from the Pemberton Firefighters Association
The Pemberton Firefighters have concerns with proposed changes to the ambulance service delivery model in Pemberton.
The proposed changes, as understood by the firefighters, will result in the loss of a quick response ambulance for a minimum of 12 hours a day and this will result in a downgrade in pre-hospital healthcare in the Pemberton area.
This will lead to delays in response times for ambulance paramedics and increase the workload for Pemberton firefighters.
Currently, the ambulance service in Pemberton operates one 90 second response ambulance, 24 hours a day.
The quick response ambulance is also supplemented with one call-out ambulance, 24 hours a day, that has no set response time.
The paramedics assigned to the call-out ambulance are not required to be at the ambulance station and they are notified of a call by way of a pager.
There is also a temporary daytime quick response ambulance that has been added to assist with the increase call volumes related to COVID-19.
It is not known by the Pemberton Firefighters how long this extra resource will be available.
With the proposed changes, a 90 second response ambulance will only be available in Pemberton during the day shift and only call-out ambulances will be available on the night shift.
With no set response time for these call-out ambulance, this will lead to longer response times for paramedics and will increase the workload for Pemberton firefighters.
Pemberton Firefighters volunteer their time to train and respond to emergencies in their community.
The firefighters support ambulance paramedics by providing emergency services such as scene assessment, CPR, and basic wound and fracture management until highly trained paramedics arrive on the scene to take over.
Firefighters are not paramedics and cannot provide the advanced care that paramedics can.
Longer response times by paramedics will negatively impact patient care for the most sick and injured.
Fire departments in BC also do not have the ability to transport any patients to hospitals or health clinics.
With increased response times by ambulance paramedics, firefighters will be required to be on scene at these medical emergencies for a longer period of time. This will tie up resources that could be needed for other emergencies that happen during that time.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pemberton firefighters were seeing a record number of responses, year over year. As things return to normal post pandemic and with the increasing population in the Pemberton area, responses are again expected to return to their record breaking levels.
Since the ambulance service is run by the province, we recommend contacting your local MLA and voicing your concerns with them.
Our MLA in Pemberton is Jordan Sturdy, who is a former paramedic and ski patroller.
You can contact him via email at