Province looking at the possibility of "fire-medics" in municipalities
Province looking at the possibility of "fire-medics" in municipalities
August 10, 2017
My North Bay Now
Article by: Aaron Mahoney
North Bay is one of many Ontario municipalities that could be interested in the idea of letting firefighters certified as paramedics respond to emergency calls. The provincial government is planning to fund two pilots in interested municipalities to test the use of fire-medics. DNSSAB CAO Joseph Bradbury doesn’t think the government will have a lot of success finding a community to be a guinea pig considering the potential liabilities. Bradbury referenced the province’s own research doesn’t show support that the idea of fire-medics would actually improve patient outcomes.
Fire Chief Jason Whiteley says the potential costs for municipalities, and the future ability of communities to opt out of the model are also key concerns. The costs for land ambulance service are shared 50-50 with the province right now, while firefighting services are entirely funded by municipalities. Whiteley says the fear is municipalities could end up shouldering added costs, including equipment and training, if firefighters were to assume paramedic duties. The province is currently in the consultation phase for the project, and nothing more has been made available at this point.