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Winnipeg Creates Tactical EMS Team

WpgPoliceService – Winnipeg, MB — The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) have created a new Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) unit that will enable paramedics to better care for those involved in high-risk emergency situations. The specially trained paramedic team will be able to provide on-the-spot care to police, victims, or others affected by a high-risk event.

“In these dangerous situations, every moment makes a difference,” said Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew Swan. “Having a specially-trained and equipped team of medics standing alongside police officers will help ensure fast and appropriate medical care for first responders and everyone else at the scene. The Manitoba government is proud to provide the TEMS unit with protective equipment so they can perform this critical service.”

“I am proud that our front line responders have aligned with many jurisdictions across Canada to implement a tactical emergency medical support program in Winnipeg,” said Mayor Sam Katz. “Through the TEMS program, paramedics will be embedded members of the team with specialized training to provide medical support and assistance in high risk tactical operations, increasing the safety for both citizens and front-line responders.”

Until now, WFPS response to tactical operations required the WPS Tactical Support Team (TST) to contact WFPS and request that an ambulance and team of paramedics be placed on standby. The ambulance is then positioned at a staging area and members of the TST contact paramedics if needed.

“The TEMS program enhances overall community safety to ensure medical support and critical care is available at high-risk emergencies in the City,” said Devon Clunis, Chief of Police. “This program builds on the tremendous relationship between The WFPS and WPS to foster a team approach between our Tactical Support and paramedics when responding to some of the most dangerous situations presented to us. This combined City emergency response bodes well for the safety of all citizens.”

“The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is committed to ensuring the best possible outcome in emergency situations,” said John Lane, Fire & Paramedic Chief. “The TEMS unit is an excellent way to provide our paramedics with the training they need to work together with law enforcement and provide immediate care in high-risk emergencies. I am proud of the WFPS members who were selected to participate in the TEMS unit and I thank the WPS for their cooperation in developing this initiative.”

The TEMS’ specialized training and use of the same tactical protective equipment as police will make it possible for the new TEMS paramedics to accompany TST members, side-by-side, into high-risk scenarios rather than waiting on standby.

Training for the new TEMS unit covers various WPS disciplines including tactical operating procedures, mission briefing and planning, and crime scene preservation. This training will ensure that TEMS members understand WPS tactical procedures and are able to work efficiently and safely when alongside TST members. In 2013 the TST engaged in 155 tactical operations where an ambulance was requested.

TEMS unit members will not be armed, but will be equipped with all the protective equipment that tactical law enforcement officers are provided. All members of the TEMS unit will be clearly identified with a “medic” marker.

Members of the new TEMS unit have been selected from within the WFPS based on a variety of factors, including a recommendation from a superior, various written and practical tests, physical fitness testing, and a police background check.

The TEMS unit is a joint initiative of Winnipeg Police Service and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. The Province of Manitoba has provided $20,000 towards the purchase of equipment for the unit through the Criminal Property Forfeiture process.