Delta mayor shrugs off lawsuit threat over enhanced medical powers for firefighters

DELTA — Delta Mayor Lois Jackson is standing her ground despite BC Emergency Health Service’s threat to take legal action to stop Delta firefighters from providing medical response normally done by paramedics.

Jackson on Tuesday sent a letter to BCEHS brass indicating that the municipality has sought legal advice affirming that Delta "can undertake this level of service with or without BCEHS approval."

Jackson wrote that it "simply makes sense as the right thing to do to provide this level of service to our residents at municipal cost in the face of increasing challenges for provincially funded ambulance services."

Her entire letter is posted on the municipality’s web site.

In May Delta firefighters were given the green light from municipal council to provide enhanced emergency medical care. Jackson said there’s "absolutely no question" that Delta’s firefighters are arriving at calls "way before an ambulance can."

"It’s a no-brainer," she said. "I guess I wouldn’t be a very good mayor if I didn’t provide that service if I could."

Delta is unique in that its three communities of North Delta, Ladner and Tsawwassen are widely separated by farmland and Burns Bog. To compensate for this, Delta’s seven firehalls are strategically located so firefighters can reach any call within three to eight minutes.

"The BC Ambulance Service does not have the resources to be able to consistently match those response times," Delta Fire Chief Dan Copeland told council in May.

"There are many instances when ambulance services arrive between 20 and 60 minutes after Delta firefighters are on scene," he noted.

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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