UPDATE: Ambulance’s 22-minute response time concerns White Rock man

Ambulance arrives 22 minutes after call for service

A longer-than-expected wait for an ambulance during a medical incident in White Rock has left one man concerned with the number of resources allocated for the area.

Taylor Jackson contacted Peace Arch News March 10 after the incident, which took place that afternoon at Washington Avenue Grill.

Jackson said he and his wife were dining at the Marine Drive restaurant when an elderly man collapsed.

“A call to 911 was placed just as our lunches were arriving,” Jackson wrote in an email to PAN.

“Other patrons and the staff were assisting the gentleman so we continued with our meal and had finished it before the Fire Department truck arrived. It was another five minutes until the ambulance arrived.”

Jackson said that although he did not time the event, it took approximately 25 minutes for help to arrive.

“Unacceptable, and given the ever-increasing population in the area, doomed only to get worse,” he wrote.

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BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) communications manager Fatima Siddiqui told PAN last week that the call for help came in at 1:36 p.m., and the ambulance arrived at 1:58 p.m.

The fire department, Siddiqui said, arrived at 1:51 p.m.

Siddiqui said the median ambulance response time for White Rock is 10 minutes and 30 seconds, and the median response time for the fire department is under five minutes.

“I’m looking into what happened in the region, but it just seems that there was something else going on. That’s atypical for even fire to not be there within five minutes. For them to take 15 minutes and for us to take 22, 21 minutes, there was clearly more going on in the region,” Siddiqui said.

White Rock Fire Department fire chief Phil Lemire contacted Peace Arch News Tuesday, after a version of this story was published in the March 22 edition of the PAN, and said that the White Rock department did not respond to the call.

The White Rock Fire Department confirmed to PAN Tuesday that Surrey Fire Service were the ones who attended.

Siddiqui said there are a number of factors that can cause an ambulance to arrive later than expected, including call volume in the area or neighbouring regions, road construction and weather.

The number of ambulance resources allocated to an area is constantly under review, she said.

“If there are anomalies that happen like this one, or if we notice it happen sooner, we do have triggers in place,” she said.

Siddiqui said that ambulance resources are allocated based on the typical number of calls received in the area, not population.

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