Côte Saint-Luc calls on Quebec government to protect local first responder service that has served community for 25 years

Côte Saint-Luc, January 31, 2007 – Mayor Anthony Housefather today urged the Quebec government to grant Côte Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services (EMS) a permanent exemption so it can continue to respond to life-threatening emergencies on its territory.

During the years of the forced municipal mergers, the City of Montreal signed a collective agreement with the firefighters union that gave firefighters the responsibility to respond to life-threatening emergencies (also called Priority One calls) across the island – including in Côte Saint-Luc. Following its demerger from the mega city, the new Côte Saint-Luc Council worked with D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman to secure a three-year exemption from the Quebec government so it could continue to respond to Priority One emergency calls until December 31, 2008.

“We are happy for our neighbours on the Island of Montreal who will soon benefit from a first responder service, but Côte Saint-Luc doesn’t want our own well-established emergency service replaced,” Mayor Housefather said. “We urge our residents to contact our MNA, Lawrence Bergman, in order to pressure the Quebec government to modify the agglomeration decree and allow Côte Saint-Luc to run its own EMS service in perpetuity.”

Côte Saint-Luc EMS is the only volunteer-based first responder service on the island and its training exceeds, and response time is less than, those fire stations that currently provide first responder service. It responds to 3,000 calls every year, including 1,500 Priority One calls.

“Côte Saint-Luc volunteer emergency care providers are extra sensitive to seniors, speak a multitude of languages, and are trained to deal with cultural sensitivities,” said Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, who is responsible for public safety and who has been involved with the EMS service for more than 25 years.

EMS is made up of highly trained volunteers under the guidance of emergentologist serving as Medical Director. A committee of elected, lay and professional leaders in the Emergency Services Committee also oversee operations.

“Côte Saint-Luc EMS is one of our most recognizable, admired and valuable public services with 25 years experience,” Mayor Housefather said. “Our EMS medics respond to emergencies in an average of three minutes, which is faster than what the Fire Department does currently in the cities where it already does emergency response. Also, the new Montreal first responder service will not respond to Priority Two calls, which are non life-threatening emergency calls and which account for half of the 30,000 annual calls answered by EMS.”

EMS is equipped with a fleet of three emergency vehicles, new emergency medical equipment, devices, tools and supplies. The annual budget exceeds $500,000.

EMS responds to more than 3,000 medical assistance calls each year and assists at community events, crises and other major emergencies in the community and throughout southwestern Quebec.

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For more information, contact: Darryl Levine, 514-485-8905, dlevine@cote-saint-luc.qc.ca

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