BEHIND THE SCENES
How do we maximize paramedic availability so they can spend more time providing life-saving treatments and less time restocking and decontaminating vehicles?
We put together the best possible support system for our front line Paramedics and we call that team, "Technical Services".
The Technical Services team
Technical Services keeps front-line operations running smoothly and efficiently and is essential to providing uninterrupted service to the public.
We have dedicated Equipment & Supply Technicians, Paramedic Logistics Superintendents, a Biomedical Engineering Technologist and a vehicle technician to ensure the life-saving equipment is always ready. These staff are responsible for fully stocking Paramedic Units and ensuring we can meet a sophisticated 24 hour deployment model.
In most paramedic services, it is up to the paramedics to complete these tasks before, during or even after their shift. This methodology effectively removes highly trained paramedics from their core duties of responding to life threatening emergencies while they are stuck stocking, cleaning and disinfecting vehicles for hours.
Thanks to Technical Services, Ottawa Paramedics are able to make the best use of their time responding to life threatening emergencies as soon as their shift starts. The Technical Services team augment paramedics by conducting all of the daily restocking, cleaning, decontamination and maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
Equipment & Supply Technicians
The Equipment & Supply Technicians (ESTs) are responsible for providing ready to respond vehicles, maintained equipment, and medical supplies. They are also ready at a moment's notice to provide specialized support to our Paramedics in the field.
EST's work under the guidance of Paramedic Logistics Superintendents and a Paramedic Logistics Commander to ensure the daily processing of all front-line vehicles. This team helps paramedics to achieve an optimal response capability while following all applicable policies from the City of Ottawa, Regional Base Hospital and Ministry of Health.
Every EST undergoes 3 weeks of initial on-the-job training. Throughout their career, an EST will also undergo semi-annual training and development sessions, advanced driver training and receive ongoing speciality training where applicable. ESTs have a profound ability to multi-task, have extreme attentiveness to detail, work efficiently as a team and must be able to meet tight deadlines and strict deployment criteria. ESTs know that any errors can have implications on both paramedics and patient care.
Equipment & Supply Technician tasks and skills
All ESTs perform the following duties for paramedics:
- Conducting a 40-point mechanical pre-shift inspection of paramedic vehicles
- Disinfection, “deep-cleans" or specialized decontamination of paramedic vehicles
- Routine preventative maintenance of paramedic diagnostic equipment (cardiac equipment, glucometers, thermometers and computers)
- Routine preventative maintenance and repairs of all paramedic equipment (stretchers, stair chairs, oxygen regulators, defibrillators, carbon monoxide monitors, end tidal CO2 devices and other rescue equipment)
- Conduct routine audits (expiry dates) and re-stocking of paramedic kit bags, medical supplies and medications
- Electronic asset tracking and management, inventory and stock orders
- IT infrastructure support (communications equipment, laptop computers and mapping software)
ESTs can also respond and be reassigned to support paramedics in front line operations. They receive specialized training for various support roles. ESTs work together with Ambulance Communications Officers, Paramedic Superintendents and Paramedics at any given time depending on the event or situation. They also play an important role in patient care by providing paramedics the tools and support needed in the field.
Equipment & Supply Technician's roles
Bariatric Care Unit - used in the safe treatment, loading, unloading and transportation of bariatric patients (350lbs to 900lbs) to hospital
Treatment & Rehabilitation Unit - this “paramedic bus" is deployed to large scale incidents and special events for on-site rehabilitation and treatment. Minimizes patient transports to hospital and can accommodate 11 patients
Emergency Support Unit - this “paramedic truck" used to re-supply paramedic vehicles in large scale events and disasters. The Emergency Support Unit essentially has the capability of more than a dozen ambulances in one unit
UTV off-road vehicle deployment - currently modified “Bobcats", these Utility Vehicles (UTV's) are used for special events, off-road locations and search & rescue
Specialized Trailers - at scene for prolonged incidents or planned events (CBRNE, portable shelters & hospitals, MCI bulk supplies). This trailers are able to supply Paramedics with additional gear on large calls so they don't need to leave scene to restock or to obtain specialized equipment.
Low to high risk decontamination - specialized decontamination of paramedics, vehicles and equipment.
Logistics Superintendents manage all assets for the paramedic service including equipment, bases and vehicles. They coordinate and direct the daily operations of ESTs and other daily functions.
Some of these tasks and skills include:
- Coordinates and controls all Paramedic Service assets, vehicles and equipment and paramedic posts
- Supervises and directs the activities of Logistics staff (ESTs)
- Maintains all controlled substances (narcotics) in the Ottawa Paramedic Service inventory and as well as performing daily narcotic restocking to Advanced Care Paramedics
- Ensure vehicle maintenance schedules are adhered to and maximizes vehicle turnaround for operational deployment
- Works with the Paramedic Duty Officer to assign and deploy paramedics into paramedic units for shift starts or assign support vehicles to operational requirements.
Biomedical Engineering Technologist
The Ottawa Paramedic Service has an in-house Biomedical Engineering Technologist to maintain, repair, and conduct preventative maintenance on all high tech equipment used by front-line paramedics in the field.
The Biomedical Engineering Technologist looks after all cardiac equipment, portable suction units, and all automated external defibrillators (AED's) from the public access program and other AEDs used by the Ottawa Police and Ottawa Fire.
The Biomedical Engineering Technologist also investigates all malfunctions and damages with those devices in conjunction with the Professional Standards team.
Fleet Services Technician
The City of Ottawa provides the Ottawa Paramedic Service with an in-house Fleet Services Vehicle Technician during weekdays, day time hours for the purpose of maximizing vehicle turnaround for deployment numbers.
The vehicle technician is essentially a mechanic who specializes in working on the very unique components of paramedic units. The vehicle technician is responsible for triaging all vehicle maintenance & repairs that ESTs or Paramedics have flagged during a vehicle check-off. Many repairs are conducted on site while major problems and heavy equipment issues are sent out.
Medical stores provide the procurement and distribution of bulk medical supplies and equipment to the Ottawa Paramedic Service as well as other City of Ottawa departments who wish to purchase medical supplies. These supplies are used to restock all paramedic kit bags, vehicles and all equipment used in daily paramedic activities. This section is located at the Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters for easy access to stock.