Laval residents say ambulance response is too slow
Published Friday, August 15, 2014 12:23PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 16, 2014 12:48PM EDT
A Laval resident who works as a first responder in Cote Saint Luc says that it takes too long for ambulances to respond to urgent calls in Laval.
Emmanual Stavrakakis is among those calling on Laval to improve its urgent medical care, preferably by setting up a system with volunteer first-responders.
Stavrakakis performs this task in Cote Saint Luc.
"You administer oxygen, you immobilize the person if they fell... you control bleeding. Anything that's life-threatening you take care of it," said Stavrakakis.
Urgences Santé has a goal of answering urgent calls in five minutes or less, but acknowledges this is not always possible, saying there have been a few recent cases where the response arrived seven minutes and six seconds after the first call to 9-1-1 was place.
Stavrakakis said he knows of two cases where paramedics arrived 15 minutes after a 9-1-1 call, and said volunteers based in Laval could arrive much sooner.
"So basically you get there before the ambulance. Once the ambulance gets there, well the patient is already ready to be transported, which if the ambulance gets there 15 minutes after, they're going to do what we did the past 10 minutes," he said.
Stavrakakis expects the city could set up teams of properly-equipped volunteers at a starting cost of $5 million, and continue running the program for $2 million each year.
Lucia Cartillone told CTV Montreal that ambulances took 20 minutes to get to her home in Laval last December when her two-year-old child started convulsing and went still.
“When they got here I asked them what took so long because my daughter was convulsing and they're like, ‘Oh we had to come all the way from Jarry,’ she said.
Paramedics say that sometime they take as long as 45 minutes to get to some calls, but the Urgences Sante ambulance service contradicts that claim, stating that the average respond time is seven minutes and six seconds.
Stavrakakis estimates that with 300 volunteers, the service could cost $5 million for trucks and $2 million to operate per year. Volunteers would be required to pass a 65-hour emergency medicine course.
A representative for Laval mayor Marc Demers said that the administration would like to train firefighters to be first responders. Firefighters in Montreal are first responders but those in Laval are not.