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Kingston paramedics swap jobs with Swiss counterparts for reality TV show

Two local paramedics got an all-expenses-paid trip to Switzerland. All they had to do was switch places with two Swiss paramedics for a week, and take part in a Swiss-German reality TV show called Job Swap.

The two Frontenac paramedics, Alison Shorey and Harris Lemon, made the trip overseas earlier this week. They were replaced on Friday by Sandra Wenger and Sylvan Schibler, who are working with the Frontenac Paramedics with a TV crew in tow.

A trick to the show is that the two Swiss participants have no idea where they’re going until they land. According to Schibler, it was a welcome surprise to be working for a week in Canada.

“The stuff we’ve seen here, and just the way we’ve been welcomed was fantastic; heartwarming, actually,” said Schibler.

There was a little surprise in it for the Canadian participants as well.

“Our paramedics knew they were going to Switzerland, they just didn’t know where. We have just found out today they’re in Interlaken, which is right in the Alps,” said Paul Charbonneau, Chief of Frontenac Paramedics.

On Friday, the TV crew was filming Wenger and Schibler’s arrival at the Frontenac County Office, where local paramedics are headquartered.

But the project has been in the works for months.

“They said they had found us because of our large social media presence. So we immediately went to the CAO and we asked them if we would support this. He said, ‘Yes absolutely, run with this and see how far it goes,’” Charbonneau said.

Global Kingston caught up with the two Swiss exchange workers before they started work on Friday morning. They were both optimistic about the prospect of working in a new environment.

“I’m excited about all of the things we will see, all of the people we will meet and how they work here,” Wenger said.

Wenger and Schibler will begin their journey back to the Swiss Alps on Monday morning.

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