January 24th, 2022

Council unanimous in support of integrated Fire, EMS dispatch

By Jensen, Randy on August 13, 2020.

City council passed a motion Monday to reaffirm the importance of integrated dispatch service in Lethbridge. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


City council unanimously passed a motion affirming the importance of maintaining integrated Fire and EMS dispatch in Lethbridge, and to invite support from citizens and other communities to assist in this effort.

The motion, passed during Monday’s city council meeting, follows on the heels of a contentious decision made last week by Alberta Health Services to give 180 days notice to end local EMS dispatch in four communities – Lethbridge, Calgary, Wood Buffalo and Red Deer – and to consolidate these services in existing AHS call centres.

By affirming the importance of having the City of Lethbridge run these dispatch services locally, and by getting citizens directly involved in a campaign to lobby the Alberta government to overturn the AHS decision, Mayor Chris Spearman, who sponsored the motion, hoped to put pressure on local provincial elected representatives, AHS and Alberta Health to make all aware of the vital importance of maintaining local EMS dispatch to help save lives when seconds matter.

“Ambulance dispatch in the City of Lethbridge has been a source of pride,” stated Spearman. “We have provided a great service. We have had the integrated service. As many people know now, our Fire apparatus and Fire staff attend to 29 per cent of our medical emergencies; that’s 4,700 times in 2019 out of close to 15,000 medical emergencies. It’s important to have the best service possible. We won’t willingly give it up.”

Spearman said it was important local citizens speak up forcefully about this issue.

“We will be looking for allies,” he said. “It’s going to be important that people who have had the experience in Lethbridge, their lives were saved by timely response, if those people could tell their stories, if they could write to their MLA and copy city council – we know those stories are very personal, it’s about their medical history or those of their relatives, but we think saving lives is important.”

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[…] & EMS August 13, 2020August 13, 2020 tlo4110 This post was originally published on this […]


Keeping EMS dispatch in Lethbridge is just common sense. Lethbridge has been built along a rivervalley that has multiple trails, many developed, but even more that a dirt trails meandering up, down and throughout the long winding rivervalley. Trails have dramatically increased in usage by cyclists and pedestrians, due to the COViD-19 issues.

It is vital that dispatchers know the area, the landmarks and best way to get help to those areas in times of emergencies. For that matter, it is vital that dispatchers are local and know the area period . . . that just makes sense!

Example: Walking along the Bull Trail in the riverbottom I see a cyclist lose control and fly off the trail, down into a wooded area, he is out of site. I find him unconscious with his handle stuck into his chest near the sternum region ( heart area ). I call 911 and tell the dispatcher I am in the wooded area about 600 meters north of Whoop-up Drive, 20 meters off of the Bull Trail, towards the river.
911 dispatch asks “did you day Hoop Drive . . .” no and I spell it . . . then 911 dispatch tells me they can’t find the Bull Trail road . . . .I tell them it is a foot trail in the coulees . . . they then ask what is a coulee? . . . Meanwhile the injured cyclists is slowly dying of his injuries!

You get the point!

Lethbridge has had many Code Reds where there are no ambulances available and they always send a fire apparatus to began emergency aide until the ambulance arrives to transport the patient. All fire personnel are trained paramedics and the fire engines all have EMS equipment onboard! This is an effective and efficient system that will be degraded and result and more deaths if dispatch is transferred.

We need our dispatch services in our city! Do not force this on us like you forced the SCS on this city please! We many never recover by that major mistake.

There must be some common ground we can find here!

One pro – example I heard was the tour bus crash with multiple casualties in the Icefields . . . how often do they occur and you cannot tell me that you would not be able to co-ordinate just as easily with the Lethbridge dispatch center with one priority phone call in the rare case that such an event happened in this area. The example is poor and holds no weight in my mind!

Everyone needs to standup and be heard regarding this . . . send your letters to your MLA’s, the Minister of Health and the Premier . . . It takes 10 minutes of your time!

[…] & EMS August 14, 2020 tlo4110 This post was originally published on this […]