Brave effort in deep end by CSL personnel 

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Last week Cote Saint-Luc emergency personnel responded to a call for assistance at a condo swimming pool on Rembrandt Ave. Upon arrival a swimmer was seen motionless at the bottom of the deep end.

Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson was first on scene and immediately removed his heavy utility belt carrying his radio and other tools, emptied his pockets, removed his safety boots and jumped into the pool. He was quickly joined by Public Security Agent Sebastien Payette. Together they managed to  bring the person to the surface and remove him from the water and begin resuscitation.

EMS, police and Urgences Santé technicians arrived and continued reanimation efforts. Unfortunately attempts to revive the man in his 60s were unsuccessful and he was declared dead on scene.

This tragic event serves as a critical reminder that one should never, ever swim alone.

I have recommended that the city produce and distribute signs to this effect to all condo and apartments with swimming pools.

Jordy Reichson spoke before the CSL Men’s Club a few days later and reminded the participants of the importance of having at least one other person present when swimming at a semi-private pool.

Thank you to Reichson and Payette for their brave efforts. As emergency responders they never know what the next call will bring. To be sure, jumping into the deep end of a pool, full clothed, and dragging someone out of the water is no easy task, indeed it is very dangerous. Thank you to all those other responders who did their utmost to revive this swimmer. And deepest condolences to the family and friends of the victim.

To our residents in apartments and condos, please remember to be safe every time you go swimming by having someone else close by in case of emergency.

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Fre Press | July 12, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Fre Press | July 12, 2016 | Click to enlarge

Railway fire and explosions rock Cote Saint-Luc in Tabletop Exercise

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Emergency service leaders, city service directors, elected officials and community partners ‘raced’ to Cote Saint-Luc City Hall’s Emergency Operations Centre Thursday morning for a mock rail disaster. The exercise was coordinated by Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in conjunction with Montreal Agglomeration’s Public Safety Centre.

The live action exercise included Montreal agglomeration police and fire services, Urgences Santé ambulance services, CP Police, West-Central Montreal Health, Federation CJA’s community security branch along with all services in the city of CSL.

CSL Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson oversees the Emergency Operations Centre

The scenario involved an overnight train derailment that resulted in a fire and explosion, just east of the Westminster underpass, affecting 250 residents requiring immediate evacuation. Water and electricity was cut off. City personnel established an evacuation centre at the aquatic and community centre on Parkhaven at Mackle. Reichson gave orders to all service directors to huddle and coordinate with their first responders and personnel.

As city councillor responsible for emergency preparedness I can attest that it is evident why CSL is renowned for its level of readiness. The ongoing training, testing and preparing are well worth the investment in time and resources.

Police Commander Jean O’Malley confers with Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson. Executive Assistant Tammy McEwan keeps tabs on all decisions.

In this mock scenario I served as official spokesperson for the city in partnership with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, and neighboring municipalities and boroughs. A mock press conference was set up to inform our residents.

Several issues arose for the members of the Emergency Operations Centre to deal with on an urgent basis including diminished air quality, wind direction, sheltering of animals, providing kosher and non-kosher food, evacuation of mobility reduced residents and babies, registering residents willing to take in evacuees, distribution of drinking water and more.

Director Jordy Reichson consults with Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen

Participants dealt with a spreading power outage affecting the whole city. Traffic lights were out. Expectations were two days to restore all to normal.

The three hour scenario demonstrated the participant’s ease in dealing with unraveling urgent situations and in collaborating around the table to ensure the safety of our residents. Discussions, swinging back and forth effortlessly in French and English, flowed smoothly and in a spirit if great cooperation.

Montreal Fire Department Division Chief Martin Ferland and Police Commander Jean O’Malley update the leaders in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Operations Centre

Cote Saint-Luc residents can take pride in knowing that their emergency, city and community services along with mayor and councillors hold these exercises from time to time and place such a high priority in testing their skills and readiness. Through these exercises improvements and adjustments can be made, professional skills developed and relationships enhanced to be well prepared for the real deal.

On behalf of our residents, thank you to our dedicated leaders around the tabletop mock disaster. Your commitment to emergency services and to our residents and community is exemplary and greatly appreciated. Thank you to Sid-Ali Talbi of Centre de sécurité civile de Montréal and CSL Public Safety Chief Philippe Chateauvert and kudos to Jordy Reichson for his leadership in orchestrating a successful demonstration and return to normalcy for our city.

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I have been involved in emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc for 36 years. I was involved in EMO in the 1987 floods and we both participated in leading city services in the 1998 Ice Storm and in preparation for Y2K. We’ve taken part in many exercises over the years and we were very impressed in how these leaders came together to deal with a sudden, life-threatening crisis in a calm and professional manner.

