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MD of Willow Creek firefighters join provincial standardized emergency care program

LAWRENCE GLEASON – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
Local emergency services are adopting a province-wide program for medical first responders that provides a detailed list of medical protocols for emergency service personnel on how to best care for injured people in an emergency.
The Alberta Health Services program is called Medical First Responders.
The care protocols are not new, but are being adopted by municipal emergency services units province-wide, standardizing them across the province.
Deputy Fire Chief Kelly Starling explained the program to MD of Willow Creek councillors Nov. 23.
“We see it as an opportunity to deliver a better service to our community at a better cost and price,” Starling said.
Starling said the municipal district has been ahead in this area, standardizing first responder protocols being implemented by Willow Creek Fire Chief Travis Coleman in 2010.
Coleman said in a later interview that was necessary as the five towns in the MD of Willow Creek are located in two different Alberta Health Services zones.
Nanton, Stavely and Claresholm are in the Calgary zone and Granum and Fort Macleod are in the south zone.
“When I set protocols up in 2010 the south zone had different protocols than the Calgary zone,” Coleman said. “If Kelly and I were responding to calls south of Claresholm we were using a different set of protocols than the Calgary zone. Now it will be better because everyone will be standardized.”
There could be dollar savings to the MD of Willow Creek as well.
Forty firefighters are registered as emergency medical responders with the five fire departments.
There is a registration fee, $525, paid to the Alberta College of Paramedics, for them to practice.
With the adoption of these standardized protocols that fee could be waived allowing the firefighter to respond with the fire departments, but only the fire departments.
“They then could only work with us on our volunteer fire departments and not with anyone else,” Coleman said, adding if any firefighter wished to work elsewhere as a first responder they would have to register with the Alberta College of Paramedics.
Nicholas Thain, the executive director of emergency medical services operations, south sector, said Alberta Health Services is seeking all medical first responder partners to enroll with the program to ensure all agencies operate under a consistent set of medical protocols.
“Medical First Responder protocols provide detailed medical instructions on how partners are to provide care in order to best meet the needs of patients,” Thain said.
“Aside from consistent protocols, registration provides partners access to equipment and training supports, as well as other clinical aids including access to a provincial medical director.”
Alberta Health Services has been enrolling Alberta’s first responder agencies since April 2015.
“As of today (Nov. 24) nearly all provincial medical first responder agencies, including five communities within the MD of Willow Creek, have registered, or are in the process of registering,” Thain said.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jim Pahl Says:

    As an ex EMTA who worked at Fort McLeod ambulance from 1983 to 1987, I wholly endorse this. I am really glad to hear it is being standardized.