SURREY (NEWS1130) - You know a minute can be the difference between life and death, especially in an emergency.
The union representing BC paramedics is once again raising concerns about ambulance response times here on the Lower Mainland after a man was run over outside a bar in Surrey early Saturday morning.
The 45-year-old bouncer is in critical condition after suffering serious internal injuries and Mounties are still searching for the pick-up truck suspected in the incident.
The Ambulance Paramedics of BC claims it took crews a full 12 minutes to arrive to “Pancho and Lefty’s Restaurant and Bar” in Whalley.
“That’s too long,” says President Bronwyn Barter.
“Nine minutes is the national EMS standard and that’s what we hold BC Ambulance Service to and if they’re not making their nine minutes, there’s a problem.”
Barter figures there are simply too many victims and not enough ambulances to go around.
“There are cars down in the Surrey area, and when I say cars down, that means cars were not being staffed that night for whatever reason, whether people were off sick or on vacation, and BC Ambulance Service was not backfilling those cars.”
Barter claims Surrey was down three ambulances early Saturday and says the BC Ambulance Service chose not to replace them, likely to avoid overtime costs.
However, the BC Ambulance Service disputes the union’s version of events.
District Superintendent Randy Hansen maintains actually got there in 10 minutes, not 12 minutes, as the Ambulance Paramedics have stated.
“It’s within the normal response times for the area, so you can take that for what it is,” he says.
Hansen adds Surrey wasn’t down three ambulances early Saturday, just one.
“That was due to last minute book-offs. We did everything we could, made every attempt we could to fill the shift, but were unable to staff the ambulance.”
He also confirms an ambulance from New Westminster did attend the call, but both the BCAS and the union agree that is an acceptable use of resources.