We sat down with Keyano College EMT instructor, Dale Bayliss (centre in picture), to tell us of his memoirs in Caretakers & Lifesavers and the recently released follow-up, Between Life & Death: Surviving the Darkness. Through his stories, Dale reminisces of his career as an emergency medical technician – paramedic (EMT-P) and registered nurse. In December 2017, Dale's books were ranked as the #1 & #2 bestselling EMS books on Amazon.ca. Please read our interview with Dale Bayliss below.
Dale will be signing copies of his bestselling works of fiction at the Keyano College bookstore on February 15, 2018, between 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
“I will change the world if only one person at a time.”
What inspired you to write and publish your memoirs in Caretakers and Lifesavers?
I wanted to share my experiences as an emergency medical technician (EMT) to help people suffering with PTSD get help and recover. When I began writing, my goal was to save one life. I thought if I could do that, it would all be worth it. Not long after releasing Caretakers and Lifesavers, I received a call from an old friend who told me the book encouraged them to keep going.
I published my memoirs because people in our industry need to know that they’re never alone.
Can you tell me about your Follow-up: Between Life and Death?
After building the foundation in Caretakers and Lifesavers, Between Life and Death was the story I really wanted to tell. To take the reader down a pathway of what we face in the emergency medical services (EMS) world, and provide coping mechanisms to help people in need.
Tell me about your publisher.
The best instructors are the ones who teach and share not only their knowledge, but their wisdom. As an EMT instructor, I see how guidance helps students become better teammates and paramedics. Seeing that growth, motivated me to reach out to a self-publishing company, Tellwell.
Just when you thought your teaching days were done, you were asked to come to Keyano College to build an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) program. What persuaded you to come to Keyano College?
It started when my daughter, Robyn, wanted to be an EMT. She asked who I thought had the best EMT program, and without hesitation, I told her Keyano College. It was no competition, Keyano College offers the best program, practicum, and Patricia Penton makes the program work. I really admire Patricia; she is caring, organized, and an incredible leader. It was then that I realized, everything I had told Robyn about Keyano College, were the same reasons I needed to be here too.
At the time of writing Caretakers and Lifesavers, you were hoping to have the ACP (Advanced Care Paramedic) program up & running by early 2017. One year later, what can you tell us about the ACP program at Keyano College?
Because of the wildfire and evacuation, everything was delayed a year. The ACP course is in curriculum development, but it’s our goal is to have the structure and shell ready for March 2018. Then over the summer, we’ll try to have the program approved by ACP to start in January 2019. I’m excited to be able to offer the ACP program. As soon as we launch, the Fort McMurray Fire Department will commit students.
Your Daughter, Robyn, was an EMT student at Keyano College in 2016. Can you tell us about the experience you shared?
It was amazing! When Robyn went on practicum, two of her EMT teachers were past students of mine. It’s funny, she was so nervous at first. She thought the instructors would expect her to know everything. My former students turned instructors were great with her. Before she transferred to Red Deer to be closer to her boyfriend, Robyn and I shared an amazing experience at Keyano College.
In your memoirs, you tell some stories of when you did not agree with a superior or were held back by red-tape. Particularly an instance involving a small child, what do you tell students to do in those types of situations?
I’d like to answer with the opening quote from my book: “Sometimes we need to bend the rules to save a life, but we should not break our morale code, destroy our ethics, or lose our soul along the way.”
I teach students to work together, because it’s the team that saves lives. I tell students to do whatever you can do to save a life. Always do what you think is right, because you have to live with those decisions.
You discuss how PTSD is extremely common among EMS workers. What advice do you give students entering this field?
Know that you’re not alone.
On the good calls and bad, we do them together as a team. I tell students to be there for each other, talk about your feelings, and know that it’s okay to say that it hurts. I want students to know that everything you see in a bad day, is not normal. So when you have a bad day, or respond to a bad call, you need to focus on the successful things that you and your team accomplished. It’s not easy, but our team effort is the real magic of the whole healing process.
In 2015, you and a friend had the inaugural Walk for PTSD. Can you tell us more about the Walk for PTSD and what you have planned for 2018?
The purpose of the walk is to provide support for EMS professionals suffering with PTSD. Since we started the walk, I’ve seen the barriers break down between fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, and RCMP. We’ve come together as one supportive unit to share stories, become friends, and gain a better perspective of each other’s profession. Last year, two RCMP officers joined our walk. In the beginning, they were walking separate from us, but as we went on, the walls came down and we became one supportive unit.
This year, the Walk for PTSD will be on June 2nd and 3rd. We plan to walk 100 km’s in 24 hours to raise funds for the Alberta Paramedic Association. If you would like to join us or learn more about the Walk for PTSD, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me at Keyano College. My office is located on the second floor of the Clearwater Campus in room 205F.
Can you tell me more about: Dale’s Foundation to Care?
I created Dale’s Foundation to Care in an effort to contribute funds generated from the sales of my books to people and animals in my home town. My goal is to raise and maintain a fund for the local Wetaskiwin Family Pharmacy and the Wetaskiwin Animal Hospital. In the future, I plan to include the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation and improve trauma care in Alberta. For more information, please visit my website: dalebayliss.com/dales-foundation-of-care
What’s next for Dale Bayliss?
Keep trying to change the world. One person at a time…and I’m not going to quit.
Where can we find Caretakers and Lifesavers and Between Life and Death?
The books are available at the Keyano College bookstore, and at four Chapters locations in Edmonton. You can order them online through Chapters and Amazon, where I am proud to say that my books have been ranked the #1 & #2 EMS books.
I will be signing copies of Caretakers and Lifesavers and Between Life and Death at Keyano College on February 15th, between 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. See the Facebook event here.
I’ve invited students, EMS workers, police officers, fire fighters, and RCMP to come lend their support. Whenever I promote the books, I advocate the profession, and promote the programs at Keyano College. The more people we train, the more lives we can save.
Lastly, what advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to keep working hard to improve the profession and to remain positive. That’s what I teach and inspire in students.