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October 30, 2009
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the advanced life support (ALS) paramedic program at a gala dinner
Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) celebrates the 25th anniversary of the advanced life support (ALS) paramedic program at a gala dinner

Chief Bruce Farr spoke last night to a group of pioneers and early advocates of the advanced life support program. He complimented the team for the advancements made in the profession of paramedicine and outlined his vision for the future of the program.

Chief Farr said, “Twenty-five years ago I was witness to the dawn of a new era in the ambulance industry. We went from in-service training to continuing medical education and the future is now at our doorstep. We are identifying and treating the patient at the scene faster to save lives and then transporting them directly to hospitals and specialized medical centres. Our profession has come a long way, and continues to evolve.”

Dr. Anna Jarvis, an early advocate for the City of Toronto paramedicine program and currently the Associate Dean, Health Professions Student Services and Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine said, “It is truly heart-warming, to see how this program has grown over the last 25 years. We have one of the best pre-hospital care programs anywhere in the world.”

Dr. Brian Schwartz, also an early paramedicine program advocate, and currently the Executive Lead at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center Base Hospital Program, echoed Dr. Jarvis’ comments by adding, “Our paramedic program saves lives in the city of Toronto every day. With the pressure on our emergency rooms and health care budgets we need this program more than we ever did and thanks to the forward thinking of the pioneers in this room we are poised to meet the needs of Torontonians today.”

Other advancements in the profession over the last 25 years were discussed, including:

• Transportation of traumatized patients to specialized trauma centers
• Introduction of pre-hospital skills such intubation and cardiac defibrillation
Toronto Emergency Medical Services is one of the most highly trained; best supplied and technologically supported EMS systems in Canada. The Emergency Medical Dispatch and Paramedic teams respond to over 235, 000 calls per year, employ a staff of over 1,200 and a fleet of over 85 vehicles, to serve over 2.5 million people in the City of Toronto.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Kim McKinnon, Coordinator Public Information and Media, Toronto Emergency Medical Services, 416-392-2255,



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