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New paramedics working here, minister announces

The BC Ambulance Service has 10 new paramedics working on Haida Gwaii, Health Minister George Abbott announced last week while visiting the islands. "The BC Ambulance Service has taken a strategic approach to hiring on the Queen Charlotte Islands and other northern communities this year, which has been very successful," Mr. Abbott said. In the first six months of this year, the ambulance service hired four paramedics in Masset, one in Queen Charlotte, three in Sandspit and two in Port Clements, for a total of 10. By comparison, four new paramedics were hired on the islands in all of 2005 and 2006. Betty Nicholson, acting director of communications for the ambulance service, said the ambulance service held three-week emergency medical responder training courses in both Sandspit and Masset earlier this year. The training was free for potential employees. Usually, islanders who want to work for the ambulance service have to go off-island at their own expense to take the required courses. The 10 new paramedics took the training, as well as about 10 existing employees who needed the upgrading, Ms Nicholson said. Based on the success of the recruiting drive on the Charlottes, BC Ambulance will be doing the same thing in other rural northern communities like Dease Lake, Atlin, Tumbler Ridge and Burns Lake. Paramedics who work in rural and remote communities are hired on a part-time basis. The work is flexible, so paramedics can work for another employer as well as the BC Ambulance Service. For more information about becoming a paramedic, visit the service's website at

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