We’re in good hands in Cote Saint-Luc!

For more information on emergency preparedness in Cote Saint-Luc and to learn what you can do to better prepare your own family please visit the CSL Emergency Preparedness page here or GetPrepared.ca.

Quick, Call 9-1-1. Get me a lawyer!

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Where can you call 9-1-1 in a medical emergency and get two lawyers at your door in under three minutes? In Cote Saint-Luc, of course!

Lawyers by day. First Responders by night. Volunteer medics Audrey Myette and Michael Glazer just can’t get enough of helping those in need, both in the office and out.

Lawyers and First Responders, Michael Glazer and Alexandra Myette.

Lawyers and First Responders, Michael Glazer and Audrey Myette.

Myette spent eight years as an Emergency Dispatcher for Cote Saint-Luc, six of those years also as a volunteer with CSL Emergency Medical Services. Now she spends most of her time in the corporate law offices of KPMG as a tax lawyer. “The taxpayers of Cote Saint-Luc helped pay for my education and now I’m paying them back,” Myette said during National EMS Week celebrations.

“Why do I still come in and do my shifts each week?” Myette pondered? “Because I can make a difference in a split second,” she responded. This is one energetic young lawyer.

Michael Glazer completed his EMS training way back in 1986. “Since the Ice Storm, in ’98, I haven’t missed a shift,” the lawyer and businessman quipped. Glazer, who owns and operates Canada’s leading mystery shopper organization with thousands of employees throughout the country, still finds time to cover a shift very other week.

Why does Glazer do it? “I also love making a difference.” he says. “People call 911 in the most dire of situations. To be the person who arrives at their door is a privilege,” Glazer told me. “It’s a Mitzvah!”

Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson (far right) and Chief Philip Chateauvert (far left) present graduation certificates to EMS rookies (in grey)

Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson (far right) and Chief Philip Chateauvert (far left) present graduation certificates to EMS graduates

 

This is National Emergency Medical Services Week across Canada and its our opportunity, in Cote Saint-Luc, to thank our incredible volunteer First Responders. These young, dynamic and talented volunteers are the difference between life and death, answering 9-1-1 calls and arriving ahead of the Urgences Santé ambulance in our city.

EMS Week 2015

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I joined Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in applauding these life savers for their heroic work, day and night. Kovac and I first got involved in EMS back in 1980, responding to emergency calls in an era when there were still police ambulances along with private companies doing this work. It’s gratifying to see that the work that we did in pioneering the early days of EMS continues and thrives with a new generation of volunteers.

Riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc's first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

Glenn J. Nashen riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11, 1981

Today, EMS responds to more than 3000 emergency calls each year. The dedicated corps of 80 volunteers cover shifts 24/7 in a modern fleet of First Response vehicles. Sometimes, as many as four simultaneous calls are responded to in Cote Saint-Luc.

Despite the efforts of the mega-city of Montreal in trying to take over Cote Saint-Luc’s extraordinary EMS at the outset of the mergers, Councillor Kovac and I, along with Anthony Housefather, championed the cause to save and keep our unique service. With the unswerving leadership of then MNA, Lawrence Bergman, special legislation was tabled in the National Assembly, recognizing CSL EMS as the authority in First Response on our territory.

Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc's second ever First Response vehicle

Glenn J. Nashen, on duty, in Cote Saint-Luc’s second ever First Response vehicle

Today we thank our volunteers for their service and commitment. Our residents and our city is a safer, healthier place thanks in large part to them.

Flipping burgers at the EMS Week BBQ at 8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road

Flipping burgers at the EMS Week BBQ at 8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road

Medic Michael Nashen enjoying EMS Week BBQ

Medic Michael Nashen enjoying EMS Week BBQ

A custom designed EMS Week cake. Even the gloves were edible.

A custom designed EMS Week cake. Even the gloves were edible.

 

Preparing for disaster behind the scenes

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Emergency_preparedness_committee_March2015

Just because we live in one of the most peaceful communities in the Montreal area doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about what can go horribly wrong at any moment. And for this  reason some very specialized people gathered at Cote Saint-Luc city hall earlier this week to discuss disasters, large and small, natural and man-made.

