The safety and well-being of Cochrane residents is disregarded if Calgary gets busy.
I believe residents of Cochrane would be shocked to know that hours go by and their community has no ambulance service. In fact, from mid-January to mid-February of this year, Cochrane was left without ambulance service at least ten times.
We know this because our members, the crews themselves, were sending us updates. And we aren’t talking about a few minutes of no coverage — residents of Cochrane were left without ambulance coverage for hours at a time. This meant response times to life-threatening calls in Cochrane were taking too long — in one case at least 40 minutes.
This is happening because there are not enough crews and ambulances operating in Calgary. When Calgary gets busy, crews from surrounding areas, including Cochrane, are dispatched to the city. As one of our members put it, “The pillaging of suburban and rural resources to shore up metro insufficiencies has to stop. The suburban and rural public (needs to be) aware of the fact that they will not always have an ambulance available to them in their time of need.”
This drain of resources from rural areas isn’t limited to Cochrane, the well-being of residents surrounding Calgary is sacrificed when things get busy in the city. As another rural based paramedic told us about one day, “As per usual, it’s been a shit show. Didsbury called to events in downtown Calgary. Cochrane, Priddis, Black Diamond, Airdrie, Okotoks, High River, Nanton, Chestermere, even Kananaskis was tagged on multiple calls within the city.”
This problem exists because the current government is choosing not to properly staff and have enough crews available to ensure the urgent needs of Calgarians and the residents of surrounding communities are met.
We are making this information public, so residents and local elected officials have a better understanding of what is happening in your community and what is at stake. If you agree with us that this is unacceptable, please write to your MLA and let them know how you feel.
MLA Peter Guthrie, UCP, Airdrie-Cochrane
Suite 1B, 60 Railway Street East
Cochrane, AB T4C 1B5
Mike Parker is an Advanced Care Paramedic and President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) which is more than 27,000 highly trained health-care professionals dedicated to responding to and caring for Albertans at their most vulnerable.