Got Questions? Need Answers?

Recently I started chatting with GrinMedic who ran into my blog and is starting out as a paramedic in BC.  Like everybody before him, including me, he had a lot of trouble finding the answer to many questions.  I remember when I first wanted to enter into paramedicine and had no idea where to find my answers.  I remember looking through forums, searching the internet on google, and despite all my digging, only managed to scratch the surface of my answers.  Luckily for me, I ran into a lot of people who were in the service and were more than happy to answer what I had to ask.

A big part of this blog, isn’t just to keep a nice memoir of my journey to get to where I want to be in paramedicine, but also to help those who are following the same path.  With that in mind, I started the Question page, where I posted some questions people have asked me on this blog in regards to licensing, physical fitness tests, ride-alongs etc.  More information can also be found in the School/Work App Related section and the Journey section, which includes all the posts I have written.

The topic of call volumes was brought up to me today.  When I first started, I was only able to obtain the statistics of call volumes from the stations in BC because I had a friend who was in the service.  That helped me decide which stations I should apply to, and which stations are a decent commute.  Since I’m a visual person (and also because I had no clue where places like Logan Lake is), in order to help myself figure this whole mess out, I mapped out each of the stations that is likely to accept a new hire, especially an EMR, and the call volumes and approximate time of commute from the Lower Mainland.

Now the maps I made may not include all the stations that are good for you, but it’ll help you get a gist of things.  The best will be to get into a station that has a call volume of >1000 calls/yr, but that is very unlikely if you are starting off as an EMR.  So anything >300 calls/yr is a good start.  But in all honesty, the number one priority is to get your employment number started.  You can always lateral transfer after you’re done your probationary period.  So take whatever they give you that is within a reasonable commute.

Below are links to the maps I have made based on 2005/2006 statistics.  On the map will be listed in the following order:  Place, Station number, and Call volume/yr:

Region #1  Victoria Island*

Region #2  Lower Mainland*

Region #3  Interior*

*The maps do not include all the stations one can start off in, but the ones I was looking into at the time.  I will update the maps to include all the stations when I have some free time.

Good luck!


23 thoughts on “Got Questions? Need Answers?

  1. Thanks again for the chats, sure is helpful when the haze is slightly lifted!

    The call volumes are incredibly useful, gives you a good indicator of what kind of job you will have! The pace must change enormously between 150 call stns and 1000+ stns.

    1. You’re welcome 🙂

      Haha yeah it sure is different. Also transport time is another thing. Remote stations, it can take up to 45minutes instead of 5min. I suppose that gives you ample time to fill out your paperwork 😉 Also lots more chill time to watch your favourite movies and eat popcorn xD

  2. Thank-you I am really enjoying reading about all of your experiences so far. I have just been moved to the ready to hire list and am anxiously awaiting my station. It is a little nerve-wracking not knowing how long I will have to wait and in the meantime not being able to ride 3rd to keep practicing my skills. Any advice or information on what I can expect when I finally get my station?


    1. Hi DC,

      First of all congratulations 🙂

      The first day at your station will mostly be orientation. Depending on your U/C s/he will either do the full orientation at one go or split it up. The first orientation is the station orientation where you’ll get a tour of the place, your U/C will finish up some paperwork with you, then show you how to fill out paperwork such as call outs, pager, etc, s/he will also tell you about the routines of the station, where everything is kept, what they expect from you, what happens when the pager goes off, what number to dial for dispatch, etc etc, s/he will also take the time to answer any questions you have. Basically expect a mini “get to know you, and you to know them/station”.

      The second orientation is the area orientation, where a more experienced member will show you the area/drive you around in the ambulance, tell you a bit of the history of the town if there is any, which special houses you should be aware of, any hidden or easy to missed areas, the hospitals you would mostly transport to, how to access the ER, things like that.

      The orientations are quite chill, just go in with a smile and an eagerness to learn and everything should be a smooth sailing 🙂

  3. Hi,
    after passing the licensing exam for either EMR or PCP do you choose where you want to be stationed at?
    thanks alot!

    1. You sort of do and you sort of don’t. After you apply to BCAS you choose which regions you’re interested in, then out of those regions you choose which stations you’re interested in and let HR know, and basically from those stations if the unit chief is hiring/the station needs people, s/he will give you a call. I believe you can only say no maximum of three times within a region before they move you to the bottom of the hiring list.

      1. I notice on the BCAS application form they only tell you to state your ‘top three preferred regions’. Do they ask you to choose which exact stations you’re interested in after you hand in the form? Because there’s no way for me to know where the stations are since BCAS doesn’t release that info. I’d be willing to drive 4 hours to get to a station, if it has a decent call volume. Thanks

  4. Hey, Great Blog. I don’t know if you are still updating it but when you have time, can you please update the call volume. What about the northern region?

    1. Hi Aaron,

      Unfortunately I don’t have access to the stats anymore as it is limited to Superintendents only.

      Perhaps you can call HR and they will give you a figure.


    1. Most rural stations definitely have a kilo car, many also have fox shifts. It varies per station. I’d suggest googling bcas wiki scan, it’ll show which station has which types of shifts.

  5. I posted this as a reply, I meant to comment.
    So, I notice on the BCAS application form they only tell you to state your ‘top three preferred regions’. Do they ask you to choose which exact stations you’re interested in after you hand in the form? Because there’s no way for me to know where the stations are since BCAS doesn’t release that info. I’d be willing to drive 4 hours to get to a station, if it has a decent call volume.

    1. There is two ways of doing it. One is you can accept any station within a region, usually they give you a list and you can choose which ones you’ll accept if they offer you a posting. I’d personally obtain a list from HR and look on google maps and see which stations you are willing to drive to. The best will be go to HR and ask for more information. Also you can refer to a few stations here which I put together that I was willing to drive to when I first started (not a full list by any means of all the stations):

      Hope that helps!

  6. I called them. They said they don’t hire any new pcp’s in the lower mainland. (prbly gonna ask again to confirm haha). They were helpful though and confirmed what you said about specific station choices, HR does give station lists once you apply. I could see myself driving 6 hours to the interior /north to a station.. but taking a ferry to vancouver island is about $67 just one way (for 1 person and a vehicle). Thats $536 a month ferry costs if you schedule 2 shifts a week back to back and spend the night at the station. How did you do it? Lol.
    I live in surrey and signed up for the EMR at JI for this summer. I’m curious, but which area do you work?

  7. Where was your hometown and where did you first get posted?
    On an interesting sidenote, my dad’s friend’s wife is an active paramedic with bcas and she mentioned to him on the phone that there’s better careers since bcas has some political bs as far as the 2$/hr part time kilo shifts go and etc. I’ll ask more questions later…. But I would put up with some politics (and drive to a rural station 6 hours away every week for low pay) in order to pass the 6 month probationary period and move to a closer, higher-call station. It’s unfortunate that’s the system they use, since medics are so important, and require more extensive training than other emergency services. They should replace kilo shits with foxtrot, since 10-11$/hr for standby seems fair.

  8. Hello,

    I was wondering if you know of any way to get stats to other areas? I am curious what the call volumes are for the kootenay area and not sure where to find them. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jenna,

      Unfortunately only supervisors have access to the recent stats. What areas are you looking for? I can look back at the old stats from 2005 to see what it says. I have no current stat info though.

      1. okay. I was wondering about Nelson, Castlegar, Trail or anywhere around there? That would be great if you could find them out from 2005.

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