Don Hunt, Unit Chief for the Kimberley Ambulance Service visited Kimberley City Council at their regular meeting on March 28, 2022.
He gave an update of what type of service was being provided to Kimberley residents.
Last fall a decision that would have negatively impacted the ambulance service for many rural communities was reversed, and Kimberley was able to continue to maintain 24/7 coverage. In addition, some of the paramedics moved to full time.
“Previously our motto was ‘you call, we haul’,” Hunt said. “That has changed. Now a call may not result in a trip to a hospital.”
He says Kimberley has had a community paramedic in place for some time now. Community paramedics provide primary care services to increase access to basic health care services in non-urgent settings, in patients’ homes or community, in partnership with the primary health care team
Kimberley currently has eight Emergency Medical Responders, who are on-call staff and 10 trained to the Primary Care Paramedic level. The next level of training is Advanced Care Paramedics, who are mainly placed in high population centres. There is one person trained to that based in Cranbrook. Hunt himself is also trained to that level.
Currently, Kimberley has one full-time staffed first car and a second staffed with on-call on a pager at home.
“We now have two people in the station, 24 hours a day,” Hunt said.
He says there are some issues with maintaining staff on the second car.
Hunt says on average the first car has about three calls per 24 hours and the second, one call per shift.
Across the province the service responded to over 595,000 calls, that’s a medical call nearly every minute of every day.