Taking Flight with APL – Lyle Barron, Flight Medic, Peace River Station

Posted In: Our Stories. Posted On: December 13, 2023.

Taking Flight with APL

Lyle Barron, Flight Medic, Peace River Station

Originally from a small fishing village in Nova Scotia, Lyle Barron now lives in Edmonton and serves as a flight medic at the Peace River Station.

With previous experience as a paramedic, Lyle happened upon APL by chance and took flight in his new role in March of 2021.

“After the pandemic hit, a lot of industrial contracts for paramedics were being cancelled, and I happened to find a posting on LinkedIn for a flight position in Peace River,” said Lyle. “I’ve worked as a paramedic on land and sea and thought now is as good as time as any to try my luck being a paramedic in the air.”

Now, as a full-time medic at the APL station in Peace River, Lyle has come to thoroughly enjoy his new role in the air. After 30 years of being in EMS, he has found that there are still many opportunities to learn and grow on the job.

“Since starting with APL, I’ve learned many new things such as applying flight physiology to paramedicine, which is something I’ve never encountered with my previous jobs,” said Lyle.

On top of that, Lyle has learned that a job within EMS is always vastly different than a traditional career, especially when it comes to expectations and actual outcomes.

“In EMS you can do everything right and the outcome may still be poor for a patient. You must learn to take small victories when you find them,” said Lyle.

As a medic, Lyle has come to appreciate the variety of lifestyles and patients from all walks of life and meeting people from a wide range of socioeconomic statuses while on the job.

“This job really drives home the values of compassion, empathy and equality amongst all,” said Lyle.

Working for APL has been a refreshing and exciting career move for Lyle, especially because he has had the opportunity to meet and work with many wonderful people. With strong support systems in place, there is a sense of community within the organization.

“At APL I find that management and coworkers alike truly want everyone to succeed and thrive,” said Lyle.

Starting at APL was Lyle’s first introduction to Critical Care and being away from mainstream emergency medicine. He had his reservations about whether he could rise to the occasion and take on the tasks before him but was pleasantly surprised with how supportive his team was in helping him transition.

“My Team Leads and fellow coworkers were more than understanding and continue to be so helpful,” said Lyle. “APL has been steadily building and improving new hire education and I’m excited to see where APL will be in another five or ten years.”

As an active advocate for mental health, Lyle recognizes that working in EMS comes with its own set of challenges and protecting the mental health of workers needs to be prioritized.

“My advocacy for mental health in the profession is a painfully bittersweet one,” said Lyle. “Unfortunately, we’ve lost too many collogues and friends to this profession to not advocate for improvements.”

When Lyle started his career in 1994, the mentality among senior medics was to “suck it up” and deal with things alone. Recognizing that this can lead to further problems, Lyle has made it his mission to generate change.

“This mindset has to stop. We must look after ourselves and each other,” said Lyle. “I have and continue to deal with PTSD, as many of my fellow coworkers do and the saddest part is that so many people are suffering in silence.”

Lyle admires APL for taking charge and putting in a variety of supports for mental health, especially with their recent partnership with OSI-CAN. He feels that this alone will start to normalize more conversations surrounding mental health in the workplace and will create an even closer atmosphere among workers.

“If you or somebody you know is having issues or isn’t themselves, please start the conversation,” said Lyle. “Ask them how they are, offer them the tools and supports we have in place, whether it be OSI-CAN, assistance through our benefits package, or encouraging them to utilize the CMHA website.”

Discussing mental health can be difficult to talk about and Lyle acknowledges that there is still a lot of stigmas attached to mental health issues. By continuing to advocate for normalcy surrounding these topics, he hopes to create change for the future.

“Eventually, I’d like to see mental health discussions be as common as talking about a sprained ankle or a common cold,” said Lyle. “We need to get to a place where a workplace injury to the mind is easy to talk about and get help for.”