November 04, 2011 at 4:18 PM
Comox ambulance station 'worth sustaining'
High-level representatives from the B.C. Ambulance Service appeared as a delegation to Comox Council on Wednesday, and praised the temporary ambulance station the Town had set up below council chambers.
Bob Gallaher, the BCAS director of operations for Vancouver Island, and Bob Perry, the BCAS unit chief for Courtenay and Comox, both said the pilot project, launched in January, was worth keeping in place.
Their remarks came just one month after Mayor Paul Ives confirmed the Town and the BCAS were working on a longer-term solution for a permanent, covered ambulance station in Comox.
Gallaher said that on average, urgent ambulance calls to Comox residences were two minutes faster in response times from the satellite station in Comox than from Courtenay.
"That is not insignificant when you talk about [an extra] 120 seconds in response to a potentially life-threatening [situation]," said Gallaher.
Gallaher also said the ambulance at the satellite station was also responding to about 50 per cent of total calls made within the area throughout the day, another indication that the station is "valid, and it's worth sustaining from my perspective."
Perry said paramedics who work out of the makeshift station have been welcomed by Town staff, and have received positive feedback from the community.
Gallaher also said the BCAS wants to continue to work with the Town, but added that the agency would be seeking a sheltered station to protect the ambulance and the medical equipment it houses from the weather, particularly during the winter season.
Coun. Marcia Turner told the delegation she had been approached by residents who praised the Comox ambulance station for saving lives, and she asked whether the town's old fire hall could be a suitable site for a permanent station.
Chief administrative officer Richard Kanigan said that was a possibility staff were considering, but noted the building could require significant renovations.