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Paramedics race against PTSD


with traumatic situations, while dealing with accident victims and people injured as a result of other causes. “And we are proud of that,” he said. Lafrance noted that he himself does not have problems with PTSD, but he added that recent provincial legislation approval has nowmade it easier for his fellow paramedics, who are diagnosed with the condition, to get both financial and program support to deal with PTSD. Before the legislationwas passed, an Ontario paramedic suffering PTSD and applying for assistance had to name a speci- fic “trigger event” that caused the condition. The new legislation recognizes that PTSD may result from an accumulation of stress due to dealing with traumatic events and

not any one particular incident. “Now there’s no ‘maybe’ if you’re dia- gnosed with PTSD,” he said. Surprenant, who has been involved in organizing this year’s ride, noted that the focus of the rally is not so much a race to get to Washington, DC, but to have a chance to bond over a common concern. “It’s a chance for us all to talk to each other,” he said. The ride is also a fundraiser for PTSD research and support programs. All of the members of the PRAS chipped in $10 each from their paycheques to present a $1000 donation to the Capital-to-Capital Ride. More details on the Capital to Capital ride are at

About a hundred paramedics rolled into Hawkesbury, late on a sunny Saturday afternoon, each one riding a bike, and escorted by police, fire trucks, and ambu- lance units. They’re all back on the road now, pedalling as hard as they can to get to Washington, D.C. before the Victoria Day weekend. They’re all part of the Capital to Capital International Bike Ride, paramedics from every county and municipality from across Ontario and some who came up from south of the border.They all have one goal inmind: boost awareness, both for the general public and among their fellow paramedics, of the risk that they and others like them face of some day maybe having to deal with post- traumatic stress disorder. “It’s important to raise awareness,” said Pierre-Paul Lafrance, 29, one of several dozen paramedics who serve as part of Prescott-Russell Ambulance Service (PRAS). Lafrance and his fellow paramedic, Carl Surprenant, 26, will both represent Prescott- Russell on the two-week ride fromOttawa to Washington, DC. Raphaël Desautels, ano- ther PRAS paramedic, is also on board as one of the drivers of the support van for the ride. Lafrance is on the tour as far as Boston, MA, while Surprenant and Desautels are both going all the way to DC. During the first week of the ride, they and their fellow cyclists

are riding under the Capital-to-Capital ban- ner.The last week will see their group join up with the National EMSMemorial Bike Ride, as they roll through the American Eastern Seaboard and on to Washington. Saturday in Hawkesbury was one of the layover points on the ride. The group of 100 cyclists gathered inside the PRAS station on Cameron Street for a bathroom “pit stop” and a cool down before supper. “It’s beautiful to see you all,” said Louis Rathier, PRAS deputy-chief. “The United Counties of Prescott and Russell are proud to be part of this awareness campaign. This will provide a better life for our workers and a better life for their families.” Rathier noted that the UCPR has put in place a support program for paramedics who are diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the stress they endure through dealing

Drogue et vol d’électricité Deux hommes ont été arrêtés la semaine dernière par la Police provinciale de l’Onta- rio (PPO) pour possession de drogue et vol d’électricité, au garage Chamberland à l’intersection des rues Laurier et Edwards, à Rockland. Des policiers du Bureau de la lutte contre le crime organisé, avec l’aide d’une équipe d’intervention en situation d’urgence et de la PPO du détachement de Russell, ont effectué une perquisition au garage dans l’après-midi du 5 mai. L’enquête, qui a été entamée à la suite d’un vol d’électricité, amené à l’arrestation et à l’accusation d’Antoine Jomma, 65 ans, et de Youssef Jomma, 36 ans. Les deux hommes de Rockland ont été accusés de possession de drogue, de vol d’électricité pour un montant de 5 000 $ ainsi que de possession d’armes illégales. Les deux accusés ont été libérés avec une promesse de comparaître et une remise en liberté en vertu d’une promesse envers un agent responsable avec des conditions. Ils devront comparaître à la Cour de l’Orignal le 8 juin prochain.

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