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Local Heroes

Thirteen ambulances, over 40 patients - and a positive outcome

A group of over 40 Delta farm workers had been cleaning greenhouse windows using gas-powered pressure washers, when they began feeling unwell. Managers at the farm initiated evacuation protocols and called 911.

The workers had been exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which can lead to headaches, dizziness and flu-like symptoms. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause victims to lose consciousness and may even be fatal.

BCEHS paramedics and dispatch staff worked with Fire-Rescue first responders to mitigate hazards and engage their multi-casualty incident (MCI) protocols, prioritizing care for those who needed it most.

“They communicated very well,” said Samantha Wilbur, acting director of Patient Care Delivery Vancouver Coastal, BCEHS. “Our Patient Care, Communications and Planning (PCCP) team contacted the fire department, hospitals and health authorities. When you have this many patients that need to be transported, you don’t want to overwhelm one resource if you can avoid it.” 

“Our Patient Transfer Network was on the phone immediately, as was our paramedic specialist in the dispatch centre. We worked in conjunction to establish what was happening on the scene, communicate it to our Patient Care, Communications and Planning Team, and share it all with the health authorities. 

“It’s fantastic to see how well staff worked together. To have it go so smoothly in a big event like this is a huge testament to the training they receive and their work together in the field.” 

At the scene, paramedics treated patients with oxygen, and tested their blood to make sure the treatment was working. The patients who needed urgent care were transported to hospital by ambulance. The less serious cases were accompanied by paramedics in a bus that took them to hospitals across the Lower Mainland. 

All of the patients were later discharged and were able to return home, and to work. A story that could have turned tragic ended with the best outcome for all concerned.

“It’s a huge credit to all the paramedics who responded,” said Wilbur.

Below are media stories about the incident:

SOURCE: Local Heroes ( )
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