Is there a Critical Shortage of First Responders in Rural Alberta?


June 7, 2018 :: George Porter
Moderated by Penny Elford

Ambulance service in Alberta is a borderless system designed to respond as needed, with urban areas using rural ambulances during shortages, and in turn helping those communities when shortages occur. However, that system is problematic as rural areas potentially can go for hours without proper emergency services.

One of the primary reasons for lack of ambulance services in rural areas are inter-facility transfers or appointments that draw ambulances out of those communities and sometimes causing long waits for ambulance service during emergencies. Why for example are non-emergency routine patient transfers tying up rural ambulances for hours when such transport could safely be provided by regular transport, while such ambulances may be needed if a serious emergency occur in their area?

The speaker will argue this issue puts the citizens of Alberta and especially people in rural areas at a higher level of risk during those times when there are no available resources in these communities. He will further contend that the problem can be easily improved if Alberta Health Services (AHS) would implement some common sense recommendations, among them, ambulances spending less time waiting at hospitals.

Speaker: George Porter

George Porter started working EMS in Calgary in 1974. He worked in urban and rural settings, in fire dep't based, hospital based, industrial, remote, air ambulance, private, indigenous, and he has owned and operated EMS services.

He has managed, directed, repaired, and developed a number of EMS services and has taught and mentored students most of his career, as well as taught EMT, Paramedic and a variety of water, ice, and rope rescue programs.

George has lobbied EMS management and Alberta Health Services for over 9 years now, over the lack of adequate area coverage by ambulances, especially in rural areas, and the reasons for it offering multiple solutions - all to no avail. He plans to continue to do so until this gross negligence is corrected.

Moderator: Penny Elford

Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018
Time: Doors open 11:30 am, Presentation 12 noon, buffet lunch 12:30 pm, Q&A 1 – 1:30 pm
Location: Royal Canadian Legion (north door) 324 Mayor Magrath Dr. S. Lethbridge
Cost: $14 buffet lunch with desert & coffee/tea/juice or $2 coffee/tea/juice. RSVP not required.


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