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Mayor Scott urges residents to support local dispatch services

PHOTO. Members of the RMWB emergency dispatch team. Supplied by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

Mayor Scott released an open letter in support of the region’s emergency dispatch system.

“Our dispatchers are the best in the province. They know how to dispatch quickly, safely and efficiently, even in the most difficult circumstances and to the hardest to reach areas.”

On Aug. 4, the province announced Alberta Health Services (AHS) will consolidate all remaining municipal dispatch systems.

RELATED: AHS to take control of ambulance dispatching

The mayors from our region, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer voiced their displeasure with the move at a video conference on Aug. 5.

RELATED: Alberta mayors frustrated, blindsided by emergency dispatch services consolidation

Mayor Don Scott’s letter includes a pictograph of the proposed AHS model for consolidated dispatch services.

IMAGE. Supplied by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.


“Today, when we need another ambulance, we don’t need one rushed from some distant community in the province. We have on here, ready to go.”

He said this new system will add layers of complexity and add more time to a critical process.

“A provincial dispatcher will not know what a 911 caller means by the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ or ‘Supertest’. However, a local dispatcher will know Cheechum Village is not near Cheechum Lake; that they are 40 kilometres apart. A provincial dispatcher made that mistake just last month, an error caught just in time by an alert RMWB dispatcher.”

Mayor Scott said the RMWB will join a larger lobbying effort with the other affected municipalities in Alberta.

He urged residents to contact their local MLAs, Laila Goodridge and Tany Yao, and email the office of Health Minister, Tyler Shandro.

“It will not be easy, but there is hope. We have a short window of opportunity to change this decision. In the past, we fought this, and we won. Tell them why seconds and minutes matter to you when you call 911.”

The Fort McMurray Firefighters Association co-signed the letter with the RMWB.