Although he did not attend the inaugural B.C. Mayor’s Conference in Penticton, Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff believes in several of the issues brought up including the need for better ambulance service.
“They’re asking for a review of B.C. Ambulance,” said Chernoff. “Based on what I heard from other mayors – what I think they’re looking for is to have a better understanding of what B.C. Ambulance is and what they do. I agree with them.”
The mayor’s conference took place on May 19 and was attended by 86 mayors from throughout the province.
The ambulance system is a safety net for health and safety in British Columbia, says Chernoff, who himself was an ambulance attendant. “People become dependent on it. It’s moved into the realm where if you have fire and police you should have ambulance.”
Chernoff would like to see more public education on the issue.
“To me, it has to be more of an educational tool of what B.C. Ambulance is and what they do and don’t do. How do we make a good service the best? I have some history working for B.C. Ambulance, so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this.”
Reliability is one of the key issues involved with ambulance coverage in the West Kootenay as well retention and proper training.
“We want to see a service that works in the community 365 days of the year,” said Chernoff. “The crux of it is – is it at a level that we’re happy about? That’s what I want to see. To me, the level of care is very important. Pre-hospital care is always the key down the line. You need to give people at the local level the tools to do the job and do the job well.”
Chernoff expects the issue will come up again at the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) meeting in September.