Fire Department dealing with ballooning number of medical aid responses

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

That meant they would only be called if no other ambulances were available.

In 2009, before the agreement, the Fire Department responded to 25 requests for assistance. In 2010 there were 99. At that time they would provide basic life support to the injured, but would not provide transportation.

In the first seven months of 2011, that number has skyrocketed. Between January and July this year, 340 requests for assistance were made.

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The Department says they are now spending most of their time responding to calls that aren't fire related. Of the incidents so far in 2011, only 52 per cent were related to a fire.

Fire Chief Fred Burrows says these numbers indicated a significant decrease in B.C. Ambulance's ability to keep staffed ambulances in Fort St. John.

He adds the Fire Department is currently working with the Ambulance Service to make sure they are providing sufficient service. They plan to develop areas of responsibility, which will later be presented to council.

The Department is also anticipating the future operation of a new phone system which will classify medical response calls. They are just waiting on finalization from the operating system providers.

At Monday night's city council meeting, councillors voted to try and get a meeting with the Minister of Health to discuss the issue.

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