Richmond will get one more full-time ambulance as the province ramps up its emergency services across the province.
After this summer’s deadly heat wave – when 569 people were suspecting of dying, including 10 in Richmond – there was widespread criticism of the emergency response, after which the province promised to add more front-line emergency response staff.
The new ambulance in Richmond will mean eight more paramedics will be working in the city.
In total, 85 more paramedics are being added across the Lower Mainland, including those coming to Richmond, and they are expected to be hired between October and December.
The new Richmond ambulance will be working out of Station 250 on Cambie Road.
Not only will there be 85 more paramedics in the Lower Mainland, the province is also hiring 30 more dispatchers.
Furthermore, in rural and remote areas, 24 ambulance stations with on-call paramedics will be converted to 24/7 stations with eight full-time paramedics each.
There is also currently an environmental scan and assessment underway to determine how many resources are needed in the Lower Mainland, explained Troy Clifford, president of Ambulance Paramedics of BC.
After the heat wave, the board of BC Emergency Health Services (BC EHS) also underwent a change.
These have been positive steps, according to the union.
Clifford said he’s happy with the “new relationship” and the new governance model at BC EHS.
He said the minister has “stepped up” and changes are happening quickly,
“We’re working hard with all the parties to get back to the ambulance service we should have,” Clifford said.
Furthermore, the province has asked the Emergency Medical Assistants (EMA) management licensing board to see whether firefighters’ scope of practice can be expanded, something some Richmond councillors have been calling for.
The deadline for recommendations from the licensing board was Sept. 6.