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Region's paramedics ready for massive St. Patrick's Day crowd

Last Updated Mar 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm EDT

Thousands of students gathered on Ezra Avenue March 17, 2017 for a giant St. Patrick's Day party. Photo by 570's Leah Johansen.

Preparing for the worst.

That’s the plan for the Region of Waterloo Paramedic Services who say they are prepared for another busy St. Patrick’s Day in Waterloo.

Despite efforts by Regional Police to shut down this year’s street party, Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Kevin Petendra says they are preparing for twice the number of calls as they received last year.

“We are expecting 125 patient contacts in that area, last year we had 69 contacts and we transported 44 to hospital.” said Petendra.

The reason for high estimates?

The weather and the calendar are conspiring to make a potent cocktail.

March 17th falls on the Saturday of March break this year that creates a greater chance that underage high school students may attended.

Also the forecast is calling for a sunshine and a high of 5 C.

To deal with a potentially large crowd EMS are bringing in four additional ambulances with at least eight extra paramedics.

The hope is the extra staffing will mean service in the rest of the region.

Laurier’s homecoming party last fall drew close to 10,000 people and placed the Region 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.

There was also in a code yellow situation for a combined six and a half hours over the weekend, which occurs when three or fewer ambulances are available.

Regional Police are taking a different approach to this year’s street party and have gone to the unprecedented step of bringing in officers from an outside service to help deal with the crowd.