Urgences-santé paramedics had to respond to more than 130 calls for falls that occurred across Montreal and Laval as a result of the freezing rain that hit the city.
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At 5 p.m., the organization counted 131 interventions for falls on the ice, whether on sidewalks, in the streets or in parking lots, explained spokesperson Stéphane Smith.
“We had a really difficult day for the paramedics and the people who fell,” said Smith, citing numerous calls for wrist, ankle, back or head injuries.
However, the number of operations that resulted in transport to hospital was not known.
In addition to the falls, the ten millimeters of ice that transformed the metropolis into a giant ice rink also doubled the number of calls to 911. “On average, we receive 40 to 50 calls per hour. This morning, we were at 80, 90 calls per hour. […] At twice the number of calls per hour, it is impossible to maintain this rhythm, ”said the spokesperson.
It was the first time in three years that Urgences-santé had to deal with such a volume of calls, the last dating back to an episode of ice on January 25, 2019.
Lack of staff
This frantic number of interventions put the Urgences-santé teams to the test, especially since there were about fifteen vehicles missing from the roads at the start of the day, in particular due to the lack of manpower. work.
“We have a shortage of personnel with which we have to live,” said Mr. Smith, adding that this aggravates other hazards with which Urgences-santé must deal, such as absenteeism due to illness, COVID-19 or vacation.
In order to compensate for this lack, the paramedics assigned to administrative tasks returned to the road on Wednesday, allowing the number of teams to be closer to normal. “Everyone is mobilizing, we stick together to meet demand,” summarized the spokesperson.
The latter judges, however, that in his eyes, Montrealers must be aware that an ambulance should be called only in the event of an emergency, and not in the event of a minor injury which does not prevent them from going to the hospital on their own or with the help of a relative, for example.