Mission council will discuss ambulance response times at its next meeting set for March 2.

Mission council to examine response times

Mayor Randy Hawes said the population of the Fraser Valley has increased and wants to know if service levels will grow as well.

Mission council is concerned lengthy response times from the BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) could put lives at risk and plans to discuss the issue at the next open council meeting on March 2.

Mayor Randy Hawes introduced the issue at the Feb. 16 meeting. He explained he heard there have been delays of up to an hour for service.

“Minutes are lives,” said Hawes, noting although Mission firefighters are trained in emergency first aid and can answer the calls, there are some protocols they can’t perform. “The Ambulance Service needs to be there.”

Hawes said the population of the Fraser Valley has increased and wants to know if service levels will grow as well. He is unsure whether the response times are a result of less service or more demand.

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), which operates BCAS, has just initiated a review of deployment and demand and will be undertaking a study in the spring to look at population projections, including the aging population, and where calls are coming from.

“The review will help us plan where we need to adjust service levels,” said Jodi Jensen, chief operating officer for BCEHS. “It will help us address patient care demands in the future.”

Currently, there are two ambulances based in Mission and both are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to BCEHS, the number of paramedics based in Mission has increased steadily over the past few years from 19 in 2012 to 25 in 2014.