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MD of Willow Creek Reeve Earl Hemmaway wants EMS dispatch improved

LAWRENCE GLEASON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
earl hemmaway

MD of Willow Creek Reeve Earl Hemmaway sent a strongly worded letter to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson with concerns about dispatch for ambulance and emergency services in southern Alberta.
The Feb. 10 letter was sent in support of the Foothills Regional Emergency Services Commission to restore emergency services dispatch back to levels the area had previous to government moves to consolidate dispatch services.
Hemmaway also supported what is being called a “satellite model” for dispatch service.
The “satellite model” is being suggested by the Foothills Regional Emergency Services Commission, in which dispatch would come from five regions in southern Alberta, the Foothills region and four urban centers, Red Deer, Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.
The move by the province to consolidate dispatch services began in 2009.
Hemmaway wrote, “The plan to consolidate EMS dispatch has been fraught with problems and poor service to Albertans.”
Hemmaway added, “The negative results associated with fire-EMS dispatch include lack of service response co-ordination, poor rural area knowledge, time delays and gaps in coverage.”
Hemmaway wrote the satellite model is a solution that “should be extended to our municipality, served by Foothills Regional Emergency Services Commission,” and added EMS dispatch service should give “rural Albertans a chance for service that equals that which is afforded to urban Albertans.”

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