(Josh Berson photo)

LETTER: When you or your loved one need an ambulance, 6 extra minutes could be too long…

If you live in Stettler and the surrounding area, you can expect to wait up to 6 minutes longer for an ambulance than some other nearby comparable communities (Three Hills, Drumheller, Linden, Camrose).

These other communities have assembled Paramedics at their ambulance stations who are able to be en route to a call within 2 minutes of being dispatched.

In Stettler, Paramedics are not assembled at the station, but rather are on call and have up to 8 minutes to be en route to your call.

Try counting out 360 seconds and imagine your loved one in medical distress while you do.

If the person you are calling for is in cardiac arrest, that equates to 15 more rounds of CPR – or 600-720 more compressions – that you would need to do alone while waiting for an ambulance.

These extra 6 minutes could mean life or death, and Stettler deserves better.

So what can you do?

Contact your MLA and the Health Minister.

While the ambulances in Stettler are operated by the Stettler District Ambulance Association, which is overseen by a board made up of county and town councillors, the funding for the service ultimately comes from Alberta Health Services (AHS).

There was hope that this year with the $64million increased EMS budget, that Stettler EMS would get the funding to have paramedics assembled at the station to provide this faster response time.

Unfortunately, AHS has decided not to fund this change yet in Stettler – and it is unknown when they will.

If you agree that Stettler should have assembled Paramedics to respond to your medical emergencies, reach out to our MLA and the Health Minister to let them know what you think. I have provided their contact information below.

MLA for Drumheller-Stettler

Honourable Nate Horner

4905 – 44 Avenue

Stettler, AB

T0C 2L0

Phone: 587.799.1139

E-mail: Drumheller.Stettler@assembly.ab.ca

Minister of Health

Honourable Jason Copping

423 Legislature Building 10800 – 97 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6 Phone: 780 427-3665 E-mail: health.minister@gov.ab.ca

Caleb Ould, Stettler

A concerned citizen and Paramedic