BCEHS offers contracted paramedic services at major public and international events.
Please note: Due to COVID-19 and public health orders restricting mass gatherings across British Columbia, the BCEHS Special Operations team is not currently providing services.
The Special Operations office organizes all contractual ambulance coverage for the province. The purpose of contracted resources is to limit the impact large events have on the regional 911 system, and to provide prompt and efficient emergency patient care at special events.
BCEHS has provided contracted emergency medical care at events such as:
- the Honda Celebration of Light in Vancouver;
- the Penticton Challenge;
- the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George;
- Victoria Times Colonist 10 km run;
- Squamish Valley Music Fest;
- Pemberton Music Fest; and
- the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest.
The Special Operations team also organizes contractual ambulance coverage for various sporting events and some of the largest parades and celebrations in North America. Some examples of these are:
- Vancouver Canucks;
- BC Lions;
- Vancouver Whitecaps
- Surrey Vaisakhi parade;
- Vancouver Pride parade; and
- various Canada Day celebrations.
BCEHS was also one of the first North American emergency medical services agencies to organize and deploy paramedics on bicycles for major public events and mass gatherings, where traditional ambulance response is difficult or impossible due to crowd congestion. First implemented in Victoria in 1992, the BCEHS paramedic bike squads currently operate in Vancouver and Victoria, and maintain a full time 24-hour paramedic bike squad at the Vancouver International Airport.
BCEHS also introduced two utility terrain vehicle (UTV) ambulances in 2010 for the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The specially-designed John Deere gators have been instrumental in allowing paramedics to respond to 911 requests when crowd and street congestion would prohibit a traditional ambulance from responding. With the ability to transport patients out of crowd and street congestion, UTV ambulances can set up meet points and transfer patient care over to a traditional ambulance, or if safe and reasonable, the UTV ambulance and its crew can transport a patient directly to an appropriate medical facility.
Since their initial deployment, the BCEHS UTV ambulances have proven to be an invaluable resource for emergency medical response within mass-gathering environments.