In 1882, the City of Winnipeg established the Winnipeg Fire Department, followed by the Winnipeg Ambulance Department in 1974. Prior to 1974, ambulance services were provided by local private ambulance companies. In 1983 the Winnipeg Fire Department introduced the use of first responders to start assisting the Winnipeg Ambulance Department on medical calls. As of 2000, both departments amalgamated to form the Emergency Response Service of Winnipeg, which was later renamed as the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.Fire and Paramedic Chief: John Lane
Deputy Chief - Operations: Christian Schmidt
Deputy Chief - Professional Development: Russ Drohomereski
Deputy Chief - Support Services: Tom Wallace
Assistant Chief - EMS Operations: N/A
Assistant Chief - Fire Operations: N/A
Medical Director: Dr. Rob Grierson
The Winnipeg Emergency Medical Services is the branch of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service that provides paramedic and ambulance emergency patient transport to the citizens of Winnipeg. The service uses a dual response system in which the Winnipeg Fire Department has a licensed Primary Care Paramedic on most fire apparatus who can assist the paramedics on ambulance. WEMS has 34 ambulances, 1 Major Incident Response Vehicle (MIRV), 1 bariatric ambulance, 4 District Medical Supervisors and 1 Superintendent of EMS operations. Since 2002, WEMS operates 1 PACER (Paramedics Active in Community Education and Response) which is a pair of specially outfitted paramedics deployed on bicycles during the summer months (weather and staffing permitting). District Medical Supervisors use chase vehicles to assist paramedics on ambulance with pediatric and high acuity calls and review paramedics' performance for continuous quality improvement. The superintendent oversees all EMS operations and if required can respond as a medical supervisor. WEMS operate out of 3 stand-alone Ambulance stations and 20 of the 27 Fire Station.
WEMS paramedics include Primary Care Paramedics (PCP), Intermediate Care Paramedics (ICP) and Advance Care Paramedics (ACP). The Intermediate Care Paramedics are unique to WEMS as a training level during the department's in house, nationally accredited, Advance Care Paramedic Program. WEMS paramedics are trained in Advanced Life Support (ALS), Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and all meet the National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP) established by the Paramedic Association of Canada (PAC).
As of 2014 WEMS operates on 6 platoons: four 24-hour platoons and two 12-hour "peak" platoons to assist during peak hours with greater call volumes. The four 24-hour platoons each operate 18 full-time ambulances, 2 interfacility patient transfer ambulances, 4 spare ambulances (dependent on staffing levels), 3 District Medical Supervisors, 1 superintendent, 1 MIRV, 1 bariatric ambulance, and 1 PACER. The two 12-hour platoons each operate 7 ambulances, 1 interfacility patient transfer ambulance, and 1 District Medical Supervisor.
Pre-hospital emergency medical services and emergency ambulance transport, like all other health care in Canada is the responsibility of the Provincial Government. The City of Winnipeg operates the Winnipeg Emergency Medical Services as a service purchase agreement to provide these services for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA). WEMS is also responsible for providing interfacility patient transport for patients requiring specialty services not offered at the hospital at which they are being treated and repatriate patients to community hospitals. The Interfacility Transfer division uses 3 dedicated ambulances during the day and 2 ambulances at night to transfer critical, unstable and stable patients requiring advanced skills. They are assisted by the WRHA Transport Team: Respiratory Therapists with specialized training for transporting ventilated patients or those receiving certain medication infusions. All stable patients not requiring interventions, advanced skills or being repatriated to a Personal Care Home are not transported by WEMS but by Stretcher Service of Manitoba who operate under contract. WEMS also transports patients coming to the city via air ambulance to hospital.
WEMS currently operates 2 award winning community paramedicine programs: the Main Street Project Paramedic and the Emergency Paramedic In the Community (EPIC).
