The Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association (CIFFA) has requested that the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) ask the citizens of Cortes Island if they are interested in adding a ‘First Responder’ (FR) capability to the CIFFA list of services.
It was the hope of the CIFFA that islanders would be able to vote on the FR proposal in a binding referendum in October and the FR program would be operational in the Summer of 2019 however, for their own reasons, the SRD has decided to have a non-binding referendum to decide if they will have a binding referendum. The SRD has indicated that a strong positive response to the FR proposal could still result in this service being initiated by the Summer/Fall of 2019.
What is ‘First Responder’ and why is the CIFFA proposing it for Cortes?
in the context of fire departments First Responder refers to the added capability of properly trained volunteer firefighters to directly respond to acute medical calls and provide basic emergency medical services until the arrival of the ambulance. The addition of First Responder capabilities in no way is designed to supplant our ambulance service but to support it.
We will be able to improve the existing emergency medical response in the following ways:
Improved response times. Province wide, the average response time by BCAS in rural communities is approximately between 45mins – 1hr. As a First responder department, we would be able to reduce this to as little as 15min. This would allow us to perform critical medical interventions before BCAS arrives.
More trained personnel. This could be critical to life if there are multiple people affected/multiple casualties, or if the ambulance was already on a call and unable to respond. As well as the possibility to speed up the patient packaging process, including simply carrying patients to the ambulance. We could expect to see up to 10 FR’s at a large incident.
More medical equipment on Island to be used during multiple calls or multiple patient calls.
Faster patient assessments. We would be able to call for resources such as Air Ambulance, or the Coastguard for medical extractions.
We have already raised money to purchase all the necessary medical equipment to become FR’s and at no cost to the tax payers of Cortes Island.
The estimated maximum budget for this service upgrade was $41,000 for 2019 and $25,000 each year after that. The higher cost for 2019 was due to the training costs for the volunteers to become First Responders. We aim to certify some of our personnel to become trainers so that subsequent training costs will be greatly reduced.
The CIFFA Board of Directors
(Chris Walker, President)
(Dave Robertson, Vice-President)
(Bob Osleeb, Treasurer)
(Stephanie Asbeck, Secretary)
(Eli McKinty, Director)
(Pat Whelan, Director)
(Rick Kolstad, Director)