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West Kelowna Fire Service answering the call more often due to B.C. ambulance woes

‘There is absolutely no question we are doing more medical calls than we ever have’
West Kelowna Fire Service has responded to nearly 1,500 medical calls so far in 2022. (Black Press file photo)

A struggling BC Ambulance service is having an impact on the West Kelowna Fire Service (WKFS).

“There is absolutely no question we are doing more medical calls than we ever have,” Fire Chief Jason Brolund told council at its Nov. 22 meeting.

There are a number of reasons, including ambulance service staffing and less cars on the road, Brolund added. Earlier this month, three ambulances were cut from Kelowna’s fleet.

READ MORE: Kelowna to have only 7 ambulances after BC Emergency Health Services cuts

“I am happy there has not been a reduction in staff on ambulances in West Kelowna,” said Brolund. “However, there is no question we are affected by what happens across the lake because our ambulances are drawn across to help.”

A quarterly statistics report to council shows WKFS has answered nearly 1,500 first-responder calls so far in 2022. That compares to approximately 1,000 calls for all of 2021.

“We are on track this year to have, or come very close to having, our busiest year ever,” added Brolund.

The busiest year for WKFS, all calls across the department, was 2017 with just over 3,000 responses.

“Our firefighters have a lot to offer to our citizens,” said Brolund. “When these calls come in our crews are getting there first and making a difference.”

READ MORE: B.C. tests $12/hour minimum for on-call paramedics to curb rural shortages


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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