The City of Vancouver say it’s time some changes are made to the way paramedics and firefighters respond to emergencies.
City Manager Penny Ballem says ambulance response times have increased since the province reduced the priority for less urgent 911 calls in favour of faster responses to critical emergencies.
“Right now as everybody knows, it is incoherent, there is duplication of effort, and now BCAS (BC Ambulance Service) has made some fairly unilateral changes to how they do business without having sufficient discussions with the firefighters.”
Ballem says for the first time, a stakeholder committee is re-assessing pre-hospital care.
“Certainly in the urban areas you phone 911 and for years and years, if they said ‘I am short of breath and on the floor,’ an ambulance arrives within, say, seven minutes. When suddenly it’s two hours later, that is not good. I can’t afford to have a firefighter who is dispatched out sitting there for two hours.”
Ballem, along with the Fire Chiefs Association of BC, wants to see further consolidation of dispatch systems.
She said it would premature to comment on advanced medical training for her firefighters, like what’s being done in Delta.