Editor, The News:
I find I must respond to Chad Evans’ letter and the article about firefighters in Pitt Meadows.
I am truly sorry that Mr. Evans suffered his serious injury and wish him the best in his recovery.
However, I can not understand how he misunderstands or deliberately mistakes the situation.
Fire Chief Don Jolley clearly states that the call was not received by the fire department.
It was not a policy of the City of Pitt Meadows or the fire department that caused the call not to be sent to the fire department dispatch centre; it was not sent by B.C. Ambulance dispatch, where all 911 calls for medical emergencies are sent by E-Comm.
It is irrelevant if the firefighters involved are volunteers, paid on call or so-called professional ones.
The fact of the matter is they did not receive the call.
As Chief Jolley states, normally a call as serious as the one concerning Mr. Evans would have caused the department to be dispatched.
To demean the men and women who make up the Pitt Meadows fire department because of a situation that was out of their control is, at best, misguided and, at worst, despicable.
Mr. Evans and his supporters should be asking why the system failed in the organizations that control emergency response dispatch and stop trying to fix a problem with the Pitt Meadows fire department that doesn’t exist.
I hope our council, which is so careful with our tax dollars, will strongly resist any efforts to waste tax dollars on hiring any more $100,000-a-year firefighters.
There is no reason to replace a proud, dedicated, efficient service that is recognized as one of the best fire departments in B.C. by all but those with their own agendas.
– Editor’s note: Bill Park is former chief of the Pitt Meadows fire department.
Editor, The News:
Re: Another call for firefighters (The News, April 22).
I was rather befuddled to read firefighter Chad Evans’ comments in the article.
Let me state at the outset that I am a paramedic. But make no mistake, this is no turf war as is often implied with response from someone of my career choice.
I am a citizen of Pitt Meadows who supports Fire Chief Don Jolley and the council who have made decisions around fire response, both as a taxpayer and one who appreciates the evidence behind the position they have taken.
Mr. Evans describes an arterial bleed and believes that a different firefighter response would have changed things.
In fact, the very situation he describes is one in which the ultimate treatment is expedited transport to vascular surgery – not other scene resources.
As to temporizing measures, paramedics are not only able to apply military grade tourniquets (a recent life-saving addition to their arsenal based upon research around survival in the Middle East), but can give an anti-bleeding medication administered intravenously called TXA, and may redirect the patient to an appropriate trauma centre.
None of these things are within the first responder scope of practice, their mandate, nor are easily added to their skill set.
Paramedics receive hundreds of hour of training just for these sorts of skills and knowledge.
Mr. Evans also implies there was a delay in transport. The likely explanation was a difficult extrication as paramedics are trained for rapid extrication and expedited transport in a case like this.
If there is anything we can gleam from Mr. Evans’ case is that we need more well-trained paramedics within the community to respond faster to emergencies, not stopgap that in situations like this with on-scene assistance who do not have the tools to bring the patient to definitive care.
Health is the purview of the provincial government, and, respectfully, it should not be funded by my municipal taxes when it is suppose to be funded and provided provincially.
In essence, the Pitt Meadows council has made wise and financially sound choices based upon medical evidence, which, as a taxpayer, keeps my taxes down and people safe.
There is good evidence for first responder intervention in cases like cardiac arrest, shortness of breath, and trapped patient extrication in motor vehicles, all of which the Pitt Meadows Fire Departments respond to, and I am very happy they do.
But let’s bring the right resources when needed.
I will be submitting to Chief Jolley the evidence-based medicine I am aware of in support of the position council has taken, and I suggest Mr. Evans do so as well.
Then, the taxpayers of Pitt Meadows can approach council and Chief Jolley to be informed of the reasoning and evidence which justify our first responder response choices as a community.