Kelowna Advanced Life Support Paramedic, Karl Konneke, pictured with the blue advanced life-support backpack, which was stolen from a BCEHS vehicle early Saturday (April 11) morning. (Photo - BCEHS)

‘Incredibly disheartening’ say Kelowna paramedics after vehicle broken into, equipment stolen

“Someone stealing from one of our emergency response vehicles at a time like this is hard to take.”

Kelowna paramedics are pleading to the public for information after medical equipment was stolen from one of their vehicles last night.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) explained that the equipment taken is very specialized, used by an Advanced Life Support Paramedic, supplies they say make a difference during treatment of a critical patient.

“It’s no secret, but during this pandemic it’s putting a real strain on our supplies, medical supplies and PPE (personal protective equipment) supplies,” said BCEHS Central Okanagan District Manager, Michael Boyarski. “And so paramedics are being very vigilent to conserve, safe-guard, try to protect our equipment.

“This break-in is incredibly disheartening. We need everything we’ve got to do our work.”

In the early morning hours of Saturday, April 11, some time between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., one of Kelowna’s BCEHS support vehicles, parked outside BC Ambulance station 341 in Rutland, was broken into. The thief entered the vehicle through a side window on the canopy of the truck.

Some equipment was rummaged through, but the equipment stolen was a very large, backpack-style medical kit.

Kelowna Advanced Life Support Paramedic, Karl Konneke, pictured with the advanced life support backpack, which was stolen from a BCEHS vehicle early Saturday (April 11) morning. (Photo – BCEHS)

“Most of this equipment is very specialized, it has no real value to the public,” explained Boyarski. “But for an advanced life support paramedic, this equipment can make a difference when treating a critical patient.”

This is the first time a Kelowna BCEHS vehicle has been broken into in this fashion, explained the district manager.

In times like these, he says their crews are encouraged by the support from the public.

“There’s no question that working on the frontlines of a health crisis is going to take its toll on us, but we are heartened when we see signs of gratitude hung in people’s windows, when people wave at us, when we hear cheering every night at 7 o’clock – these are the things that keep us going,” he said.

“But someone stealing from one of our emergency response vehicles at a time like this is hard to take, especially stealing specialized equipment that’s needed for our most critical patients.”

If you find this specialized backpack, contact Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

READ MORE: Alberta to send protective equipment, ventilators to B.C., Quebec, Ontario

READ MORE: Testing continues at two COVID-19 outbreaks in Okanagan


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