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Paramedics prepare for another Ezra Ave homecoming bash

Last year an estimated 12, 000 people crowded Ezra Avenue for the annual fall party
ezra lauriar
Photo credit: Waterloo Regional Police Service.

This weekend Golden Hawks past and present will gather in Waterloo for the annual Wilfrid Laurier University Homecoming celebrations. 

On Saturday the Golden Hawks football team will take on the Guelph Gryphons, but it is what happens after the game that has authorities concerned.

In recent years the day of purple and gold pride has turned into a massive street party on Ezra Avenue similar to St. Patrick's Day celebrations. 

Last year an estimated 12,000 people gathered on Ezra Avenue on the Saturday of homecoming. 

The unsanctioned street party puts a tremendous strain on all emergency services including paramedics.

Despite stationing six extra paramedics in the university area last year, the Region was in a code red situation for a combined 45 minutes over the weekend.

A code red occurs when there are no ambulances available for dispatch in the entire region.

Paramedics were in a code yellow situation, when three or fewer ambulances are available, for a combined 6.5 over the weekend.

In total EMS had 57 calls to service resulting in 40 trips to the emergency room coming from the university area alone.

Mark LeJeune is the Supervisor of Operations with the Region of Waterloo EMS, he says despite the increased call volume, the rest of the region's service won't be affected, 

"We've added additional resources and have planned appropriately so that our normal deployment won't be impact by this exaggerated call volume, so someone anywhere else in the region having a medical concern can call an ambulance and expect that service from us," says LeJeuene. 

In addition to drinking responsibly, LeJeune says it's important that friends look out for each other and reminds everyone, "first and foremost to stick together and look after your own group, don't leave anyone behind and make sure that everyone makes it home safely." 

LeJeune also urges party goers to bring personal ID with them, saying that paramedics and hospital staff spend a lot of time trying to identify unresponsive patients.

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