Field Staff Assaults

Paramedics in Kingston say employee assaults are on the rise

A frightening incident in which an emergency worker with Frontenac Paramedic Services was assaulted while on a call has prompted the agency to seek changes on how they’re reported and how those committing the assaults are dealt with.

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Employee assaults were top of mind during a training session Friday for staff with Frontenac Paramedic Services.

According to police, paramedics were called to Megaffin Park on Thursday to tend to a 60-year-old female who was thought to be having a seizure. However, instead of being able to help the person, the team of paramedics was spat on and shoved around by the patient’s friends.

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“Yeah, it looked like they were doing their job,” Sean McQueen, who witnessed the assault, said. “There was somebody down on the ground. They brought their bag over to check them out. All of a sudden one of them is being pushed.

“Then instead of helping out a hurt person they’re defending, being attacked and needing help themselves,” he added.

But Frontenac Paramedics Services say the assault of emergency workers is nothing new, in fact, it happens quite often.

“About six times a year they’re reported,” Mark Podgers, Head of Health and Safety with Frontenac Paramedic Services, said. “How many more are unreported? We can’t tell that number.”

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The chief of Frontenac Paramedic Services says verbal and physical abuse of first responders was ‘part of the job’, but now he’s urging his employees to report the incidents when they happen.

“I don’t want to get to the point where we have to hold back going into scenes because we keep hearing about ‘there’s some danger, there’s arguing and violence going on,’” Paul Charbonneau said.

He added he’d like Canada to adopt a policy similar to that of Australia’s in which assaulting a first responder is considered a federal offence.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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