Paramedics see increase in calls when multiple cruise ships dock
Published Saturday, July 13, 2019 3:17PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 13, 2019 6:43PM PDT
Thousands of tourists will walk through the Vancouver cruise ship terminal this weekend as they finish or start their trips. Seven cruise ships will arrive at Canada Place over the weekend.
The city's paramedic bike squad tells CTV News that means more calls.
"You get this huge influx of four ships coming in with these ships having thousands of people," said Troy Gienger, one of the members of the bike squad. "We've been fairly busy."
Gienger told CTV News his team averages 12 or 13 calls per day, but it can increase with thousands disembarking from cruise ships.
"Some of these folks have been sick on the ship for a day or two and they're finishing off the cruise here in Vancouver," he said.
Just last week, before the afternoon, the team had already done "5 or 6 calls alone here at the cruise ship terminal," Gienger said.
The typical types of calls they get are for falls, overexertion and dehydration, he explained. But about "80 to 90 percent of those calls don't require transport to a hospital."
The team was established to help with the opioid epidemic. And every day, Gienger said, the average number of overdose calls can vary from five to seven.
BC Ambulance Service has a number bike teams deployed around the province in different capacities, but this team operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily, from May 1 to Nov. 1. There are six members in total, and they work in teams of three.
"It doesn't serve all purposes but it certainly is perfect for certain calls," said Gienger.
It also reduces the demand for hospital transport, reserving vehicles for other serious calls.
When the team isn't on a call, they often spend their time near Canada Place, doing paperwork and greeting tourists, giving directions and being asked to take selfies.
"It's a mental break for us," Gienger explained. "Tourists love this."