Eli El-Chantiry calls on city to hire more paramedics
Paramedics in rural Kinburn post no longer automatically return to station if called downtown
West Carleton-March Coun. Eli El Chantiry is concerned that residents in rural wards are vulnerable in times of emergency due to changes to paramedic deployments.
Emergency responders report for duty at the Kinburn station when they're assigned there. But El-Chantiry said that after they have delivered patients to inner city hospitals, they rarely make it back to the Kinburn post.
That's since a change on Feb. 9 that took away the station's so-called "sticky" status.
A "sticky" station is one crews will return to by default. Responders may be called to an emergency, and then continue to the hospital to drop a patient off. But in the case of a "sticky" post, they eventually drift back to their base.
Now, paramedics don't automatically return to the Kinburn station.
'Hire more paramedics'
"We need to address this before something tragically happens... What is the answer? The answer is Ottawa needs to hire more paramedics," El-Chantiry said.
He also draws a link to council's commitment to keep property tax increases at two per cent.
"Our commitment, as a councillor and as a mayor, is to make sure the two per cent tax increase does not have an impact on our core services — this is clearly starting to have an impact on our core services. There's nothing more core services than ambulance, or police or fire."
El-Chantiry said he's already requested a meeting with Ottawa paramedic chief Anthony Di Monte, community and protective services committee chair Diane Deans and city manager Kent Kirkpatrick.
'Scratching our heads'
In Renfrew County, paramedics said they are feeling the impact of the change.
By Ontario law, units from that county's paramedic service must respond to emergency calls if they are closest.
"It leaves us significantly short in our own communities when we're responding into the city of Ottawa", said Renfrew County paramedic chief Michael Nolan.
"So, imagine pulling back your resources such that you're going to implicate your neighbours to be the responding agency for a chunk of your own municipality. It's quite unreasonable and leaves us scratching our heads as to the shortages it's going to leave us in Renfrew County," Nolan said.