The vehicles will be put into service immediately with available staff while recruitment for permanent, full-time staff gets underway. The ambulances will be operating on a regular, full-time basis within three months.
"In a life-threatening situation, every second counts," said Premier Christy Clark. "As Maple Ridge continues to grow, a strong and growing economy gives us the ability to ensure services grow along with it."
The new ambulances are the result of a detailed independent analysis of ambulance call data and demand projections in the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria, released in February as part of BC Emergency Health Services' plan to improve services. Maple Ridge and the Tri-Cities have been identified as areas of need. Earlier this year, BC Emergency Health Services added eight ambulances in the Lower Mainland, including two in neighbouring Langley to help alleviate pressures in Maple Ridge.
"We committed to the residents of Maple Ridge to closely monitor and increase our ambulance services as necessary, and we are honouring that promise," said Health Minister Terry Lake. "This additional resource is part of a larger plan to transform how we can best serve the emergency medical needs of patients in British Columbia."
Maple Ridge has two ambulances and is experiencing one of the highest increases in ambulance calls of any city in the province. The number of "high acuity" or lights-and-siren calls has increased by 36% in three years, from a monthly average of 139 in 2013 to 190 this year.
"An ambulance is there in a crisis - a lifeline for the community, and quite often the difference between life and death. Another ambulance will help Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents feel safer in their communities," said Doug Bing, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA.
"This is great news for families in Maple Ridge and surrounding communities," said Marc Dalton, Maple Ridge-Mission MLA. "It's great to see the Province conducting analysis and making improvements based on data. Based on sound analytics, Maple Ridge will certainly benefit from having additional paramedics closer to home. I'm very pleased that the Province is making this investment in our community."
BC Emergency Health Services employs a regional dynamic deployment model, which dispatches cars on a regional basis according to availability.
"These new ambulances will help to improve access to ambulance services in Maple Ridge and the Tri-Cities," said Linda Lupini, executive vice-president, Provincial Health Services Authority and BC Emergency Health Services. "We'll continue to closely monitor and evaluate our services where we've added new ambulances, and work with government to identify where further improvements are needed."
In addition to more resources, BC Emergency Health Services has identified actions that will help drive system-wide improvements to meet the rising demand for emergency care services throughout the province. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, health authorities, municipalities and other organizations, BC Emergency Health Services is working to modernize our pre-hospital emergency services and integrate them better with other parts of the health system, to create a more patient-centred, sustainable ambulance service for the province.
BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) is responsible for the delivery and governance of pre-hospital emergency medical care and inter-facility patient transfer services through the BC Ambulance Service and the BC Patient Transfer Network. BCEHS is supported by the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
BC Emergency Health Services
604-788-3011 or 778-867-7472 (PHSA Media Pager)