Roomier vehicle welcomed by emergency responders
Change Islands get new emergency response vehicle
Earlier this year the Change Islands Emergency Responders team received a new vehicle to help them provide care to residents of Change Islands.
Marion Adams, a team member for the past 11 years, says the new vehicle is a lot easier to work in.
“The one before had a few issues, but this is a new model and there is more room,” Adams said. “In the old vehicle, the stretcher would be up against the left wall. In this one, you can walk all around the stretcher and help the patient from all sides.”
The emergency responders crew are volunteers that support the work of the community’s nurse. The group operates as a specifically trained part of the fire department and one of the firefighters drives the vehicle while the responders help the patient in the back.
“There are eight first responders and we assist the nurse, for emergencies,” Adams said. “If there is some medical emergency when the nurse is not here, we don’t diagnose anything, we’re not trained for that. We call the paramedics to meet us, then we load the patient into the emergency response vehicle, make them comfortable, and bring them to the ferry.”
Stephen Brinson is the mayor on Change Islands and a recent addition to the emergency responders team. He describes the other steps in the process.
“We’ll call the ferry, and they will come right to Change Islands from wherever they are,” Brinson explained. “Then we wait with the patient to meet with the ambulance in Farewell.”
Adams says depending on the nature of the emergency, the patient will either go to James Paton Memorial Health Centre in Gander or be brought to Fogo Island for Medevac services.
Even though they are volunteers, the emergency responders crew takes their work very seriously. They operate on an on-call basis and communicate frequently with other crew members.
“We all let each other know if we are gone off the island,” Adams said. “We don’t want anyone taking up time looking for us when every second counts.”
Adams says they have worked together long enough to develop their own roles and routines.
“We each have a job,” Adams said. “Wendy gives the person oxygen, I’m talking to them, helping them stay calm, Suzanne gets on the phone to the paramedics.”
While he is a recent addition to the crew, Brinson is grateful for the work the emergency responders group has put in over the years on Change Islands.
“As Mayor I speak for the people of Change Islands when I say that to have someone here when someone gets sick, to have the emergency responders available to transport them, is very important,” he said. “It has worked well for Change Islands. The emergency responders have done a wonderful job.”
In case of a medical emergency on Change Islands the emergency responders can be reached at 709-621-5111.
The new first response vehicle for Change Islands.