The Main Street Project is a crisis/drop-in shelter service which offers a drop-in shelter, a chemical detoxification unit, transitional housing and houses the city's Intoxicated Person's Detention Area (IPDA). Since 2009 the Main Street Poject Paramedics are responsible for on site assessment and monitoring of all IPDA clients as well as providing a first line access to care for the clients of the drop-in shelter, the detoxification unit and those in the transitional housing unit. The community paramedics at The Main Street projects are on site 24 hours every day. Since October 2013, Main Street Project Paramedics have been offering HIV Point Of Care Testing (POCT) to clients of The Main Street Project and high risk individuals in the community. Since HIV POCT have been offered at The Main Street Project, this site does more Point Of Care Tests than the all other sites in Manitoba offering the test combined.
As of 2013 WEMS added the EPIC program. The EPIC paramedics provide non-transport medical assistance to common 911 callers, the Salvation Army building and other at-risk patients in the community. The EPIC community paramedics run 12 hours per day, every day during daytime and evening hours. In December 2013, the EPIC program was expanded to follow up with at risk individuals in the community after 911 calls. When WFPS Paramedics respond to 911 calls and identify citizens who are at risk, they have he ability to fill out a referral to the EPIC program. The EPIC Paramedics follow up on each referral and help the citizens gain access to proper medical care or other needed resources. Once the needs of the patients are met, the EPIC program tracks theses patients to ensure the resources put in place continue to be effective.
The Winnipeg Fire Department operates under the parent organization of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. A volunteer fire brigade started in 1874 and the Winnipeg Fire Department was created in 1882. It provides fire suppression service, HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials), high angle rescue, trench rescue, vehicle extrication, and surface water rescue, as well as assist the Winnipeg Emergency Medical Services branch with pre-hospital patient care.
As of 2011, 29 fire engines, 6 rescues, 5 aerial ladders, 3 squads, 4 District Chief units, and 1 Platoon Chief operates on four 24-hour platoons; all units are operational and staffed full-time. WFD also has 2 of the heavy rescue units for trench rescue, as well as 2 jet boats and several zodiacs for water rescue & water based fire suppression.
The WFPS Communication Centre is responsible for receiving emergency calls and dispatching of all ambulance and fire apparatus for the City of Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg operates a centralized 9-1-1 emergency call service for both the Winnipeg Police Service and WFPS. All calls are received by the Winnipeg Police Communication Division who passes on all non-police calls over to the WFPS Communication Centre. The WFPS Communication Operators are responsible for triaging all EMS and Fire calls received at the centre and dispatching all emergency, non-emergency and pre-booked Interfacility Transfer calls. Since 2007, WFPS has been using a central dispatch for both EMS and Fire calls.
All pre-booked emergency and non-emergency Interfacily Transfers are handled by the Interfacility Transfer (IFT) division. The IFT dispatchers are responsible for triaging and assigning this workload to the WEMS Transfer division, the WRHA Transport Team and Stretcher Service of Manitoba.
The Communication Centre uses the AcuityPoint Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) System developed by Lynx Graphics which integrates the enhanced 9-1-1 Sentinel telephone system (E911). This gives Communication Operators the advantage of receiving immediate information on the caller such as the caller’s location and phone number. This information, along with all other information obtained by the operator is relayed to all EMS vehicles’ Electronic Patient Care Reports (E-PCR). The Communication Centre relays all dispatch information electronically to Station computers, the crew’s Tough Book computers (E-PCR) in the field and over the air via the MTS Motorola Fleetnet trunked radio system.In 2017 the City of Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service along with their partner public safety agency Winnipeg Police Service, will move over to a new P25 Public Safety Grade 700 Mhz Harris radio system.
To facilitate dispatching of the closest appropriate unit, EMS vehicles and Fire apparatus are equipped with and Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) System. This along with electronic status heads in every vehicle reporting unit responding, on-scene and transporting times help the dispatchers keep accurate tracking of all units whereabouts, status and availability.
