National Public Safety Communicators Week April 9-15, 2023
Patient and family thank the Ambulance Communication Officer who helped save his life
When Krista Tucker Petrick woke up to her husband Marc in cardiac distress, she knew she had to call 911 immediately.
“I called 911 while trying to remember all the things I learned in my First Aid and CPR course,” Tucker Petrick says. “Thanks to the amazing 911 operator on the other end of the line, I was able to do CPR for six minutes until EMS could arrive.”
It was Ambulance Communication Officer (ACO) Scott Levasseur who answered that 911 call on September 29th, 2022. Levasseur quickly took control of the situation, determining the exact address of the emergency and other critical information from the caller. He determined that the patient had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and remained on the phone while ensuring the caller started CPR immediately.
At the time, Tucker Petrick didn’t know the person on the other end of the line. In honour of National Public Safety Communicators Week (April 9-15, 2023), she and her husband had the
opportunity to meet and thank the ACO who helped save his life. “Because of CPR, I kept his blood moving long enough for professionals to take over. Because of CPR, he came home,” Tucker Petrick says.
Each April, the North Bay Central Ambulance Communications Centre (CACC) joins other Emergency Communications Centres across Canada in celebrating the second full week of April as National Public Safety Communicators Week. This week honours the thousands of men and women who answer emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment and render life-saving assistance to citizens.
Ambulance Communications Officers in our region receive more than 36,000 medical and fire calls a year for assistance. On-duty 24/7, 365 days a year, this work is critical to the chain of survival—but the staff performing this vital function are rarely visible.
Marc Picard, CACC Manager, says while an emergency call takes only a few minutes, in a crisis it can feel much longer and the call taker must remain calm when most callers are anxious, distraught or confused. “Despite the short time they are involved with the caller, the dispatchers are an essential part of the circle of care,” Picard says. “Dispatchers rarely get to meet the people they help, who are usually just a voice on the end of the line they talk to until the ambulance arrives.”
Picard also says two ACOs were presented with their first stork pins. Stork pins are presented to CACC staff involved in a baby’s delivery — a joyous part of a job that is often filled with tragedy. Erin Lamont and Ian Wassink both played critical roles in two separate calls, each coaching parents through the safe delivery of babies after calling 911.
This year three North Bay CACC employees also received their years of service pins from Mark Daniw, Director Emergency, CCU and Ambulatory Services. These employees were: James Sutherland; 5 years, Raymond King, 15 years; and Marc Picard, 25 years.