Valemount hiring 12 positions; Blue River adding FT unit chief

By Laura Keil

Members of the local ambulance stations are hoping to change the perception of the work they do and attract more people to join the ambulance service. Valemount is currently hiring one full-time position and 11 part-time casual positions. Blue River will be adding one full-time unit chief position and McBride is converting its station to a 24/7 Alpha model, meaning two full-time staff members will be present at the station at all times, as well as two more on-call. Currently McBride staff members are on-call only.

The McBride station does not currently have accommodations, however, meaning rooms will need to be built or leased before the Alpha designation comes into effect in March.

At an open house Nov 23rd, Valemount acting unit chief Ryan Howard said joining the ambulance is a way to give back to the community and is personally rewarding.

“We’re encouraging people to participate in their community,” he said. “There’s a great career package and lifelong learning.”

Last year the Valemount station transitioned to a 24-7 Alpha station, meaning two ambulance workers are at the station at all times, plus two are on call (if staffing is available). But with staffing shortages, not all time slots are being filled.

Valemount paramedic Penny Waechter says the biggest reason she hears for people not joining the ambulance is that they “couldn’t do that work.”

“The majority of calls are feel-good calls, not feel-bad calls,” she says.

Howard says there’s a lot of flexibility in casual positions – a person could choose to only work days or only work nights depending on their preference, and can pick which days they’re available.

Several ambulance workers agree that the on-call shifts would be great for someone who is studying or involved in a hobby they could drop if a call comes in. Some people even work other jobs, if they’re self-employed or if their employer can provide flexible time-off.

Recent changes to ambulance employees’ contracts mean they now get paid a $12/hour stipend to carry a pager, which is added to their regular wage if they receive a call. Every call receives four hours of regular pay. So an EMT would receive their regular wage (which starts at $29.48/hour and goes up to $36.47/hour after 3 years) plus $12/hour for that 4-hour period.

Recruitment coordinator Michael Saat says there is also ongoing education paid by the employer and a benefits package.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Valemount station can contact Howard at [email protected]

To apply for a job or learn more details about careers at the ambulance, email recruitment at [email protected]