Alberta Health Service has confirmed that during the evening on March 13, there was one Advanced Life Support and one Basic Life Support unit available in Airdrie.
However, Airdrie should have three ALS ambulances in its fleet in the evening as well as one BLS ambulance, which means that two ambulances were not in service on March 13.
"There were no delayed responses or pending events reported that day in the Airdrie area. EMS monitors ambulance availability in real-time and ensures resources are available to respond to emergencies," AHS wrote in their statement to Discover Airdrie.
It was also noted that adjustments are made to always ensure the best possible coverage.
According to previous reporting by Discover Airdrie, between January 1, 2022, and October 1, 2022, Airdrie ambulances were shut down nearly every day for an average of 11 hours (an entire shift for a paramedic). According to documents previously obtained via The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the FOIP Act), the 201 shutdowns in the first 273 days of 2022 meant that Airdrie ambulances were shut down for 2390.5 hours.
On February 27, 2023, AHS released a 90-day Healthcare Action Plan Report. According to the statistics provided in the report, AHS stated that the frequency of red alerts (an alert issued when there are no available ambulances) was decreasing.
"In Calgary Zone, in January 2022, there were 328 red alerts for a total of 8.1 hours compared to 134 red alerts and a total of 3.2 hours in January 2023," the report stated.
The report stated that AHS EMS would be transitioning 70 current temporary full-time paramedic positions to regular (permanent) full-time.
"These positions will be allocated to all five of our operating zones, with 20 positions in Calgary and Edmonton, and 10 positions in each of [Alberta's] three rural zones. Further 80 full-time regular paramedic positions will be posted shortly."
AHS also noted that between November 2022 and January 2023, EMS added 39 front-line staff, including paramedics, emergency communications officers, and front-line supervisors. Overall, EMS hired 457 new staff members in 2022, including 341 paramedics.
The report also added that EMS response times were improving, despite a sustained 30 per cent increase in call volume across the province. Improvement was seen in the following areas:
- 17 minutes in metro and urban areas, down from 21.8 minutes.
- 19.2 minutes in communities with over 3,000 residents, down from 21.5 minutes.
- 34.9 minutes in rural communities with under 3,000 residents, down from 36 minutes.
- 57.5 minutes in remote communities, down from 63.9 minutes.
In January 2022, during an EMS red alert in Airdrie, Airdrie's Fire Department transported a young boy to the Airdrie Urgent Care Centre after a prolonged wait time for an ambulance.
More recently, on March 3, 2023, the Canmore Fire Department confirmed that they had transported a patient to the hospital at the request of Medical Direction due to a delayed ambulance response.
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