Henry Stubbs has seen many changes during his 44-year career as a paramedic. Stubbs began his career in Penticton. He has worked in Summerland since 2008. (Contributed)

South Okanagan paramedic retiring after 44 years

Henry Stubbs has seen many changes during his time with B.C. Emergency Health Services

After 44 years as a paramedic, Henry Stubbs is retiring from the profession.

His career started in the mid-1970s, while he was working at the Similkameen Mine in Princeton.

At the time, he took an industrial first aid course and became interested in paramedic work as a result.

He spent 31 years as a full-time paramedic in Penticton before transferring to Summerland, where he has worked part-time since 2008.

The job is not the same as the work depicted in movies and on television, he explained. “They’ll do more in a one-hour show than we do in a year,” he said.

However, one recent show has provided a more accurate depiction of the work. Paramedics: Life on the Line, which aired on the Knowledge Network, followed paramedics and dispatchers in British Columbia. While the timeline was condensed, the work showed an accurate portrayal of the work involved.

Stubbs said his work as a paramedic has changed considerably over the years.

When he started working as a paramedic in 1977, there was no 911 service and cell phone service did not yet exist.

While a radio service was in place in the valley, it did not cover rural areas in the mountains.

Now, with a dispatch service and cell phone service, paramedics have much better communications than they did when he started. This also makes the job safer.

“If we need help, we can talk to dispatch,” he said.

There are still some areas without communications, but the coverage is far better than it was.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also brought changes to his role as a paramedic, as masks and gloves are now worn on every call. When paramedics arrive at a call, they conduct a brief interview to determine if they need to wear full personal protective equipment.

In the early days of the pandemic, the rules and protocols were changing almost daily, he said.

Even now, more than a year into the pandemic, dealing with COVID-19 is still rough on first responders, he said.

While paramedic work has evolved over the years, Stubbs said the unpredictability is what he has enjoyed the most during his career.

However, the work is not for everyone, he added. For this reason, he suggests those interested in paramedic work also have another career plan.

“It’s a physical job. There’s not a whole lot of glamour in it,” he said. “It”s a good idea to have something else to fall back on.”

Healthcare

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
Kootenay-Columbia MP pans federal budget

Conservative Rob Morrison says budget doesn’t have a plan for long-term spending priorities

A view of the Jordan River from the trail in the area, during the summer. There are two new gravel pits up for consideration by the province. The area is deemed to be ecologically sensitive. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
LETTER: When did Revelstoke become gravel pit central?

Two new gravel pits are being proposed near the Jordan River

Photo: pixabay.com
Morning Start: Why do dogs like squeaky toys?

Your morning start for Tuesday, April 20, 2021

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Most Read