Extreme cold keeping Regina crisis workers busy
“We are cold. When we put on our uniform we are not super-humans,” insists Regina paramedic Sharilyn Wagner.
Despite her humility, Wagner has certainly been acting the part, as first responders kept busy the past week as the extreme cold stretch lumbers into its fifth day.
“We’ve been seeing an influx of shortness of breath calls,” she noted. “High-risk clients such as our asthmatics, our [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] clients, their symptoms are exacerbated by this cold weather.”
It’s not only paramedics who are seeing an uptick as a result of the weather. The Mobile Crisis Unit has also been flooded with calls.
“We had over 100 calls on the 24th,” said Regina Mobile Crisis Services executive director John McFadyen.
“Christmas Day is usually a quiet day for us — we usually do 20 or 25 calls, and we did over 55 calls on Christmas day, [and] over 85 calls the following day.”
The crisis unit runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Normally they help house two or three individuals a day. This week, it’s been over ten a day. Still, staff are finding ways to get it done.
“They’re special types of individuals who are used to prioritizing, and dealing with crisis and multi-tasking,” McFadyen explained. “They have good abilities to address that.”
As the extreme cold persists into the New Year, shelters are full and crisis workers busy handling the influx.
The Mobile Crisis Unit has the ability to house people in hotels if shelters are overcrowded.
“I think we’ve have the capacity, and we have a plan should we need to address an increase in capacity,” McFadyen said. “I feel as though we’ve done a pretty good job in terms of addressing it.”
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