A family affair
The SD&G paramedic headquarters building in Cornwall held their first-ever open house on Sat., June 3, to celebrate Paramedic Services Week. From left, Chief Myles Cassidy, Becky Ryan and her daughter Eva Ryan and Commander Bradley Nuttley.         Sawyer Helmer photo

Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
Record Staff
CORNWALL – Last week was Paramedic Services Week and the SD&G Paramedic Services Headquarters held an open house on Sat., June 3. This was the first time the headquarters has opened for an open house since its construction a little over five years ago.

One of the main organizers Commander Bradley Nuttley said, “It’s a way to invite the public that is fun and exciting.” Chief Myles Cassidy followed up, that paramedics often don’t get to meet the community under the best circumstances. The open house gave them a chance to show off their skills and training in a relaxed and fun environment.

The headquarters were decked out with bouncy castles, face painting, a teddy bear clinic, ambulance rides and a barbecue provided by M&M meat market.

The theme was to attract kids, said Nuttley. “We want them to meet the paramedics, understand the job and what we do in the community.” Nuttley added that by attracting kids to the open house they also bring in their parents and grandparents. “Paramedics are highly trained and skilled individuals – we want to teach that to the younger kids,” said Nuttley.

Each year the paramedics of SD&G try to do something different for the Paramedic Services Week, May 28-June 3, but Nuttley said if the open house is deemed a success, they may try it again next year.

Also on site was the Community Paramedic Program Coordinator Michelle McMillan. The program was described by Cassidy as the “next wave” of paramedic services. The Community Paramedic program began in January 2015 after a province-wide initiative from the Ministry of Health collected ideas for future services. McMillan explained that the Community Paramedic Program is a home visit program to monitor people more at risk to prevent unnecessary use of ambulance services. The program is geared towards homebound, elderly, isolated and vulnerable people who need additional care. “An example of this would be catching pneumonia in one of these at-risk people before they need a hospital visit,” said McMillan.

One paramedic, Captain James Doherty has been with the program from the very beginning and was happy to be involved. “Being a paramedic is a reactive approach to emergencies but this program is proactive and we can intervene before an emergency occurs,” explained Doherty. The program is still in development and is always looking for ways to grow further.