August 26, 2008

In 2007, the TTC experienced more than 4,000 incidents of customers or employees becoming ill or injured on subway trains or in subway stations. Of those, more than 1,200 occurred on subway trains, resulting in delays of almost 3,000 minutes.

In an effort to provide quicker response times and fewer subway service delays, the TTC and Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are teaming up for a pilot project, that will see an EMS paramedic in the subway system during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods, Monday to Friday until January 3, 2009. This pilot project is funded by the TTC.

The paramedic will respond to Passenger Assistance Alarms in the subway from Bloor-Yonge Station eastbound to Coxwell Station, westbound to Dundas West Station, northbound to Lawrence Station and southbound to St. Patrick Station.

The paramedic and TTC supervisor will be in direct contact with Transit Control. The 9-1-1 Emergency Medical Dispatcher will always be called, with ambulances dispatched as usual while the subway paramedic is enroute to the call.

“The wellness of our customers is one of our top priorities,” says TTC Chair Adam Giambrone. "The TTC is very pleased to be working with our colleagues at EMS to ensure that anyone who becomes ill or injured in the subway system will have emergency responders on the scene very quickly. In addition, the quick response will allow the TTC to reduce delays due to emergencies, improving service for everyone."

Toronto EMS Chief Bruce Farr says, “Toronto EMS receives many calls in the subway system and paramedics experience challenges and delays getting from the ambulance to the patient. Combining the TTC’s transit system expertise with Toronto EMS’ expertise in prehospital care will lead to faster care for ill and injured passengers.”

Backgrounder

  • TTC/EMS Subway Paramedic Pilot Project
  • The TTC and Toronto Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have teamed up in a pilot project, which will see an EMS medic stationed in the subway system during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods, from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.
  • The 19 week pilot project will run until January 3, 2009.
  • An EMS paramedic and a TTC Supervisor will be station in the Crowd Control Room at Bloor-Yonge Station. The Crowd Control room is located in the southbound mezzanine area.
  • The EMS medic and TTC Supervisor will respond to medical emergencies on board subway trains or elsewhere within subway stations.
    • Eastbound from Yonge Station to Coxwell Station
    • Westbound from Yonge Station to Dundas West Station
    • Northbound from Bloor Station to Lawrence Station
    • Southbound from Bloor Station to St. Patrick Station
  • An ambulance will immediately be dispatched according to medical priority, but if the subway paramedic arrives first and determines that an ambulance is not needed, the ambulance may be cancelled.
  • Both the paramedic and the TTC Supervisor will be in contact with TTC Transit Control and 9-1-1. If the paramedic and TTC Supervisor cannot attend, 9-1-1 will be notified.
  • The objective of the pilot project is to improve response times in the subway system and restore subway service as soon as possible for all Passenger Assistance Alarms requiring medical assistance.
  • In 2007, Toronto EMS responded to 4,182 calls in the TTC subway stations and on trains. Of those, 1,241 incidents were due to customer illness or injury on subway trains. These incidents resulted in 2,983 minutes of delay to subway service, and an average delay of just over two minutes.
  • In 2007, the subway station with the most EMS calls was Bloor-Yonge.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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