CSL recognizes long serving veterans of EMS

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It was a great honour for me to be included among those recognized last night for their many years of service in building the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. CSL EMS turns 50 years old this year.  The recognition event and graduation of the current class of new medics took place amid pomp and ceremony Monday night at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall.medal-003s

The Governor General’s EMS Exemplary Service Medal was presented by Mayor Anthony Housefather, Public Safety Councillor Sam Goldbloom and Director (and long time volunteer himself) Jordy Reichson to eight veterans following more than 20 years of dedicated service.

The Exemplary Service Medal, which was established in 1994 as part of the Canadian Honours System, recognizes individuals with at least 20 years of service in Emergency Medical Services and a strong commitment to exceptional performance.

I started at what used to be called EMO (Emergency Measures Organization) immediately after high school back in 1979. These were the years prior to First Responders and a coordinated ambulance service in Montreal. Residents would telephone directly to EMO and we would respond in our small fire-rescue truck, known as RMF-11 (Rescue, Medical, Fire).

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

Our first responder service was launched a few years later and I spent the next 20 years in active duty as a volunteer.

Shortly after being first elected in 1990, Councillor Ruth Kovac and I set off to form the EMO Review Committee and proposed upgrading the service to a full city service with a paid director, round the clock coverage, in-house training of our volunteer medics and widespread training of our residents, staff and visitors in CPR.

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol.  I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe.

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol. I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe.

In total I have been involved in our Emergency Medical services and every aspect of Public Safety for 35 years, well over half of my life!

Receiving the Governor General's medal from Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

Receiving the Governor General’s medal from Cllr. Sam Goldbloom, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson

Additionally I served 18 years as an Emergency Medical Technician with Urgences Santé, five years on the Canadian Ski Patrol, and founded and spent countless hours with the CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol group. My involvement doesn’t stop there having overseen Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on City Council since 1990.

I am very proud to have championed the first municipal bylaw requiring bike helmets in Canada and spending the last three decades advocating for mandatory helmet requirements for cyclists. It is with passion for caring for the injured, sick and needy that I  have promoted the legal recognition of Paramedics in pre-hospital emergency medical care in Quebec.

Proud to be among many deserving veterans of EMS including Patti-Bath Lietman, Hal Newman, Rick Liebmann

Proud to be among many deserving veterans of EMS including Patti-Bath Leitman, Hal Newman and Rick Liebmann

There are so many highlights in my years in EMS. I have performed CPR more than 125 times and successfully revived one in four patients. One of my most memorable occasions serving on Montreal ambulances was my first and only delivery of a baby boy in his mother’s house, which permitted me to proudly wear a tiny blue stork pin on my uniform.

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

Riding aboard Cote Saint-Luc’s first Rescue Medical Fire vehicle RMF-11 in 1981

I remember with pride serving CSL EMO in a historical torrential downpour in 1987 that closed our underpasses stranding thousands of residents and spending fifteen straight days overseeing emergency services and communications during the 1998 Ice Storm.

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1981

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1981

Of major importance was my involvement, seven years ago, alongside Mayor Housefather, Councillor Kovac and MNA Lawrence Bergman in solidifying community support for EMS and the adoption of a special law in the National Assembly to allow our city to keep EMS as the First Responder service when the Montreal Fire Department took over this mandate everywhere else on the island.

Saving EMS at the Quebec National Assembly

Saving EMS at the Quebec National Assembly in 2007

Thank you to Mayor Housefather for his confidence in appointing me to my public safety and emergency preparedness positions for the last ten years and to Jordy Reichson for his collaboration and dedication to serving our community.

Councillor Glenn J. Nashen on duty with vCOP

Councillor Glenn J. Nashen on duty with vCOP

This has been a most rewarding, inspiring and epic journey for me, and for the thousands of volunteers who have crossed through the doors at Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. Thank you to all those who have been involved in EMS for this great honour and immense privilege to serve.

 

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30 Years of Volunteering in Cote Saint-Luc’s emergency services

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This month marks my 30th anniversary since first joining the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization (Emergency Medical Services or EMS since the mid 80s).

In 1979, fresh out of Bialik High School, I attended Vanier College during the day to complete my regular CEGEP program.  During the evening,  Ruth Kovac and I studied in Dawson College’s Emergency Medical Technician program under master instructor Gary McHugh.

