Newfoundland and Labrador has many of paramedic positions available and nobody to fill them.
That’s something David Buckle hopes to see changed.
Buckle is the director of paramedicine, medical transport and emergency preparedness with Western Health in Corner Brook.
First responders with Western Health, the Corner Brook Fire Department, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and Bay of Islands Search and Rescue, through a joint initiative with the Corner Brook Public Library, have joined to offer a new summer program — First Responder 101 — to youth ages 15-18. Participation is limited to 15 youth who will spend time with members of these organizations in a community partnership that will run from July 3 to Aug. 30.
Buckle says the new initiative is another way for Western Health to continue its mission to be engaged in the community, and he’s confident both participants and paramedics will find it rewarding.
“There’s an opportunity to get young people exposed to paramedicine and what we do in the health-care system so we see that as a great opportunity for recruitment,” Buckle said Friday at the Corner Brook Public Library as stakeholders shared their vision for the program with various media outlets in a light setting.
Finding out what they want to do for a career is something that crosses the mind of all youth.
Buckle says early exposure to what is involved with being a first responder, whether it be police, fire or medical, is something he would have liked to see when he was getting his start in his.
“It’s a big decision, but if you got exposed to this prior to making any decision I think you’re better prepared to make your decision,” he said.
Const. Shawna Park of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is looking forward to engaging with the city’s youth because she is a big fan of community partnerships. She says it is good fuel for stronger and healthier communities.
She sees the partnership as a great way to become more connected with the young people in the community and provide a better sense of what it takes to wear the badge and the challenges that come with the career path.
Being more familiar with the role of police and how they can be a supportive of those in uniform is something else that Park believes can be achieved through the program.
“When young people are vested into the community and understand the role of police or any of the other first responders it helps make our job a little easier because then they can assist us with things like witness-type activities or even assist us in our daily operations as police officers,” she said.