BIG TANCOOK ISLAND EMERGENCY RESPONSE ASSOCIATION
The Big Tancook Island Emergency Response Association (formally Sheila Christian Emergency Response Association) is a non-profit, volunteer organization incorporated in January 1998 on Big Tancook Island, Nova Scotia. The association is a Registered Charity. Our first emergency response vehicle purchased in January 1998
The purpose of the Association is to provide emergency medical care and covered transportation for patients to the Island ferry or to the air medical transport helicopter in event of a medical emergency on the Island.
Since the formation of the organization, a decommissioned ambulance has been acquired and equipped with most of the basic requirements. Several members trained as Medical First Responders through the Provincially sponsored Medical First Responders course Medical First Responders courseand several others are Basic and Standard First Aid trained. The Association is linked to the NS 911 system.
Our new emergency response vehicle purchased in November 2002
Interior of new vehicle
Volunteers are the heart of the organization and there can never be too
many. Not all volunteers are involved in the first aid area of the
association. Some are involved in fund raising, driving and assisting on
the emergency vehicle, preparing the helicopter landing site and being on
hand for Lifeflight, the Provincial Air Medical Transport helicopter, arrival.
Some of the members have done a landing-zone crew helicopter course. In severe or life
threatening situations Medical First Responders have the authority to put
the Lifeflight team on standby for quick evacuation of patients
from the Island. Once the Lifeflight Physician
has approved the need for the evacuation the Lifeflight helicopter is
launched. In ideal conditions flying time from the Halifax International
Airport is approximately 15 minutes. Flying time from Tancook Island to QEII
Health Science Centre in Halifax is 12 minutes.
Fund Raising - Fund raising has been mainly confined to fund raising events
on the island. There have been Bingo evenings, Fun Days, dinners and
draws for some great prizes. Local people and merchants (Tancook and
Chester area) have been very supportive in appeals for prizes for these
events. However, now that we are a registered charity, we are now looking
further afield to corporations and will be conducting a fairly aggressive
fund raising campaigns.
Where do the funds go?
Communications: This is probably the biggest regular expense. "On duty"
volunteers keep in touch with pagers and cell phone.
Vehicle maintenance: Our emergency vehicle requires maintenance and fuel.
Island roads are not kind to vehicles and in November 2002, we purchased a
replacement for our original vehicle.
Training: Some of our members completed the Provincial Medical First
Responder course and are now registered Medical First Responders. Others
have trained in Standard First Aid. During Fall and Winter we have regular
training sessions. First Responders and First Aiders have to re-certify
every few years.
Equipment: Since becoming part of the Provincial Medical First Responder
program, the organization is entitled to receive replacements on the
disposable equipment, i.e. oxygen, masks, bandages, linen, blankets and
pillows. However, there are still some supplies which the organization must
provide. Some, hopefully, are "once only" items like stethoscopes for First
Responders; others such as batteries for pagers and flashlights, ice packs, paper towels, etc. have to be constantly replenished.
What to do in a medical emergency on Tancook Island.
For people not familiar with medical emergency procedures on Tancook
Island, you can do one of two things:
DIAL 911. Emergency Dispatch will contact the team and they will respond to
the place of the emergency. Some volunteers hold pagers which shorten
response time . In the meantime they will be activating either the ferry
and mainland ambulance, or the Air Medical Transport Helicopter.
When you contact 911, you will be asked the nature of your emergency so
that you can be put in touch with the correct agency. You will then be
asked some basic questions and confirm the address you are calling from.
Please keep in mind that questions you will be asked are important and in
the long run could actually save time. Please stay on the line until you
are told to hang up.
If you have a local doctor (Chester, Bridgewater, etc.) and you contact
him/her, they can call out the ferry to do an emergency run if required.
Most local doctors know of our existence and can call us if they feel that
immediate help would benefit (e.g. oxygen administration), they may call us
to respond to your emergency.
If you would like to become a volunteer with B.T.I.E.R.A., please call: Linda
MacKenzie - 228-2008 Remember, First Aid experience is not necessary. There
are many areas where you can help and volunteer input is very important. We hold
monthly meetings September through June on the first Tuesday of the month.
Our mailing address is: B.T.I.E.R.A., P.O. Box 73, Big Tancook Island, NS B0J 3G0