Letter: Dangerous directive in Port Coquitlam needs to change

The Editor, Re. “Continued fight over fire/ambo dispatching” (The Tri-City News, April 11).

The Editor,

Re. “Continued fight over fire/ambo dispatching” (The Tri-City News, April 11).

article continues below

A leaked internal directive from the fire chief of Port Coquitlam directs city employees when calling for a medical emergency at city facilities to instead of asking for an ambulance, request to talk to the fire dispatcher so that they can attend the call.

The fire chief goes on to insist that an ambulance will not be delayed but, in reality an ambulance is delayed three to seven minutes. If you are having a heart attack or stroke, this time is priceless and can never be recovered. But the fire department will arrive and apparently everything will be all right.

Mayor Brad West and PoCo city council were obviously misinformed. City facilities have, by law, first aid on site that is equally qualified as fire first responders and, therefore, there is no issue with liability.

But a city employee delaying an ambulance potentially opens the community to civil litigation.

The 911 system is utilized by thousands of communities across North America. It’s effective and citizens know how to use the system when needed.

To change the rules invites confusion, delays and potentially worsens outcomes.

If Mayor West and council are so sure of this directive, then why was it hidden from the residents of Port Coquitlam? Why are we the only community to move in this direction?

For a group of elected officials that promised transparency this is certainly not it.

In my opinion, this affects the safety, health and outcome of our residents and their families.

Time to re-think this directive.

Geoff Taylor, Port Coquitlam

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