Tribal Council in Saskatchewan trains local first responders

By Candace Lamb, communications advisor

“For any community, to have their own local, trained first responders is an absolute must. It saves lives!” explains Mike Wuttunee, emergency management coordinator for Battlefords Agency Tribal Council (BATC) in Saskatchewan.

First responders have advanced first aid training which allows them to stabilize a patient until emergency medical services (EMS) arrives. In rural and remote communities where EMS can be hours away, having local first responders on the scene can mean the difference between life and death.
Two men standing outside a building by bags of supplies to aid in emergency response
Mike Wuttunee delivers a First Responder kit to Ricky Moccasin in Saulteaux First Nation

Since Mike began his role in November, he has been building local capacity to respond to disasters and emergencies in BATC’s six communities.

While exploring available resources, he learned that the Canadian Red Cross might be able to help, so he reached out to learn more. Within a few short months, 12 people, two from each community, received first responder training.

A large bag opened to display contents of first aid supplies to help in emergency responseThanks to a generous donation, the Red Cross was also able to provide a fully-stocked first responder kit for each community.

 “Having first responders on First Nations is a huge, huge bonus for us,” Mike says. “They live on reserve and they can get there quickly to help while we wait for EMS.”

These newly-trained teams are excited to get started and are already booked to assist at several local events including powwows and a safety demonstration event. 

Building first responder teams was just the first step in BATC’s work with the Red Cross. Mike has plans for himself and others to take Red Cross Emergency Social Services training.

“Red Cross has been great to work with,” he shares. “Since I got involved with them, they’ve not only provided direct assistance, but they’ve also given me links to other resources. They’ve been awesome and I’m looking to keep them involved with our organization in the future.”

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