Toronto paramedics launch public awareness campaign - Yellow t-shirts will shine light on response time problem

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Paramedics with Toronto EMS will wear
bright yellow t-shirts on Tuesdays and Fridays as part of a public awareness
campaign highlighting the problems they face meeting standard response times
for emergency calls.
    "Our members are proud to be part of Toronto EMS, one of the finest
services of its kind, but having an insufficient number of ambulances on the
street is taking its toll on both paramedics and their patients," said Brian
Cochrane, president of Toronto Civic Employees Union Local 416 (CUPE).
    With at most 90 ambulances on call to serve a daytime population of about
three million people, the average response time for serious emergencies is
12 minutes - well short of the industry standard of just under nine minutes,
Cochrane said. Toronto paramedics are able to reach the standard just 69% of
the time.
    "Each paramedic serves more than 4,000 people, which is the highest
worker to population ratio in the city's emergency services," he said. "We
need more ambulances and more paramedics so that more lives can be saved."
    As part of their campaign, paramedics will no longer voluntarily sign on
to staff events such as Taste of the Danforth, Toronto Pride Parade or the
Canadian National Exhibition because that further reduces the number of
ambulances on call, Cochrane said. They will focus on performing the duties
that they are hired to do.
    "We have been talking to the politicians at City Hall about the problem.
Now it's time to take it to the public to try to get the modest increases in
ambulances and paramedics that will allow our members to meet standard
response times and improve patient care."

For further information:

For further information: Brian Cochrane, President, TCEU Local 416,
(416) 968-7721; Karen McNama, CUPE National Representative, (416) 968-7721;
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, (416) 616-6142

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