Paramedics offer specialized care downtown
There is constant pressure on the city's ambulances to keep up with demand. In the city's downtown core, homeless people often call ambulances because they have nowhere else to turn so a paramedic team called the Centre City Team has been formed to handle those calls.
Darcy Vink, one of the paramedics on the team says, "These people need a hand up in their life and I hope someday I can make a change with one of them."
Paramedic Ryan Collyer says, "Nobody chooses to be homeless, addiction, societal issues, mental issues, no one choose that route. We do make a difference in people's lives downtown".
There is a core group of people, about 1,500 living in the downtown core that generates a huge percentage of calls to EMS. The Centre City team focuses on helping those people and, by doing so, relieves some of the burden on the entire EMS system.
It's not that the people downtown don't need help, but many calls don't require a trip to a hospital. Instead, it's often a trip to Alpha House - a detox centre- or to place like the Drop In Centre where they can find a bed for the night.
Before the Centre City team was created, an ambulance and crew could have been tied up for hours at emergency with a drunken patient.