NPSS students listen to road safety talk from paramedic

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At 9 A.M. Wednesday morning, the entire NPSS school piled into the gym to listen to a paramedic talk about vehicle accidents and the consequences of dangerous driving.

Ted Swan, a paramedic since 1988, talked to the students for about an hour about specific incidents that happened in B.C., what happens in a car crash, what happens after, and how to improve driving skills to avoid these incidents.

He talked about what happens to the car and its occupants each tenth of a second in a car crash.

Swan emphasized the number of people these incidents affect, including family members of those involved, and recommended getting help through a doctor or a counsellor if needed.

Swan spoke about how he became a paramedic, starting as a shipper/receiver in a warehouse and that WorkSafe needed first aid personnel so he decided to join.

He completed the first aid course and thought there had to be more, so he did the occupational first aid.

He still wanted to learn more, so he joined the St. John ambulance brigade, where he was introduced to someone who did a course called ambulance orientation.

“I began to work with that and learn quite a bit about that. And then I found myself in the back of an ambulance just kind of riding along, and next thing you knew, I was a paramedic.”

He is now working at the Surrey ambulance station, but a movie franchise prompted him to shift into presenting.

Swan said that everyone was saying that something needed to be done, but nobody was doing it.

“We were losing about a student a week after the movie, The Fast and the Furious came out, and everybody was pointing fingers,” Swan said.

He started in a street racing forum in Richmond, doing a rough version of his current presentations when a teacher came up to him and begged him to come and speak to his students.

He did a few talks, and at the last presentation of the day, someone came up to him and told him what he should and shouldn’t say, but also offered him a job as a road safety speaker with ICBC, he explained.

“I said, let’s go for coffee. So we went for coffee, and I haven’t looked back.”

Swan spoke about how there were some dark moments in the job but ultimately, how gratifying it is.

“In the end, really, what I’m looking for is for one student to think once. That’s all I need in my entire career as a speaker. I just need one kid to think once and I know that I’ve already accomplished that,” Swan said.

“I’ve had people come up to me later and say, man, I remembered what you said. And that’s really heartening to me. That means the world to me to be able to affect life in a positive manner like that.”

Ted Swan also does corporate work, but he charges corporate rates.

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