Canadian 911

Just as the United States dials 911 for emergencies, so does Canada. On one of my visits to Thunder Bay with my buddy JP, we were driving around and exploring on a Sunday before we headed back to Marshfield. It was probably about -10F to -15F and it definitely felt that cold. As I was driving, I noticed some motion on the sidewalk. A guy was convulsing on the ground! There was a parking lot behind this sidewalk so I pulled into it the first chance I got.

I figured dialing 911 would get some sort of emergency assistance, so I dialed it. The interesting difference I found between American and Canadian 911 is, in Canada, they ask you if you need police, fire, or ambulance and then route you to another dispatcher. This was definitely different as American dispatchers handle everything. I told them ambulance and then talked with the ambulance dispatcher. I walked over to the nearest intersection read the signs and give them the street names of the intersection.

In the meantime, there were a couple people gathering around. There must have been a homeless shelter nearby as two of the people knew the person having a seizure by name and were calming him. The ambulance came fast to that intersection and I directed them over to where the guy was. The two people who were calming the guy told the paramedics the he comes in regularly to their shelter and gave them as much information as they could. By then the situation was handled and the paramedics loaded him up into the ambulance. Hopefully everything turned out alright for the guy. It was definitely an interesting experience seeing the difference between Canadian and American 911.

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