Our View: Not enough paramedics

Too much work is being downloaded onto local firefighters.

Numbers compiled by Langley City Councillor Nathan Pachal show that firefighters in the City have seen a 2,000 per cent increase in medical calls in the last 18 years.

In a community that has only grown by nine per cent, that’s a staggering number.

It shows the extent to which, in many communities across British Columbia, local firefighters are bearing the brunt of a lack of BC Ambulance paramedics.

The ambulance services in this province have seen some high profile clashes with government. A 2010 dispute over a contract dragged out for months while paramedics kept working as an essential service.

More recently, there simply hasn’t been a big increase in the number of paramedics. In the Lower Mainland in 2016, there were 10 new ambulances added, six more in 2017.

But that came in the midst of a huge increase in overdoses due to the fentanyl crisis, along with a big increase in population.

Rather than leave people in medical distress, fire departments have often stepped in as the first responder. Firefighters routinely go to medical calls, from overdoses to falls to industrial accidents, even to aid people in seniors homes.

Firefighters are highly trained and adept, but handling traumatic injuries and medical emergencies is not meant to be their primary job.

The lack of ambulance services – a health issue – is a way the provincial government has downloaded costs to the municipalities of B.C. It may mean lower provincial taxes, but higher property taxes.

Someone has to pick up the bill for emergency medical care.

– M.C.

Just Posted

Controversial Langley condo development earns Advance reporter national accolades

Matthew Claxton’s coverage of the Murrayville House condo saga won a national award.

In pursuit: Langley plays host to popular new dog sport

PHOTOS: Langley hosted second-only Canadian mixed-breed dog trials at Stafford this past weekend.

VIDEO: Self-guided Langley mural walk first of many new tourism experiences

Brochures are available for visitors and residents who want to check out some Langley City wall art.

PHOTOS: Charity Langley car show starts tradition of caring for people with cancer

Ken Johnson wanted an event that to feature his late friend’s vehicle, and it grew into a car show.

Aldergrove Fair Days gets ‘Down on the Farm’

Something for everyone at the 106th annual Aldergrove Fair

VIDEO: Visual recap of Vancouver Island MusicFest

Walk Off The Earth, Passenger, Arlo Guthrie among highlights

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Coco the cat survives horrific house fire wrapped in a blanket

Found in the laundry hours after Chilliwack firefighters douse blaze that destroyed five structures

‘Lava bomb’ through roof of tour boat injures 22 in Hawaii

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers”

Aldergrove Youth Soccer registration underway

Kids from U11 to U18 need to register so that teams can be formed, games organized

B.C. teen meets Nicolas Cage

Filming mob movie in downtown Vernon, B.C.

Aldergrove ‘hoops’ boys raise cash

Successful fundraiser for the Aldergrove boys’ basketball team

Otter Co-op’s CEO top of the class

Jack Nicholson receives 2018 B.C. CEO Award in the Large Company category

Most Read