Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is steeped in history with origins dating back to "litter-bearers" in the Napoleonic Wars. Early military units continued to utilize medics on the battlefield and devise new life-saving techniques, which evolved into the complex civilian EMS systems of today.
Similar in nature to traditional military Honour Guards, Ceremonial EMS Honour Guards have existed in Canada since the early 1990's. Since then, many new Honour Guard units have developed across the Country, but generally only networked when brought together by Line of Duty Death funerals. A workgroup of EMS Honour Guard Commanders from Western Canada first came together in the spring of 2007 at a roundtable meeting in Edmonton, Alberta. In April 2008, eight EMS Honour Guards from across Canada and representatives from the Paramedic Association of Canada Benevolent Society met again in Edmonton to discuss common ideas and best practices. The main concepts of the two-day meeting were to standardize and formalize Canadian EMS Honour Guards with respect to Drill standards, Code of Conduct and Line of Duty Death response and protocols, and also to lay the foundation for the future. In response to a collective need for information exchange, the Alliance of Canadian EMS Honour Guards was established. A number of initiatives were created and adopted, and a clear roadmap was set for the future.
The founding members of the Alliance of Canadian EMS Honour
Guards are pictured below.
Pictured from left to right: Darren Grout (Alberta Paramedic Guard of Honour - Parkland Unit, Mike Cochrane (Alberta Paramedic Guard of Honour - Calgary Unit), Blaine Barody and Mike Fodor (Alberta Paramedic Guard of Honour - Edmonton Unit), Bill Lewis (Paramedic Association of Canada Benevolent Society), Crystal Hart-Drake and Barry Edwards (New Brunswick Paramedic Honour Guard), Diane Findlay (Manitoba Paramedic Honour Guard), Ben Valentine (Simcoe County Paramedic Honour Guard), Bruce Harford (British Columbia Ambulance Service Paramedic Honour Guard), and Dave MacLean (Alberta College of Paramedics). Missing are Amy Hassen (Edmonton) and Darrell Drew (Ottawa Paramedic Honour Guard).
We serve to honour our fallen brothers and sisters in Emergency Medical Services or those from other Fire, Police, and military agencies and to assist smaller departments and communities who have experienced a Line of Duty or on-duty death by way of on-line support or direct participation. We also serve to enhance pride within our organizations and increase EMS exposure by participating in various community, regional, Provincial or National events.
The Mission Statement reflects what we do and how we do
it. It is the purpose of our organization.
The Mission Statement of the Alliance of Canadian EMS Honour Guards is:
"To enhance the image of Emergency Medical Services by unifying the EMS Honour Guard Units of Canada through the development and acceptance of common Standards, Protocols, and Codes of Conduct."
Core Values are guiding principles and morals that reflect
our inner character, whether in uniform or not.
The Core Values of the Alliance of Canadian EMS Honour Guards are:
"Honour, Duty, Integrity, Discipline, Committment"
"Semper memoria - Always remembered."
All activity with the Honour Guard is on a volunteer basis, although some major events occasionally require the use of personnel reassigned from their regular duties. We participate in a wide variety of functions (referred to as "details") including but not limited to:
Membership Details (Weddings, Formal Galas and Dinners, Funerals and Memorials)
Service Details (EMS Week Activities, EMS Station Opening Ceremnonies, Award Ceremonies)
Civic Details (Requests from Mayor's Office, Major Sporting Event Ceremonies)
Union Details (Union Open House, Cooperative Union Events)
Provincial Details (Lieutenant Governor Events, College of Paramedics Events, Allied Agency Events)
Federal Details (Governor General of Canada Events, Prime Minister of Canada Events, National Memorials)
International Details (Visiting World Leader Events, International Sporting Events)
It is our goal that this webspace will serve as a portal for the Canadian Emergency Services Honour Guard community to have a place to communicate ideas and learn from each other. Please forward this link to your Honour Guard colleagues and contacts and encourage them to join the community and register on the Forum.