Paramedic has served for 41 years

Henry Stubbs continues to respond to emergencies in Summerland and Penticton

Henry Stubbs

Henry Stubbs has responded to many emergency calls and has seen many changes in ambulance work over the years.

On Sunday, he will mark 41 years as a paramedic.

In the mid-1970s, while working at the Similkameen Mine in Princeton, he took an industrial first aid course and became interested in paramedic work.

In the years following, he worked in Penticton as a full-time paramedic for 31 years. He was later transferred to Summerland, where he has spent 10 years in a part-time role.

When he began his career as a paramedic, in the days before B.C. Ambulance, each district was run differently.

“When I started, there was no dispatch. There was no 9-1-1 service,” he said. “It was pretty basic.”

Those who needed an ambulance would dial a number, often to a private home. In some communities, a motorist with a station wagon would respond to pick up patients.

“Clearly, that couldn’t continue,” he said. “We couldn’t keep up with the increasing demand.”

Today, with a 9-1-1 service in place, the dispatch system is excellent.

Other changes are coming, in order to speed service and response times, and Stubbs expects more improvements in the response times.

Stubbs said quick responses are essential, especially when responding to accidents, strokes or cardiac issues, where time is critical.

However, he adds that paramedics are not needed for some of the calls they receive.

For instance, he said one call, at 2:30 a.m., came from a person who could not sleep because of back pain. However, the back pain was not a sudden change; it had been ongoing.

“The public has demanded the absolute best of everything, but it’s not sustainable,” he said. “We can’t be everything to everyone.”

He added that television and movie portrayals of paramedic work provide a distorted picture of the job.

“With some of those shows, you’re looking at a career’s worth of highlights in 60 minutes,” he said.

While Stubbs, 65, still enjoys working as a paramedic, he also tells young people the career is not for everyone.

The career can be stressful and in Canada, paramedics have a suicide rate almost twice as high as other emergency responders.

“The key is to find some sort of balance in your life,” he said.

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: A cure for anger

We say, “Purge it up, goofballs.”

Course veterans seize victory in Peach City Classic

The first place titles in this year’s triathlon belonged to returning competitors.

Sparks fly after dirt bike accident near Tulameen

Trail society says the RDOS should have prevented crash

Cutest pet contest winner: Abi

Cutest pet in the South Okanagan-Similkameen winner for July 13

Contest: Send us your cute pet photos

Email us photos of your pets in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Kelowna families honour the dead by releasing butterflies

The Nicholson matriarchs release 33 butterflies

Vernon writers launch online workshop for teens, young adults

Storymakers’ Raise Your Voice workshop seeks to help women writers uncover and use voice

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Air quality statement warns of smoky air for Kamloops area

Environment ministry says area on north side of Thompson River may be affected by wildfire smoke

Pussy Riot claims on-field protest at World Cup final

Russian protest group claimed responsibility after four people ran onto field in police uniforms

Fans party on Montreal streets after French World Cup win

To city is home to nearly 57,000 French nationals

East Shuswap Road wildfire’s fire line being controlled

Firefighters saved an eagle’s nest and eaglets while controlling fire lines

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

Most Read