The Almonte Fire Hall was the scene of a major multi-vehicle accident on June 12, 2013. Emergency crews from the Lanark County Ambulance Service (LCAS) and Mississippi Mills Fire Department (MMFD) responded to a call reporting that 10 people were suffering from various critical injuries.
Arriving on scene, rescue crews found a four-car collision with downed power lines, trapped victims and several walking wounded. The “accident” was actually part of a pilot project to train paramedics to deal with major motor vehicle accidents where a large number of people are severely injured. Working together with the MMFD Rapid Auto Extrication Team, the paramedics conducted their rescue, while the entire event was filmed for use in future training of other paramedics.
The live training exercise was created by the Regional Paramedic Program of Eastern Ontario (RPPEO), which is responsible for the oversight and training of paramedics in advanced life support skills. The 10-member team, led by Dr. Richard Dionne, wanted to provide the most realistic scenario possible to challenge the paramedics’ ability to deliver rapid, high-quality emergency medical care under the most trying circumstances.
Following the exercise, a debriefing session was held with the paramedics and firefighters to review their results. Dr. Dionne congratulated the team on a job well done, saying that this high-stress, high-impact type of call challenges all emergency workers. Paramedic Darryl Fleming commented that this dynamic type of exercise is a reminder of the importance of shared training with our area fire departments and the positive impact it has on emergency patient care.
The exercise was observed by Lanark County Councillors John Levi and Sharon Mousseau, Mary Wilson Trider, President & CEO of Almonte General Hospital, which oversees the operations of the ambulance service, and Rick Hannah, Lanark County’s Emergency Services Coordinator. Students from the Paramedic Program at Algonquin College acted as the casualties.
Ed McPherson, Chief of LCAS thanked the RPPEO and the paramedics who volunteered their time for the exercise. He gave special thanks to Fire Chief Art Brown and his department for hosting the event. “It was an incredible learning experience for all involved, demonstrating the commitment of both the ambulance and fire services to providing the highest quality of care to those that need our help in Lanark County,” Mr. McPherson said.