Saskatoon, Moose Jaw paramedics launch pilot program to cut back false calls in winter

Medavie Paramedics in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw are launching a pilot project Wednesday to help reduce the number of false calls they respond to during the winter months.

The “Blue Tape Program” will help drivers identify accident scenes or abandoned vehicles that paramedics have already attended. The blue tape on the scene will mean there is no need to call 911.

The idea for this program came from colleagues in Nova Scotia who launched the program in 2018.

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Medavie Health Services West launches blue tape program

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“We are seeing a tremendous amount of false calls that paramedics are responding to, and we feel this program will help reduce this number,” said Troy Davies, director of public affairs for Medavie.

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“Anytime we have paramedics on a highway or road with oncoming traffic, there is a potential risk. Reducing the number of times this occurs is worth us trying this pilot program.”

Davies said a lot of the time, paramedics have already removed the patients from a scene but leave the vehicle in the ditch or on the side of the road. Good Samaritans driving by see the vehicle and assume a patient is still inside, resulting in a 911 call for an already-handled scene.

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“We do roughly 700 to 800 false calls a year which is a significant amount for us to be responding to calls that don’t need us and are taking us away from other calls.”

Click to play video: 'Medavie Health Services West launches blue tape program: Medic Minute'

Medavie Health Services West launches blue tape program: Medic Minute

Blue Medavie caution tape will be wrapped around the outside of abandoned vehicles from mirror to mirror.

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The pilot program not only attempts to reduce the number of false calls but is also designed to keep paramedics safe.

“Anytime we are on scene or on a highway or ditch with our paramedics checking out a vehicle, there is a potential risk there for our staff,” Davies said.

The pilot program will last one year. If it is successful, it will be offered to first responders as well.

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