As someone who frequently moves throughout Vancouver, I have pretty much gotten used to the familiar sounds of the city. I’m talking about the drugged up residents of DTES shouting profanities, the occasional dog yapping like crazy, and of course, one of the most common sounds, the sirens. When those come around, it usually means someone is injured or experiencing some kind of problem… again. Yes, it’s true. You hear sirens around the area all the time. Sometimes, it’s drug usage, sometimes it’s an injury, sometimes it’s a whole other story. In fact, it could be any story, when it comes to this series, there’s lots of stories. In Paramedics (Life On The Line), viewers get an inside look on the lives of Vancouver’s emergency squads as they speed to the rescue of anybody in town. Every episode has a similar layout featuring a handful of employees who share their experiences accompanied with live footage during the interviews. Most segments feature the adventures of paramedics as they rush out to the scene in their vehicles and save people. Those particular stories feature people who are drugged out, or simply injured, or in the rare case, dead. Sometimes these story segments continue forward bringing the patients into the hospital where they are dropped off and hopefully recovering, nobody really knows as that’s usually where the camera stops. Other segments of the show take place at the Dispatch Operations Centre. At the DOC, people on the line take calls from people who are experiencing very strange situations or even some dangerous scenarios, involving weapons and/or intoxication.
One of the greatest things about this series is that it shows the systematics of what happens behind the calls and transportations. It shows that paramedics can have great senses of humour and be as friendly as possible just to make the experience seem more pleasant. Sometimes, viewers are treated to the process of how recovery methods in ambulances are done, and learn some interesting new terms and facts from and about the medical business. It also explained that in Vancouver, the majority of callers are senior citizens with severe health conditions. Examples of health conditions include instability with movement or standing, and some involve medication problems, and some have completely different reasons altogether. The stories recorded in this documentary give a variety of mixed feelings from a couple snickers to a nervous wreck expression. It makes you wonder how some of these people get into these situations especially of the very odd variety, and then you find yourself gaining some sympathy for people in some more dreadful situations. I did feel kind of creeped out from some of the visuals that happened during the stories but I also learned a lot about the medical world and how things work, especially since I’ve never rode in an ambulance… yet. While the show may not seem like much in structure, there certainly are a lot of stories and backstories, and it’s definitely worth checking out, even if it’s only 10 episodes long.