BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) recognizes that pre-hospital emergency care often requires a professional team approach and appreciates the critical role first responding organizations, such as fire departments, play in ensuring that our patients have access to timely and high quality care during medical emergencies.
An important component of the chain of survival, our partners in public safety can help us save lives by providing basic first aid, such as CPR and defibrillation, while paramedics are en-route to the scene. Well coordinated with the BCAS, the support provided by first responders during medical emergencies is integral in the delivery of our service to the people of B.C. Participation in the first responder program is voluntary, with the municipality covering the costs of sending municipal resources such as fire crews to emergency calls.
BC Ambulance Service continues to look for new and improved ways to work with first responder partners to improve the coordination and delivery of emergency medical services. One example is the Combined Events Radio Project, an initiative launched in Richmond, B.C. that saw BCAS become the first emergency medical services agency in Canada to implement a live interoperable radio system. Developed in conjunction with partners at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local fire detachment, the project allows emergency personnel to be in constant contact with each other prior to their arrival at ‘combined events’, incidents requiring the response of various emergency agencies.
The result is direct, clear and immediate communication between responder agencies, which can often mean the difference between life and death for responders and their patients. The implementation of this initiative has not only greatly improved care to the citizens of Richmond, but has also provided emergency responders with one of the most important safety tools available- direct communication.