CALGARY – Alberta Health Services said heavy call volumes in both Calgary and Edmonton lead to code reds being called in both cities on Monday. A code red alert is called whenever there are no ambulances available to respond to emergency calls.
An AHS spokesperson says a code red was called for Calgary at 12:27 p.m. on Monday. The alert lasted four minutes; during that time, no calls were pending.
AHS also confirmed the Edmonton Metro EMS system experienced a code red alert shortly before lunch time.
“The system was sporadically in code red status between 11 a.m. and noon,” said AHS spokesperson Bruce Conway in an e-mail to Global News.
“Supervisors went to hospitals to assist with on-scene care to free up ambulance crews.”
At around 5 p.m., a group called Alberta EMS Code Red posted the below photos of Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton, citing reports of “a complete system breakdown for most of today.”
The Facebook group identifies itself as a local paramedic group that is “concerned for your public safety.”
Earlier this year, four paramedics sounded the alarm over code red alerts and lengthening response times.
In April, a freedom of information request revealed Calgary experienced 60 code red alerts in 2014. In Edmonton, where code red alerts are tracked by the minute, the Alberta Health Services data indicates the city spent an accumulated 13 hours throughout 2014 in a state where there were no ambulances available to respond to emergency calls.
AHS says during code red alerts other resources such as supervisors and single paramedic response units are used to ensure minimal impact to patient care.