Hundreds of first responders from across the province were in Moose Jaw, Sask. Sunday for the 17th annual first responders conference.
The workshop is set up to help retrain responders or introduce them to new skills.
“It’s geared towards keeping the first responders fresh, and gearing them up for the events of the year,” South Sask. First Responder Conference Committee Chairman, Bill Cook explained.
“There’s a core set of skills they have to maintain their licensing status,” he said.
From seminars to learning the proper life-saving techniques, attendees at the conference said the hands-on training provides extra clarity.
“All the instructors we had, the trainers, they’re educated, they know it,” first-timer Dezerae Peno said.
“They’ve been in it, and it helps, like they’re not here to judge you right. They’re here to make sure that you’re comfortable in what you’re doing.”
All first responders are volunteer responders, often spending their own time and money to learn the proper skills.
STARS Air ambulance community educator Jason Prokopetz said the hands-on training is so important to building one’s confidence.
His mannequin Stan acts as a real-life prop, blinking and breathing with real-life heart tones. Prokopetz said it’s a way to bring real life cases into the training ground.
“It gives the opportunity for the first responders to experience the high fidelity mannequin,” he said.
“We can bring real life cases and simulation and education here to the conference, in hopes that we can make a difference in patient care.
Thoughts echoed by instructor Troy Anderson. He said it’s his job to ensure first responders at the conference are able to build their confidence.
“The goals that I’m finding… is giving them the confidence to do what they need to do when they need to do it,” Anderson said.
In rural areas of the province, it’s training that can be the difference between life and death.
“Sometimes it still takes EMS some time to get out to a scene, or a residence of 15 to 20 minutes… having a first responder, some of the stuff they can do is having immediate access to an AED,” he said.
“If someone is suffering a major heavy bleed, it’s something first responders can get and stop.”