Opinion

EDITORIAL: First response

Anyone who has been injured, been involved in a motor vehicle accident or has suffered a serious medical emergency, understands the fear involved in these situations.

You are in trouble, you need help ,and you need it fast.

That’s where first responders come in. The dedicated personnel — ambulance drivers, paramedics, fire fighters, police — who rush to your aid in a time of crisis.

But what if help doesn’t come, or gets delayed?

It sounds scary but changes which occurred in November of 2013 have caused delays according to representatives of Nelson Fire Rescue.

Back in November, BC Emergency Health Services made a 35 per cent reduction in the type of emergency calls that require both ambulance and fire crews to attend. The result — according to a presentation made to Nelson City Council on Monday night — is on several occasions, the local fire department hasn’t even been called when a medical emergency occurred.

Frightening.

No disrespect to the BC Ambulance Service. Their first responders are highly qualified and dedicated professionals who do a great job.

But why send one ambulance, when the fire department is also there, ready and waiting?

The issue is not qualifications, it’s response time. The fact is, on some occasions the fire crews, if called, could arrive sooner than the ambulance. The opposite is also true, on occasion.

But if you are the victim, wouldn’t you want both parties heading your way? As a taxpayer, don’t you want to receive all the services your money pays for?

Change, as the saying goes, is good — well this one isn’t.

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