In 1996, Toronto Emergency Medical Services (Now Toronto Paramedic Services) formed the first team of tactical paramedics in Canada. The team was created to provide specialized medical care and support to any operations of the Toronto Police, Emergency Task Force (ETF). Specialized training and equipment now allows the pre-hospital standard of advanced life support to be immediately available in situations that the nature of the environment previously did not allow.
Potential candidates of level ll and lll paramedics are put through an interview process followed by intense physical strength and endurance testing. Those who are successful are given a final interview with the ETF staff.
Seven level lll paramedics and three level ll paramedics make up the team, and report to an Toronto Paramedic Services operations superintendent.
Training with the ETF is an intense, ongoing process. Every six months the Tactical Paramedics are tested to ensure they are maintaining the same physical conditioning standards that the police themselves must keep.
When the ETF receives a call, the tactical paramedics, who are on regular duty, are taken out of ambulance operations and respond to the scene. Well-protected paramedics can then proceed into the situation under the direction of the Gun Team sergeant and under the cover of the Gun Team itself. The use of tactical paramedics ensures that the highest level of pre-hospital health care is both safely, and immediately available to the public and the police in an area of threat.