work in Headingley at another job and are an active MFR, you wear your pager all the time.
"Your pager becomes part of you. When you’re on holidays and it’s not there, it seems strange," reflects Reimer.
The Headingley team has been together for quite some time.
"Everyone gets along really well," Reimer says. "There are nice working relationships and teamwork."
The calls show no patterns, Reimer says. There isn’t a time of year that is naturally busier.
"Some months there are no calls, some months you can get called three or four times a day," Reimer says.
Asked why he does it, Reimer says "I’ve always thought of it as a privilege to help people in times of need. It’s important."
After a particularly long and difficult winter for everyone, it’s timely to thank our dedicated Headingley team of MFRs who help keep us safe: Claudette Ammeter, Gail Coady, Rich Juchnowski, Joe Lima, Tom Major, Corey Paziuk, Glenn Reimer, Joanne Reimer, Tim Turner and Tracey Unrau.
We are lucky to have you as our team!
Valerie Chatain-White is a community
correspondent for Headingley. You can contact her at email@example.com