The emergency preparedness plan of the City includes three vital groups of participants:

  • The City of Côte Saint-Luc, including the Mayor and Council, and employees;
  • Regional services, such as the Montreal Police, Montreal Fire Department, Urgences-santé and provincial and federal government;
  • YOU, the resident! Each person has a vital role to play in preparing for and mitigating the risks of disasters

The city has identified the following to be the most likely risks affecting our territory:

  1. Major fire
  2. Train accident or derailment
  3. Weather-related incident, such as an extreme snow- ice- or wind-storm, heat or cold spell, etc.
  4. Public health incident (pandemic or epidemic)
  5. Power failure during a period of extreme temperature (heat or cold)
  6. Terrorist activity
  7. Shortage, absence or contamination of the water supply
  8. Computer network or communications network outage
  9. Hazardous materials incident
  10. Airplane crash

CSL Emergency Preparedness Committee met this week to review and analyze any threat to the city along with risk mitigation

 

As the chairman of the Emergency Preparedness Committee I ensure that we bring experts around the table each year to review and update our emergency plan and that we test the plan with our staff and volunteers and keep our residents informed and aware.

Last year CSL City Council made Emergency Preparedness a major priority for 2014. We held a public information meeting about emergency preparedness. We dedicated an entire issue of the CSL Courier to this important topic and we launched the CSL Alert Mass Notification System. CSL Alert allows you to opt-in to receive notifications via phone call, text message, e-mail and more based on locations you care about. You can choose to receive notifications about events that may affect your home, workplace, family’s schools and more. Visit http://www.cotesaintluc.org/Alert to learn more.

Urgences Santé website to be bilingual

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Jan. 21, 2015 | Suburban News | Click to enlarge

Jan. 21, 2015 | Suburban News | Click to enlarge

Thank you to D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum for his interest in advancing this dossier. Each time I contact him concerning local and language issues he and his skilled staff are quick to respond and to make representation to the relevant ministers. In this particular case, David’s assistance was significant in getting a quick and positive response from Urgences Santé.

Letter: Hand over responsibility for ambulances to the municipal level

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THE GAZETTE JULY 18, 2014

Re: “A critical need for better ambulance service” (Editorial, July 16)

This is an excellent editorial about the substandard level of the pre-hospital emergency medical care across Quebec. Sadly, there have been many excellent editorials over the decades just like this one.

Many of us have been advocating for the recognition of Advanced Care (Advanced Life Support) Paramedics for 30 years as Quebec lags woefully behind its neighbours. While “Paramedic” is now emblazoned across our ambulances, the term gives a false expectation to the public.

We continue to lose our most skilled ambulance technicians to other jurisdictions. Quebecers need not suffer, or die, before getting to the hospital when there are so many eager ambulance technicians available and willing to be trained to perform at a much higher level.

The lack of transparency, lengthy response times and fleet availability in the regional ambulance service cited by the editorial is fixable. Hand over the service to the municipal level. Fire and police services for the Montreal Island are not run by the province, nor should they be. The same stands true for ambulance services. The level closest to the citizen will result in better care and a higher quality of services.

Glenn J. Nashen

City Councillor

Côte-St-Luc

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

A healthy ambulance service needs advanced care paramedics

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Opinion by PHIL MCHUGH, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE JULY 2, 2014

The decision last month by paramedics in Montreal and Laval to invoke pressure tactics against Urgences Santé to protest against the lack of ambulance resources is just one part of a larger problem with ambulance services in this province.

I have worked as a primary care paramedic with Urgences Santé for the past six years, and every year seems to be worse than the last.

Our response times have been unacceptable for quite some time now, and no one seems to be noticing.

However, there is a bigger problem here in Quebec, and it’s what we are doing once we arrive on the scene of an emergency.

Quebec is the only place in North America (aside from New Brunswick) where advanced care paramedics are not part of the operational routine. The rest of Canada has three levels of paramedics: primary, advanced and critical. Advanced care paramedics have more training than primary care paramedics and are able to bring the hospital emergency room, so to speak, out onto the road with them.

I completed my advanced care course in Ontario, a program that is accredited in all of Canada but not in Quebec, where it has been stuck at the pilot-project stage since 2001. Urgences Santé and the Quebec government fail to recognize my training, and keep me at the level of primary care paramedic.

For the last year, I have had to sit on my hands and watch as patients had seizures while being transported to the hospital, because I am not allowed to administer medication.

If you fall and fracture your hip in another province, the treatment you will get includes use of a scoop (a device that goes underneath you to lift you off of the floor), an IV, morphine for the pain and anti-nausea medication if you need it.

In Quebec, by contrast, you will be put in a vacuum mattress (a device that becomes rigid and acts as a full body cast), which requires a paramedic to turn you on your side, which is extremely painful if you have a hip fracture.

Why is it that we are the highest taxed citizens in North America, yet we are the only ones that don’t have access to advanced pre-hospital care?

It’s time we stand up and start demanding that we get treated just as well as our neighbours in the rest of Canada. As for me, I’ve been forced to move, to work in a province that recognizes my training and that will allow me to properly treat my patients.

Phil McHugh is moving July 7 from Montreal to Calgary, to take a job as an advanced care paramedic. He has worked the last six years with Urgences Santé.

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