Tag Archives: Cortes Island Ambulance

#2 – Cortes and Quadra Islands to receive more paramedics

On April 1, BC Emergency Health Services improved the staffing models for 60 rural and remote ambulance stations. Cortes and Quadra Islands are among the 6 communities within the Strathcona Regional District that will benefit. 

“We recognize that one staffing model doesn’t work for all parts of the province, and these three models will help us improve our services to better meet the needs of the community and patients and enable more of our paramedics to live and work in their home communities,” explained Leanne Heppell, BCEHS’ Chief Ambulance Officer, in a press release.

Continue reading #2 – Cortes and Quadra Islands to receive more paramedics

Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works

Editor’s note: According to BC Emergency Health Service, this does not apply to Cortes Island which is allegedly “well staffed with all 4 Scheduled On-call (SOC) positions filled and 3 on call staff.  SOC shifts are 24-hour shifts. Paramedics are at the station from 8am to 4pm, and carry a pager outside those hours.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quadra Island resident Carol Woolsey had the misfortune to experience a medical emergency in her rural community last month after the last ferry had sailed for the night. 

After developing searing pain in her lower abdomen, the77-year-old and her cousin called911 around 10 p.m. on April 2. 

Disoriented by pain and vomiting constantly into her kitchen sink, it seemed to Woolsey it was taking forever for paramedics to arrive. She was relieved to see two people come through the door around 20 minutes later. 

However, relief turned to alarm when she learned the two were local volunteer firefighters responding because there were no paramedics available on the island. Woolsey had to wait for a crew to come by water taxi from Campbell River. 

Continue reading Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works

Interview with Cortes Island’s new Interim Fire Chief

(Transcript of the radio program, with edits)

Eli McKenty had been Cortes Island’s Interim Fire Chief for 15 days when I interviewed him. He was actually the Department’s preferred choice as Fire Chief five months ago, but turned the job down, so they hired someone from Alberta. After five months of a six month trial period, the Cortes Island Fire Department came to the conclusion that ‘aspects of Dave Ives’ leadership style were at odds with the culture of our fire department’ and he was dismissed. McKenty agreed to be the Fire Chief until they can find a replacement. 

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The paramedic situation on Cortes and Quadra Islands

There have been numerous reports of BC ambulances being understaffed recently. According to Prince Rupert Northern View, the Bella Coola ambulance was only in service for 52% of July. Quadra Island volunteer firefighter Marc Doll recently informed Cortes Currents there are times when no paramedics are available on Quadra and ‘any firefighter that currently has a class four license is basically being put on standby because they no longer have the ability to have two people scheduled to keep the ambulance going.’ After receiving a couple of anonymous tips on Cortes Island, Cortes Currents asked BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) for an update on the local situation. 

Continue reading The paramedic situation on Cortes and Quadra Islands

Support for Rural Paramedics improved but SRD wants to meet with BCEHS

The outlook for rural ambulance services within the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) has greatly improved, several directors agreed. Others require more information. 

Continue reading Support for Rural Paramedics improved but SRD wants to meet with BCEHS