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Play Your Position, Please.

The EMS News network is sadly reporting the deaths of two Paramedics in British Columbia, Canada.

As reported in the Vancouver Sun: “two paramedics -- Kim Weitzel, 35, and Shawn Currier, 21 responded for some type of mine accident - When a mining contractor mysteriously disappeared at Teck Cominco's Sullivan mine, a second man was sent to look for him.”
He found the contractor's body.
The man led two other rescuers to the body.
All three died.
Early unconfirmed reports indicate the possibility of an oxygen deficient atmosphere and exposure to hydrogen sulfide contributing to the deaths of the contractor and the Paramedics.

Know your district, know your limitations.
EMS personnel typically do not have respiratory protection to enter an immediately dangerous to life/health (IDLH) atmosphere. The best, and in many cases only protection, for EMS personnel is to have situational awareness and understand the potential hazards of any given response area. Complacency kills.

EMS has a vital role in rescue operations. EMS services that are not associated with fire/rescue services may respond to find situations to be different than reported. Failing to recognize the hazards and taking appropriate self-protective measures can be devastating. When arriving to find a previously unreported hazard, the EMS crew first on scene can provide vital information and should call for appropriate response.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in B.C. Canada.


  1. Michael12:47 PM

    after the fact I guess it was obvious what was unsafe. You actually touch on a much more important point later in your article though. In your PSIM/MCI Operations classes you kept underscoring the importance of pre-planning. Understanding your district as well as your mutual aid partners better would avert gotchas like this.

  2. Michael - As always, thanks for your thoughts. You're correct in the fact that it always eisier to see these issues in the "rear view mirror" than on approach. We need to keep that rear-view in mind...preplanning is the key.


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