The Communication Centre is staffed by a minimum of 7 Operators and 1 Communication Center Shift Supervisor (CCSS) on four 24 hours platoons, dispatching WEMS and WFD. All Communication Operators are responsible to taking 9-1-1 calls, confirming the address and phone number of the emergency, obtaining all specific relevant information about the call, establishing through security questions if the scene is safe for field providers to attend and establishing the priority of the call (emergency or non-emergency). The 9-1-1 call taker then forwards the information to the EMS or Fire dispatchers (or both) who are responsible for assigning the call to the appropriate crews/units as well as monitor all vehicles in the field. Meanwhile, the call taker may stay on the line until help arrives on-scene and will give pre-arrival instructions to the patient. These include assisting/instructing the caller with performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), or instructing appropriate chest pain patients to self-administer Aspirin (ASA). The WFPS also is respondsible for the operations of the WRHA's Inter Facility Transport system. The booking and dispatching of ambulances and stretcher car services in the movement of patients between care facilities within the cities 6 hospitals and many clinics. This secondary dispatch center is staffed 24/7 with 3-4 communication operators who interchange with the 911 center on a rotational basis.
All Communication Operators are at minimum trained and licensed Emergency medical responders (EMR), and receive intensive in-house training. All Operators are have obtained the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch System’s Emergency Telecommunicator (ETC) Certification, Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) Certification and Emergency Fire Dispatcher (EFD) Certification. They are also certified in use of the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) and Fire Priority Dispatch System (FPDS). Both of these dispatch systems are used internationally and guarantee consistent and accurate assessment of the caller’s emergency as well as consistent dispatching. These system help alleviate problems where the caller may exaggerate or downplay the emergency, and provides the call taker with a consistent approach to every call. All Communication Operators go through ongoing training with these systems and go through yearly recertification. The Communication Centre Shift Supervisor is responsible for overseeing all operations within the Communication Centre and review calls for continuous quality improvement.
WFPS has a primary and secondary fully operational Communication Centre, both with generator back-up power so that all communication services they provide maintain 100% full-time, uninterrupted operation regardless of circumstances on incidents that may occur.
Stations and location as of 2014:Station 1 — 65 Ellen Street
Station 2 — 55 Watt Street
Station 3 — 337 Des Meurons Street
Station 4 — 150 Osborne Street
Station 5♦ – 845 Sargent Avenue
Station 6 — 603 Redwood Avenue
Station 7♦ – 10 Allan Blye Drive
Station 8 — 640 Kimberley Avenue
Station 9 — 864 Marion Street
Station 10 — 1354 Border Street
Station 11 — 1705 Portage Avenue
Station 12♦ – 1780 Taylor Avenue
Station 13 — 799 Lilac Street
Station 14 – 1057 St. Mary’s Road
Station 15 — 1083 Autumnwood Drive
Station 16 — 1001 McGregor Street
Station 17 — 1501 Church Avenue
Station 18 — 5000 Roblin Boulevard
Station 19 — 320 Whytewold Road
Station 20♦ – 525 Banting Drive
Station 21 — 1446 Regent Avenue W.
Station 22 – 1567 Waverley Street
Station 23♦ — 880 Dalhousie Drive
Station 24♦ – 1665 Rothesay Street
Station 25 — 701 Day Street
Station 26 — 1525 Dakota Street
Station 27♦ — 27 Sage Creek Boulevard
Station 30 — 524 Osborne Street
Station 31 — 726 Furby Street
Station 36 — closed
♦ Offers child car seat inspections
Administrative offices and location:Headquarters - 2nd Floor, 185 King Street
Training Academy - 2546 McPhillips Street
Fire Prevention Branch - 2nd Floor, 185 King Street
List of Hospitals in Winnipeg to which WEMS can transport patients.Health Sciences Centre (Winnipeg): Tertiary hospital
St. Boniface General Hospital (Winnipeg): Tertiary hospital
The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg: Pediatric Hospital (part of Health Sciences Centre)
Concordia Hospital: Community hospital
Grace Hospital (Winnipeg): Community hospital
Seven Oaks General Hospital: Community hospital
Victoria General Hospital (Winnipeg): Community hospital
Misericordia Health Centre: Urgent care