RMWB continues strong advocacy for local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Dispatch

Application for formal recognition of Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) submitted

(Fort McMurray, AB – September 2, 2021) –  The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has submitted an application to Alberta Health seeking recognition of the Municipality’s Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) as a “dispatch centre” pursuant to the Emergency Health Services Act (EHSA).

The purpose of the application is to obtain approval for the Municipality’s ECC to provide EMS dispatch services within the Wood Buffalo region.

“The Municipality’s Emergency Communication Centre (ECC) is well-positioned to provide EMS dispatch services for the Wood Buffalo region—and we provided this service locally from the 1970s,” said Jody Butz, Regional Fire Chief and Director of Emergency Management. “Since the consolidation of EMS dispatch, we have been experiencing numerous issues that put the health and safety of patients at a greater risk. We will continue to pursue all avenues and options to reinstate a fully integrated local Fire and EMS dispatch service.”

“Since the Province implemented its one-size-fits-all approach to EMS dispatch in this region, we have witnessed the deterioration of ambulance dispatch services—and we have the evidence to prove it,” said Jamie Doyle, Chief Administrative Officer. “While we continue to communicate this and work with the Province and Alberta Health Services on a solution that recognizes the region’s unique needs, we have not seen adequate progress. Today’s action demonstrates our continued commitment to positive patient outcomes and reaffirms that the health and safety of our residents remains our top priority.”

Joint advocacy efforts continue

This action complements the ongoing advocacy efforts of Mayor Scott and Councillors, which began in August 2020. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo continues to advocate, along with the City of Calgary, City of Lethbridge and City of Red Deer, that the Province reverse its decision to consolidate EMS dispatch in the four regions. Fire Chiefs and administrative teams from the four jurisdictions have engaged with the Ministry of Health and Alberta Health Services as part of the Alberta Emergency Dispatch Integrated Working Group (AEDIWG) since March. However, to date, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has not seen meaningful action come from the working group.