January 4, 2016 9:06 pm
Updated: January 5, 2016 4:05 am

Online petition demands more ambulances for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

WATCH: People in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows fear an ambulance shortage may be putting their lives at risk. John Daly reports.

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Residents and city councillors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows said their community is facing a critical ambulance shortage that is putting lives at risk.

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Matt Kelso, a young man suffering from brain cancer, started an online petition to increase the number of ambulances and paramedics in the area.

“I have brain cancer, and if I have a seizure or stroke, at the current rate, I could wait over an hour for an ambulance to get me to a hospital for treatment, which could cause irreversible damage or death,” wrote Kelso on the petition.

There are two ambulances and four paramedics based 24 hours a day out of Station 257 in Maple Ridge, numbers that haven’t changed in more than a decade even though the region’s population has nearly doubled over that time.

Cameron Eby of the Ambulance Paramedics of B.C. said that’s not good enough.

“It just simply means that the B.C. Ambulance Service isn’t meeting what we consider the industry standard response times,” he said. “We did a review in 2012 using data provided to us by B.C. Ambulance and we found that the Lower Mainland required at least 22 new ambulances to meet what’s considered the industry standard response time, and that means patients are waiting longer than they should’ve.”

B.C. Emergency Health Services has apparently brought in an outside consultant to assess the needs of Maple Ridge and other communities in the Lower Mainland.

A Demand and Deployment Review was supposed to be released back in July, but is now expected sometime early this year.

In the meantime, B.C. Emergency Health Services said there has been a slight improvement in response times for acute calls in Maple Ridge, while the average response time there remains 12 minutes.

– With files from John Daly

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