Toronto’s EMS staff protecting the sick at Caribbean Festival Parade
KJ Mullins-Toronto: Today’s Scotiabank Carribean Carnival’s Grand Parade will be one of the summer highlights for the city. For those that get sick during the event the highlight may be the quick care they recieve at the hands of the Toronto EMS, St John’s first responders and two ER docs manning the Field Hospital and Cooling Station.
Every year about a million people attend the Carribean Festival’s Grand Parade in Toronto. Every year around 100 of those also fall ill. A combination of heat, drink and other medical conditions can come into play with the patients that show up at Toronto EMS’s field hospital and cooling station.
The cooling station is manned by three dedicated men, one Level 1 Toronto Paramedic and two St. John’s first responders, this year. Located just past the Princess Gate at the Exhibition the EMS bus is set up to help up to 10 patients at a time. The cooling station is for those not facing a serious medical incident. It offers a place to cool down with air conditioning and cold water. If someone is in need of more serious medical care an ambulance is on standby beside the bus and additional EMS will be called in. By 3:00 p.m. Saturday they had only had three patients who came in who just needed to cool down for a few minutes.
Those who need more serious care are transported by medic carts to the Toronto EMS Field Hospital located in Marilyn Bell Park on Lakeshore Boulevard. The hospital is staffed by first responders, all 3 levels of Toronto EMS and two ER doctors.
Most of the patients seen will have heat related medical conditions. With today’s heat alert in effect the medics are expecting to be very busy as the day goes on. The first patient of the day came in with a high body temperature and a flushed face. He was quickly tended to by the doctors and paramedics in a friendly manner.
Patients that require care at hospital will be transported from the scene by ambulance or by the Toronto Police’s Marine Unit.
The field hospital is also a place for the hundreds of police officers to cool down for a few minutes while they work the parade.
Toronto EMS encourage those going to the festival to drink plenty of water and use sunscreen. Wearing a hat and comfortable walking shoes can help prevent any medical problems.
If a person needs medical care while attending the event they should call 9-1-1. There are many medic carts in the area that can quickly transport patients to the proper centre.