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LONDON PROFESSIONAL PARAMEDIC ASSOCIATION

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What must I do to become a Paramedic in Ontario?

You must first complete a one year Paramedic course at a community college incorporating a high degree of training in subjects such as anatomy & physiology, emergency patient care, pathophysiology, pharmacology, psychology, medical/legal, etc. Upon completion you must successfully challenge the 6 hour Emergency Medical Care Attendant (EMCA) exam. This will make you eligible to be hired as a Primary Care Paramedic. To continue to the Advanced Care Paramedic level you are required to work a minimum of 2 years, full time, in an urban ambulance service (probably much more), continue various CMEs (continuing medical education), pass a series of tests & interviews to be selected for advanced training. This will involve approximately 8 additional months training , much of it on your own time. With a few additional years of experience as an Advanced care medic & several more months training you can then reach the Critical Care Paramedic Level (or Air Medic).
Are you St. John Ambulance?
No. In London, St. John is not a regular ambulance service. Their field is first aid & CPR training & they provide first aid at events. Under normal circumstances they do not respond to emergency ambulance calls.
Do you work for the Fire Department?
At present, Paramedics in Ontario do not work through the fire department. When required, Fire Fighters provide first response to assist us & our patients because they have more available resources than any ambulance service. They can provide basic care until the ambulance arrives. They are not paramedics.
Which hospital do you work for?
We do not work for a particular hospital. We are a private company employing paramedics to provide ambulance service in London & area, and we transport patients to the most appropriate hospital considering their particular illness or injury. We do however have a professional connection with London Health Sciences Centre. LHSC is our Base Hospital & through the direction of our Base Hospital physician, Dr. J Dreyer, they provide continuing training, recertification & evaluation of the prehospital care we provide.
Why do I see ambulances idling in parking lots through out the city?
In 1997 Thames Valley Ambulance closed all of its satellite stations & implemented a standby policy. Crews now park or roam in a particular "zone" of the city 24 hours a day in an attempt to decrease response times. Our vehicles must be left running constantly to keep the patient compartment, IV solutions, medications, etc., at an appropriate temperature. This system remains in place in spite of the fact that it has not been successful in positively affecting our times. This is at least partially due to the fact that we spend much or our time in the downtown station for shift change, restocking, lunches, etc. This leaves our designated zone empty on a regular basis which lengthens our response distance in many cases.
Why might I see 2 ambulances arrive at my door?
There are 2 levels of Paramedics in London, Primary Care & Advanced Care Paramedics. In a potential emergency, an Advanced Care crew responds whenever possible. If a Primary Care crew is closer, they will respond first followed by the Advanced crew. On arrival, the first crew can cancel the second crew if they are not required. You may also see police &/or fire crews on the scene depending on individual needs, availability of ambulances, type of call, etc.

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