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In the spring, Adam Loria, a 2005 graduate of SAIT’s Emergency Medical Technician (paramedic) program is usually out and about visiting dozens of schools, seniors’ centres and attending many public events to extoll the virtues of Alberta Health Services Emergency Medical Service (EMS). As an EMS Public Education Officer, Loria says springtime is usually his busiest time of year.
Of course “busy” has taken on a whole new meaning now that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit our community hard. Loria’s main job these days is to sit hunkered down at his computer and send out vital safety and health information, mainly through social media.
“This is not an exercise, not a joke,” says Loria, the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipient.
“You need to be staying at home; you need to be distancing yourself. This isn’t a situation that’s going to be over in a week. It keeps evolving so we need to keep spreading the message. Here at EMS it’s all hands on deck for pandemic planning, assessment and execution. My role is proactive public messaging to ensure that Albertans take the proper precautions.
Even though this pandemic and our response to it is unprecedented, Loria says his SAIT training is definitely serving him well.
“As paramedic students at SAIT we learned how to cope with ‘mass-casualty incidents’ which is somewhat similar to what we’re going through. As students we learned how to communicate with the public and that communication it’s extremely important when there’s a cataclysmic event that effects a big population.”
He adds, “We also learned daily about the importance of personal protective equipment. Every day there is a lot of donning and doffing of gloves and masks and other PPE to protect ourselves and our patients. That’s extremely important for my colleagues on the front lines.”
Another part of Loria’s job is helping to boost morale of front-line paramedics, many of whom are also SAIT grads.
“We’re working hard to keep our troops motivated. They’re in the hot zones multiple times a day. That can get to you. Part of my job is to promote the great work that our paramedics are doing on a daily basis.”
Loria adds that, in addition to healthcare workers, there’s a long list of people who are placing themselves at risk while they’re contributing to our community. “They are doing essential work at grocery stores and care homes and many other places. Some are taking care of their sick family members. Hats off to anybody and everybody who needs to be out working away from home and I hope they’re staying safe.”
Find out more about SAIT’s everyday heroes – the front-line alumni, instructors, employees and students using their skills to make a difference.