Wednesday, December 5, 2012

EMS Volunteers in Beiseker

We've got a problem here in Beiseker and I need answers!

The Beiseker Fire Department is in the process of creating a team of trained volunteers to provide EMS services to residents.  These volunteers would not be full firefighters and would not respond to call outs in full firefighting Turnout Gear.  They would respond to medical emergencies to provide first aid and other basic life support skills for which they have been given training.  They would wait there with the patient until the ambulance arrives.

I have been informed that many of those wishing to volunteer for this team are health care professionals and would not require extensive training.

But we've been told by some that the creation of our medical response team leaves the village dangerously vulnerable as far as liability issues are concerned (see this article in the Rocky View Weekly).  Those volunteers responding to a medical emergency may be highly trained but should not do anything more than comfort the patient while they wait for the ambulance.

On the other hand, Alberta Health Services has a set of policies governing these kinds of response teams and what they can and cannot do.

The way I understand it we are well within our rights to create such a team.   We're going to have to investigate this until we are satisfied that all of our concerns have been addressed.

We're going ahead with the creation of the team.  But it will not be activated until Council is positive we are not placing our volunteers in any legal danger.

If you're a resident of the Village of Beiseker and wish to be a part of this team, come to the meeting tonight (that's Wednesday, December 5) at the Beiseker Fire Hall at 7:00 p.m.


  1. I took the following exerpt from The Rocky View Weekly and wondered if it was accurate. Does the Village now have a mutual aid agreement with the County?
    "The Beiseker Fire Department currently covers the village of Beiseker and provides mutual aid to the Rocky View County, Kneehill County, Mountain View County, County of Wheatland, Town of Crossfield and the City of Airdrie. On a yearly basis, the department responds to about 80 emergency calls, including first-responder medical calls."

    1. Hi Brenda; The Village of Beiseker and the County of Rocky View are still in the process of hammering out an agreement but we're getting close.

  2. Maybe the council should take in account the importance of the vital essential services in their community. They have been brushing off the Fire Dept. needs to make this essential service to run it's full capacity for years. Yes we have a new fire hall but is it being used like it should. It always look empty. Don't think having a EMS team and Fire team will work. You need a team that will respond to all. Fire and EMS calls happens 24/7. Council needs to promote in a recruitment of all parts of the fire dept not just EMS. Whether it's EMS, FIRE or COPS. People complain but they don't do anything. And it showed at meeting on the 5th also shows the community lacks the volunteers who want to step up and take pride in making a difference.

    1. Hi Anony: I must take exception to your comments about Village Council "brushing off" the needs of the fire department here in the village. Besides providing the volunteers with a building, training, expensive equipment, insurance, and a small honorarium, I don't know what else Village Council can do! It is true that we cannot afford much of the equipment that the firefighters would like to have. We are a tiny municipality and we simply cannot add huge tax increases to our ratepayers to pay for this very expensive equipment. In fact, according to my calculations, over the past twenty-plus years, the Village of Beiseker has paid far more per capita for fire protection than most Alberta municipalities of our size!

      In my opinion, the only way we can offer future fire protection here is to continue our negotiations with the County to form some kind of union.

      I have a great deal of respect for our volunteer firefighters and I will continue every effort to provide with the best we can afford!