Special Units and Teams
Within Toronto Paramedic Services, there are a number of specialized groups that fulfil functions that go beyond our day-to-day requirements and offer internal opportunities and support for our employees.
The Toronto Paramedic Services Bike Unit provides rapid response through congested areas, allowing paramedics to arrive at the patient’s side faster than a traditional ambulance might. As well, the program promotes safe bicycle riding and injury prevention to the public.
The Toronto Paramedic Services Ceremonial Guard is a team of staff members who march at ceremonial events. This group of men and women comprises all areas of Toronto Paramedic Services, from communications, paramedics, support staff, Pioneers, and management. Its purpose is to honour comrades of Toronto Paramedic Services and our allied emergency services, and to support local community events by attending parades and award functions.
The Toronto Paramedic Services Community Paramedicine Program is a non-emergency, community-based service with a focus on health promotion, system navigation and injury prevention. Among emergency medical services, Toronto is at the forefront with a number of innovative community programs including
- CREMS (Community Referrals by EMS) which refers patients in need of additional healthcare or support services
- CAN (Community Agency Notification), an electronic messaging system used by Toronto Paramedic Services to notify community service agencies when their registered clients have had contact with Toronto paramedics. The notification allows the community agency to better respond to their clients’ changing needs and support them during their transitions through the health care system.
The Critical Care Transport Unit (CCTU) program transports critically ill patients between hospital intensive care units. These critically ill patients are characterized by specialized needs that include:
- A higher level of intensive care.
- Already on a number of medications via IV and infusions etc.
- A higher expectation for deterioration en-route.
Started in 1978, the ESU is the first and longest serving special team at Toronto Paramedic Services. The unit includes two support buses, each with the capacity to treat and transport eight stretcher and five ambulatory patients. The support trucks carry various medical and mass casualty equipment. Small utility vehicles are used at special events when manoeuvring quickly through crowds is important. All these vehicles are staffed by highly skilled paramedics.
The Emergency Task Force (ETF) provides specialized medical care and support to operations of the Toronto Police ETF, and was the first such group in Canada.
When the ETF receives a call, the tactical paramedics, who are on regular duty, are taken out of ambulance operations and respond to the scene. Well-protected paramedics can then proceed into the situation under the direction of the Gun Team sergeant and under the cover of the Gun Team itself.
The capabilities of Toronto HUSAR include, but are not limited to the following:
- Physical search and rescue operations in damaged/collapsed structures
- Paramedic care to the injured
- Paramedic care to the disaster response personnel
- Reconnaissance to assess the damages and needs and provide feedback to local, provincial, and federal officials
- Assessment of utilities to houses and buildings
- Hazardous material surveys/evaluations
- Structural/hazard evaluations of government/municipal buildings needed for immediate occupancy to support disaster relief operations
- Stabilization of damaged structures, including shoring, cribbing operations on damaged buildings
- Water/ice rescue operations
The Toronto Paramedic Services Marine Unit provides direct paramedic coverage to the residents of the Toronto Islands, offshore sporting events, pleasure craft, and shipping traffic.
The Marine Unit increases water safety in the Toronto Harbour area by
- Deploying trained paramedics with faster response times to water incidents.
- Making paramedics accessible to the immediate scene and patients receive advanced treatment sooner.
- Working directly together with Marine police as a specialized unit to improve patient outcomes.
The Peer Resource Team is a peer-nominated group of Toronto Paramedic Services’ staff from various roles throughout the Division who volunteer their time to provide confidential short-term peer-to-peer support for their colleagues following challenging incidents/situations and during times of personal stress. Members of the Peer Resource Team possess additional training including psychological first aid and can provide assistance to individual staff members as well as general response to large-scale or critical incidents. If the situation requires a greater level of support, they have the ability to refer their colleagues to additional available support services as appropriate.