LETTER: Emergencies can wait on Sasquatch Mountain

Hemlock Valley resident Andy Ibbetson writes about his concerns on the new E-comm 911 service

Dear Editor,

I am writing as a concerned Hemlock Valley homeowner to inform you of a worrying situation that is ongoing in the FVRD recreational area that encompasses the Sasquatch Mountain Resort.

If you or a member of your family have a medical emergency and call the new E-Comm 911 system, an ambulance will be dispatched and then you sit back and wait and wait — on a good day in summer 40 to 60 minutes, or on a busy day in the winter, much much longer. No help will come even though the Hemlock Valley Volunteer Fire Department has members who are trained nurses, paramedics and multiple first aid/CPR-trained fire fighters, ready to answer the call. This because of a bureaucratic road block put in the path of people needing help.

Imagine calling 911 during a situation where a child or aged parent is being directed over the phone to perform CPR. Consider what it would be like for to be alone and trying to perform chest compressions for an hour or more until help arrives. Now consider that multiple first aid and CPR-trained individuals with equipment and resources are minutes away or in the house next door, but not told what is going on.

RELATED: Fire chief says 911 dispatch system change in B.C. risks patient safety

I personally experienced this situation last week in Hemlock Valley. In an attempt to rectify this obvious oversight in the emergency response plan for the valley, I took it upon myself to notify the manager of emergency services at the FVRD and the director for Area C (no response). My optimistic expectation of a simple, quick solution was dashed when I received a reply informing me that because the Hemlock Valley Volunteer Fire Department is not classified as a “first responder hall” and as such it is not dispatched to medical calls initiated through the E-comm 911 system because the government-imposed response matrix doesn’t allow for customization.

To answer in this fashion is, in my opinion, an abdication of responsibility by local government. According to the official OCP for Hemlock Valley, the government is obligated to “assist the local people, where possible, in achieving the best service available for Hemlock Valley.” This is one of this situations where it gets ducked and dived until someone dies. Last week someone died and I cannot stand by and let this happen.

Until this situation is rectified, anyone living or visiting Hemlock Valley and/or the Sasquatch Mountain Resort should be warned that they won’t get immediate assistance unless they specifically ask for the fire department to attend.

-Andy Ibbetson, Hemlock Valley

Editor’s note: E-comm is a transfer service only. Although callers are initially connected with E-Comm, they are then transfered to the appropriate service. In this case, calls would be transfered to BCEHS, which has its own protocol for dispatching ambulances.



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read