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Crack paramedics chasing down emergency global gold

Richmond-based Team Canada aiming to go one better than silver medals in 2012 and 2013

Kevin Lambert is trying to calm down a distraught cyclist, who appears to have broken her arm, but is worried about her dad, who has collapsed next to her after crashing into his daughter and tumbling off his bike in Richmond.

Rico Ruffy and Chris Naples, meanwhile, are attending to the father, not knowing that, moments earlier, the arrhythmia sufferer had lost consciousness and collided with his daughter.

Thankfully, the father and daughter are volunteers, acting out a role as victims, and Lambert, Ruffy and Naples are Team Canada — a trio of Richmond-based paramedics training to go for gold at the famed Rejviz Rally, a global medical rescue competition held annually in the Czech Republic.

Their mock emergency, played out at the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS)’s Richmond HQ at No. 1 and Williams roads, is all part of the plan to grab the gold medal in Europe in two weeks’ time.

And with the team already having two silver medals on their fireplaces from 2012 and 2013, the guys are rightly feeling confident about going one better this time.

“The smallest of decisions can be the difference; there are about 10,000 points up for grabs and literally only a couple of hundred points separates the top teams at the end,” said Lambert, a CCP (critical care transport paramedic) based out of YVR.

“Fatigue can be a big part of it, but we often pull long 12-hour plus shifts here.

“I like our chances this year, though; we’ve been training well and we’ve finished second twice, so we know what it’s all about.”

Retired advanced paramedic Clarke McGuire — Team Canada’s trainer, who has been to the competition six times and is returning again this year as a judge — said winning the gold comes down to a few moments over the event’s arduous three days.

“It totally depends on the scenario and how it’s judged; it’s very subjective,” said McGuire, who actually won gold at the international event in 2005.

“Australia won the last time we were there but were sixth the year before so…”

Over the last few months, McGuire has asked the team — which includes manager John Richmond, for 10 days of their own time to prepare for the title assault — which has been scooped up in the past by the Americans.

As well as the U.S. and the Aussies, other countries represented include Japan, Hungary, Germany, Poland, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ireland and the Czech and Slovak Republics.

“It’s so much fun and you get to meet colleagues from around the world and realize we have so much in common, but also so much more we can learn from each other,” said McGuire.

“In the Czech Republic, for example, they have First Aid competitions from elementary school age upwards; the kids there can deal with just about any First Aid situation at home.”

Team Canada leaves Richmond for the competition in the Czech Republic on May 24.