They already dedicate their personal time to protecting their neighbours and recently, many of Saskatoon Health Region’s first responders spent another day ensuring their skills and knowledge are up to date.

First responders update their skills during a day-long recertification session.

First responders update their skills during a day-long recertification session.

The Region’s 350 volunteer first responders are required by the Ministry of Health to recertify their skills every two years. “These dedicated people represent more than 50 communities in our Region,” says Rod MacKenzie, director of integration-rural for Saskatoon Health Region. “Keeping up their skills and knowledge about emergency response means those communities are well-protected.”

Part of the skills upgrading includes being fitted for respirators.

Part of the skills upgrading includes being fitted for respirators.

Trained, volunteer first responders are often first on the scene in many parts of rural Saskatchewan. They can provide life-saving emergency medical services while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. When a person calls 9-1-1, the dispatcher will alert the ambulance to the location of the incident and while the ambulance is on their way, first responders in or near the community are also dispatched.
First responders practice spinal immobilization.

First responders practice spinal immobilization.

On November 16, first responders gathered at Humboldt District Health Complex to test their skills in CPR, patient assessment, spine immobilization and clearing airways. They also attended lectures on topics ranging from farm safety to post-traumatic stress disorder.