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Winnipeg paramedics to get involved in police emergencies

Jan. 31, 2014, Winnipeg – An internal City of Winnipeg memo indicates a special emergency team of paramedics is being assembled to deal with injuries at the front lines of police standoffs or takedowns.

January 31, 2014
By The Canadian Press

Jan. 31, 2014, Winnipeg – An internal City of Winnipeg memo indicates a special emergency team of paramedics is being assembled to deal with injuries at the front lines of police standoffs or takedowns.

The memo – obtained by Global News – outlines a one-year pilot project for a tactical paramedic unit with rigorous training to start in the late spring.

Instead of waiting for an emergency situation to end, members would quickly move in to provide medical care to anyone who is injured at the scene to increase their chances of survival.

Eight paramedics will become tactical specialists, with two on call every 24 hours and two alternates working regular EMS duty unless called into action by tactical police.

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The city is not commenting on the memo, but Michelle Gawronsky, president of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union, says he doesn't expect the changes will slow down regular EMS services.

Toronto created the first tactical paramedic unit in Canada nearly 20 years ago, and Gawronsky says Winnipeg is one of the last major cities in North America to get one of its own.