M.D. moves ahead on transporting patients

By Rob Vogt – Local Press Writer
The Municipal District of Willow Creek has taken the first step in enabling the transporting of patients by fire departments during delayed response times for Alberta Health Services’ Emergency Medical Services.
At its Nov. 23 meeting, the M.D. council was updated on the situation by Derrick Krizsan, the M.D.’s chief administrative officer.
He explained that through the medical first response framework there is an opportunity for fire departments to contact an online medical consultation and seek advice from the on-call doctor and Alberta Health Services deployment manager. Contact can be made through dispatch when crews are out of cell phone coverage. In extreme cases, when it is determined to be in the best interest of the patient, fire crews will be allowed to transport patients to the nearest medical centre.
The next step is preparation of a medical first response transport guideline request for decision for the scheduled meeting of the chief administrative officers and fire chief intermunicipal emergency services agreement committee this week.
At the meeting the fire chiefs and chief administrative officers will be briefed and a vote will be taken on whether they can support this with a resolution to take to their respective councils.
It was noted this is an important step as the M.D. contracts fire services.
Consequently, these communities ultimately decide if the level of service is attainable/affordable and justifiable.
The council of each community party to the intermunicipal emergency services agreement will review and provide a resolution to adopt the protocol.
The operating guideline would then be enacted once feedback from each community is known.
“We feel we are in a good position to initiate these operational guidelines,” Krizsan said.
It was pointed out the M.D. purchased three response units in 2014 for the purpose of medical first responses, and the transporting of critical patients when EMS is delayed.
The M.D. participated in a pilot project in conjunction with Alberta Health Services that allowed fire crews to transport critical patients. Although at the completion of the project, Alberta Health Services deemed the service unnecessary, these response units remain fully equipped and capable of transporting patients.
They are currently being used as basic response units.
Krizsan also noted many volunteer firefighters exceed medical first response training.
He said this protocol could be initiated soon after the neighbouring communities are approached.
“Yes, absolutely we should, as long as we can get the towns on board and the three fire departments,” said Coun. Glen Alm.
Krizsan said it is now up to those communities to adopt the operational guideline to benefit their citizens, adding the M.D.’s medical first response units are parked in their fire halls.
“I like it,” Alm said. “It seems better than what we have.”
He asked who will present this information to the towns?
Krizsan said the information has been given to the towns’ chief administrative officers and the M.D. director of emergency response will follow up with the fire chiefs.
Alm asked who will talk to the town councils, and Krizsan said it will be part of the intermunicipal collaboration framework process, likely on the agenda in January.
Council then agreed to add this protocol to the M.D.’s operational guidelines and continue consultations with the neighbouring communities.