Fire chief rebuked by council over first responder decision

Medical calls increase by more than 200 per cent for fire department three years

Ian Fitzpatrick

Council grilled Mission Fire Chief Ian Fitzpatrick Monday evening over a report that shows the department unilaterally decided to respond to medical calls in 2010 without seeking council approval.

Prior to 2010, Mission Fire/Rescue typically administered basic medical aid, often related to fires. But in 2010 that changed to include a broad range of medical emergencies, including Echo and Delta calls, the highest priority calls in the 911 service.

That means when a high priority call is put out for an ambulance to attend to a patient with heart problems, or chest paints, or a drug overdose, the fire department also goes as first responders.

As a result of this administrative decision, the department went from responding to 129 medical calls in 2008 to 323 calls in 2010, a jump of 150 per cent. That number skyrocketed again in 2011 to 530 calls, another 64 per cent increase.

Of the 1,338 calls the fire department responded to last year, nearly 40 per cent were medical calls, compared with just 14 per cent in 2009.

“It was a matter of saying, because we have core members at the hall, we could get there probably quicker than the ambulance — which we generally do a higher percentage of the time — and if we can make a difference for that person in need then that made sense for the citizens of this community,” said Fitzpatrick.

But that response didn’t entirely satisfy council.

“Clearly, council didn’t approve the increase in service. It was an operational decision and it should have been a decision at the political level,” said Coun. Larry Nundal, adding even though council might have approved the decision it wasn’t given that opportunity.

“You don’t have engineering adding three more roads or sewer pipes or anything else unless it’s been discussed at the government level,” he said.

No estimate was immediately available on what the financial impact has been for the service changes.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Mission Friendship Centre holds day-long event

The MMIW event took place May 22 at Fraser River Heritage Park

Mission being challenged to get active

ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge runs from May 31 to June 16

PHOTOS: Sunset Market attracts big crowd to Mission park

Fraser River Heritage Park was filled with vendors, entertainers and more

Mission’s McMahon receives prospect game invite

Roadrunners star heads to Ottawa in June for inaugural game

Two week lock down lifted for Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP target speeders between Abbotsford and Surrey in month-long blitz

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

Most Read