Paramedics take up stations along TTC

Commuters can now expect quicker response times when they need medical assistance on TTC subway cars.

Dave Ralph is the manager of community safe guard services for EMS operations. He says in most medical emergencies – ranging from fainting to cardiac arrest -paramedics can arrive equipped with the proper care to suit the ill or injured travellers’ needs.

“We arrive using the tunnels, which is much faster than traveling on land,” he said. “While assessing a patient upon arrival, we can relay the seriousness of the illness to ambulance workers above. We can also get the equipment necessary and update paramedics with quicker valid patient information.”

When a passenger becomes ill on board a subway train, the passenger assistance alarm is activated. Transit control staff immediately contact 911, and with EMS paramedics stationed at key subway stations, help will arrive more promptly.

As of March 20, the TTC increased the number of paramedics stationed on TTC property during morning and afternoon rush periods.

The current campaign to improve the medical response service on the TTC began as a pilot project in August 2008. Coun. Adam Giambrone is TTC chair, is pleased with the initial results of the project.

“Since the project began, the total number of incidents decreased 1.7 per cent over the same time period the previous year, with the total number of delay minutes decreasing by 18.3 per cent,” Giambrone said.

Ralph says strategically placing EMS workers in different locations helps to aid those in need of service. The paramedics are stationed at the Bloor-Yonge and Spadina subway stations at peak hours (6:30-8:30 a.m. and 4:30-7 p.m.).

Giambrone says that adding more stationed paramedics will cost the city $250,000 per year.

He says having extra paramedics on board will assist those in need quickly and get commuters to their destinations more promptly.

“The EMS Paramedic Project will benefit commuters in two ways,” he said. “For an ill passenger, assistance will hopefully arrive sooner, and for the other customers, service will resume in a shorter time period.”

Filed by Jessicka Loduca