Richmond looks into increasing fire fighters' medical expertise

Richmond city council was considering more medical training for firefighters, but decided to wait for direction from the province.

Currently, BC Emergency Health Services has jurisdiction over ambulance services, but if they agree to it, firefighters who are trained as emergency medical responders could perform basic paramedic duties.

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At Tuesday’s community safety meeting, Coun. Kelly Greene suggested, before moving ahead, they ask the province what will follow from recommendations made by the auditor general in February about improving emergency health services.

One suggestion was to make agreements with local firefighters on the level of care they could provide.

“I think it would be very frustrating for someone who has the training to help but isn’t allowed,” Greene said.

To become an emergency medical responder, the training would cost $850 per firefighter, to a total of $170,000 in tuition and $426,000 in staff time.

According to statistics from Richmond Fire & Rescue, firefighters responded to 398 medical calls and 78 motor vehicle incidents in the month of March.

- with files from Megan Devlin

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