Ambulance New Brunswick won't replace St. John Ambulance

An Ambulance New Brunswick official says emergencies are its priority and it can't commit to replacing the St. John Ambulance first-aid service at community events in Moncton and Fredericton.

Paramedics can't commit to providing first-aid at community events, official says

Ambulance New Brunswick says it won't be stepping in to replace the St. John Ambulance service at community events in Moncton and Fredericton.

St. John Ambulance announced last week it will no longer be able to provide first-aid in the two cities due to lack of volunteers.

The decision has left organizations scrambling to find other options.

But Ambulance New Brunswick can't take over that role, said spokesperson Tracy Bell.

"We wouldn't be able to commit or to guarantee our paramedics to go to a community event and to be able to stay at that community event for any length of time," said Bell.

"When a 911 call comes in, our paramedics have to go and respond to that 911 call."

Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB) responds to about 95,000 calls a year in the province, said Bell.

Emergency calls and patient transfers come first, she said.

Does staff major events

But ANB does staff major events, usually with off-duty, paid paramedics.

"What we're talking about in these cases are large-scale events — your concerts at Magnetic Hill, CFL games — those requests where they are required to have trained medical staff on site, you know, contractually required to have medical professionals on site," said Bell.

She expects ANB will have more inquiries as news of the loss of St. John Ambulance volunteers continues to spread.

St. John Ambulance volunteers worked at events 250 days last year, according to Larry Broad, the group's chief executive officer.

In the end, there were only 34 people willing to put in the time in Moncton and 13 in Fredericton, he said.

St. John Ambulance won't be reversing its decision even if it gets an influx of volunteers, said Broad.