First responders, paramedics to converge on Moose Jaw

Justin Crann
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Annual conference puts focus on skills, fellowship

Approximately 200 First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians and Primary Care Paramedics will be in Moose Jaw this weekend.

Pete Lazarra and Tim Hillier are returning as featured speakers at the 14th annual First Responders/EMS conference.

Beginning Friday, the South Saskatchewan First Responder Co-ordinator Committee (SSFRCC) is hosting its 14th annual, three-day First Responder/EMS Conference at the Heritage Inn.

The primary focus is to offer training to First Responders so they can work toward re-certification, while also offering paramedics the credits they need for licensing.

"Most First Responders are volunteers within their communities," said Cook. "(The conference) is geared toward training First Responders from all over Saskatchewan."

According to him, the trade has been around since the early days of the province, but it hasn't always been formalized with standards and routine training.

"If you think about it, throughout history, (First Responders) have always been there — it's just nobody had any training," said Cook. "You go back to when we were settling out here, it was a farmer here, and a farmer down the road. … It was still just a neighbour helping a neighbour. Now, we're giving them the tools to actually help."

This year, the First Responders/EMS Conference will offer sessions with topics that range the gamut from the psychological — dealing with PTSD, mental health and other "matters of the mind" — to the physical, including spinal immobilization, back injuries, balance and self-defence.

But, Cook said, the conference also offers EMS workers and First Responders from across the province the chance to get together, talk about the trade and make connections with each other.

"Our committee was formed based on the assumption that we could get these people to build linkages with each other and create their own support community," he said. 

"A group here from Eyebrow, for instance, might develop linkages with a group from Weyburn or Estevan area … they might support each other."

Between skills development and the fellowship of other emergency medical professionals, the conference strives toward it's core goal.

"We're just looking to have fun," said Cook.

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Organizations: First Responders, South Saskatchewan First Responder Co, Heritage Inn EMS

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Weyburn

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