Fort William First Nation eyes volunteer emergency service

Fort William First Nation may set up a volunteer emergency response team while the community's main route to Thunder Bay is out of service.

Closure of James St. bridge means delays for Thunder Bay's fire, paramedic services

Fort William First Nation may set up a volunteer emergency response team while the community's main route to Thunder Bay is out of service.

The James Street swing bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since the end of October.

Fort William First Nation Chief Georjann Morriseau hopes to start an emergency response team in her community. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

CN Rail, which owns the bridge, recently said it will need three months to examine the bridge.

Fort William Chief Georjann Morriseau said the First Nation will look for its own solution to emergency service delays.

"I think what Fort William is going to do — and this is something we were working on as a result of the flood — was a first response team ... who can be on site at the emergency call right away … while we wait for emergency services to get out to the service call,” she said.

Emergency service teams from Thunder Bay have more difficulty providing timely service to Fort William First Nation now that the community's key access point — the James St. swing bridge — has been closed by CN Rail for repairs. (CBC)

Morriseau said the idea is still in its early stages, but the project would likely be funded primarily by the First Nation.

"We will discuss that further, most likely this week, as to how we can work with EMS, and see what kind of a response team we can have located on reserve,” Morriseau added.

“I do understand that there [are] challenges there too … because when it comes to the city, [and] there's emergency calls, the ambulance has to be there regardless of whether we have a service agreement in place."

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