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Paramedics injured in training exercise awake and responsive

The two Ottawa paramedics seriously injured in Wednesday's explosion during a police training operation are on the way to recovery.

Paramedic Chief Anthony Di Monte held a news conference at the Ottawa Hospital General Campus on Thursday morning for what he said would likely be the last update on the recovery of Craig MacInnes and Reid Purdy.

He told reporters their prognosis is optimistic.

"Yesterday they were sedated, so they were unconscious," he said. "You couldn't talk to them. They were unconscious with a breathing tube. They have a breathing tube in, but now they're sitting up, the medication has been lifted a little bit. They still have medication for their pain, but they're conscious and oriented, so they know everything that's going on. I can talk to them, they can nod yes and no, so that's the kind of exchange, but you can imagine with a tube they can't speak."

Di Monte said this has been an emotional time for paramedics - especially those who are part of the elite tactical squad.

"They're taking it hard, but I think they're encouraged too by the developments," said Di Monte. "They're in an Intensive Care Unit of a university teaching hospital in serious condition, but the evolution is very positive. I can't be but elated with understanding what it means."

He said they're doing everything they can to help MacInnes, Purdy and their families through the recovery.

"My message to both our members was you know, they've got young families in the case of Reid, a young baby in the family and I can imagine sitting in a bed like that as a father, worrying about your family, I assured them we have a liaison officer there 24 hours a day. Anything they need: transportation, go bring the dog for a walk outside, whatever," said Di Monte.

"I wanted them to concentrate on getting better and that we're there to take care of their families and that anything they need is there," he added.

Di Monte is also thanking the Ottawa Police, the staff at the Ottawa Hospital and the public for their support during this difficult time.

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