The City of Laval is without its own ambulance service, but long wait times in emergency situations have prompted a handful of residents to push for a volunteer first-responders unit.
Lucia Cartillone’s two-year-old daughter Kayla sometimes experiences multiple seizures. When those happen, she needs to get to a hospital — fast.
Cartillone said that Urgences-Santé has taken up to 20 minutes to get to her Laval home in some of those instances.
She said Kayla needed an oxygen tank during one episode; luckily, she was in Montreal at the time and an ambulance arrived in five minutes.
“I have no oxygen tanks at my house. And we wait 20 minutes before she gets to the hospital? She would have died,” Cartillone said.
It’s situations like these that have prompted Emmanuel Stavrakakis, a volunteer first-responder in Montreal, to push for a volunteer first-responders unit in Laval.
He estimates it would cost the city about $5 million to set up. Anyone could join, he said, after taking a 65-hour course offered by Urgences-Santé.
Urgences-Santé, however, insists there is no problem. It said the average wait time for ambulances responding to calls in Laval is seven minutes.
"I don't see why the City of Laval is throwing the ball always to Urgences-Santé or throwing the ball to somebody else,” Stavrakakis said. “Everybody has a role to play."
A spokesperson for the city said they are looking into the idea.