8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road through the years: Home of CSL's first mayor, Luc Prud'homme, Police Station, Fire Station, Recreation Department, Senior Men's Club, Emergency Measures Organization, Emergency Medical Services, Public Security Department, Public Safety headquarters

8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road through the years: Home of CSL's first mayor, Luc Prud'homme, Police Station, Fire Station, Recreation Department, Senior Men's Club, Emergency Measures Organization, Emergency Medical Services, Public Security Department, Public Safety headquarters

EMO ran out of 8100 Cote Saint-Luc Road.  This heritage building was the home of the first mayor of Cote Saint-Luc, Luc Prud’homme.  Later it became the police station and fire station.  A holding cell is still in the basement and the stable out back, torn down in the 80s, housed the horses that raced to fires with water containers in tow.

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1981

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Measures Organization, 1983

Back then, EMO was lead by Brian Payne along with Norm Adler.  Jack Dym served as Chief of Operations.  Erwin Luden was involved in Auxilairy Security.  Several hundred, perhaps over 1000 young adults have passed through these doors and have gone on to many different professions. Several went on to become doctors, nurses, and medical technicians. 

EMO sparked my interest in local politics with an eye toward improving and expanding this service as well as other local emergency services.

EMO's RMF-11 (for Rescue, Medical, Fire) was a copy of the vehicles from the 80s TV series "Emergency"

1983 photo of EMO's RMF-11 (for Rescue, Medical, Fire) was a copy of the vehicle from the 70s TV series "Emergency"

 

In 1979 EMO received its calls directly from residents or from private ambulance companies that were stationed in Lasalle, NDG or elsewhere in Montreal.  Our response vehicle, RMF-11 (for Rescue-Medical-Fire) was a copy of the one used on the 1970s hit-TV series “Emergency”.  We wore brown coveralls with a yellow stripe, carried an official Cote Saint-Luc “Rescue” badge and wore either police type cap or a fire helmet.  At night, we would sleep on army cots waiting for the phone to ring.

Our training was excellent back then, as it is today.  In addition to the medical education we also learned light rescue techniques: how to repel off the side of a building and how to lower a victim in a stokes basket.  We practiced off the roof at 8100 and at the tennis court building on Guelph near Wentworth, when it used to be a pump house.

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac enrolled at the Emergency Preparedness College of Canada 1991

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac enrolled at the Emergency Preparedness College of Canada 1991

 We learned how to march in unison and paraded each year in the Remembrance Day Parade from the CSL Shopping Centre to the cenotaph (now Father Martin Foley Park) between the Fire Station and the Post Office.

Much has changed in 30 years and I am fortunate to have been involved in just about every major decision concerning first responders and emergency preparedness ever since. 

We fell under the Urgences Santé system back in 1982 when the ambulance companies were brought under a single communications and operational command.  This was before 9-1-1 was launched in Montreal.

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

Glenn J. Nashen on duty with Urgences Santé and Jeff Silver (in brown coveralls) with EMO

My wonderful memories and experiences will last a lifetime, thanks to the CSL EMO and EMS.  It shaped my interest in community, influenced my professional career path and launched my political life.  My story has repeated hundreds of times for so many other young people who went through this program, and our community has been strengthened because of it.  And residents have been comforted and lives have been saved for more than 30 years.

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

Cote Saint-Luc EMO launched my side-career as an Urgences-Santé ambulance technician in 1980

  

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol.  I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe.

My EMO involvement also led to 5 years of volunteer service on the Canadian Ski Patrol. I rose to the level of Assistant Patrol Leader at Mont Alta in Ste-Agathe. This is a picture of me bringing an injured skier down the hill on toboggan.

On helmets and safety

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The recent tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson after a fall on the beginner run at Mont-Tremblant underscores the critical need for helmet legislation across Quebec.

Cote Saint-Luc became the first municipality in Canada to enact a bylaw making bike helmets mandatory 18 years ago and we called upon Quebec to take action province-wide.  Yet no Quebec helmet law exists to date and preventable injuries and even deaths occur each year.    It is a shame that Quebec has yet to take action.

More than 80% of traumatic brain injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet.

As an avid cyclist and having served five years on the Canadian Ski Patrol I cannot emphasize how important it is to wear a proper helmet for biking, in-line skating, skiing, ice skating and tobogganing.

You can search this blog for more on helmets or click the links below.

And if you feel as I do, please call your Member of the National Assembly.

Trauma and injury prevention, Montreal Children’s Hospital

CBC Living Montreal: Injury prevention – helmets