Tactical Emergency Medical Services
The Program:The OPP TEMS Program was created within the OPP to enable Advanced Care Paramedics to provide emergency medical care to a variety of OPP tactical incidents, when necessary. The OPP has been providing medical support in the field for over 20 years; however, there remains an ongoing need for our Tactics and Rescue Unit to have medical support. We have taken guidance from Inquests, Inquiries and legislation, to bring a high level of medical care to the front line responders and the public.
When it became apparent that the standard of care was becoming dependent on the skill set of the medical staff that was available, OPP leaders began to look at other ways to improve services, not only to protect the public, but for our own officers as well. It was determined that using Advanced Care Paramedics was the most practical and appropriate for the OPP, because of their ability to work either in a remote or urban setting.
To date OPP TEMS have been involved in a number of events, the most notable of these being the North American Summit as well as the National Day of Action events.
Advanced Care Paramedics have a strong medical background, are accustomed to working in a pre-hospital environment, and are able to perform medical acts with a physician's order. The five teams are working under the medical license and supervision of Medical Director Dr. Andrew Reed, the OPP Physician.
The paramedics will continue to be employed as full-time paramedics with their own municipal ambulance services, and will be available to the OPP on an on-call basis, when off duty. They must reside within 30 minutes of the tactical team to which they are assigned. Emergency Response Teams (ERT), Urban Search and Rescue, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives Response Team (UCRT) and Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU) teams that will use the medics are based in London, Orillia, Bolton, Kenora, Kingston and Thunder Bay.
The paramedics, who are already licensed according to the Ambulance Act of Ontario, each complete a week-long initial training and then receive additional training in Public Order. Training is based on the techniques of TRU and UCRT, enabling them to function within the OPP's programs as tactical medics. They have also become certified under our program as advanced care paramedics.
Teams were exposed to the kind of high-risk scenarios they might be encountering in the field, and what their roles are within them.