December 11, 2023

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The Alberta authorities has agreed to totally fund the distinctive EMS system protecting the Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo area.

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AHS dedicated to full price restoration for EMS on Oct. 1. This funding can be included in a six-month interim deal and any new settlement with the RMWB and Alberta Well being Providers (AHS), mentioned municipal spokesperson Greg Bennett.

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“This can be a very constructive step that acknowledges the distinctive nature of the area, and what we all know right here as the dear, irreplaceable position RES performs for all of us – in all points of EMS supply,” mentioned Mayor Sandy Bowman in a Tuesday e mail.

The deal comes every week after municipal councillors unanimously voted to increase its earlier contract with AHS whereas pushing for a contract that features full price restoration for EMS. The municipality paid practically $2.5 million yearly beneath the earlier EMS contract that ran from 2014 to March 2022. The province coated the remaining prices of practically $7.2 million.

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Alberta Well being Providers (AHS) took over EMS within the area in 2009. The built-in hearth and EMS division for the area, nevertheless, means the RMWB needed to cowl additional prices not beneath earlier contacts.

Patricia Penton, the municipality’s assistant deputy chief of EMS, advised council ultimately Tuesday’s assembly that medical calls make up 60 per cent of firefighter calls in Alberta, she mentioned. Penton mentioned the built-in mannequin permits for cross-training. Larger labour prices and EMS name volumes throughout the area can be costly for the RMWB.

Penton provides that AHS has invested an additional $108 million in EMS throughout Alberta lately and promised an additional $196 million for the following three years. Penton says none of that funding has but to be introduced for Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo. AHS doesn’t fund the built-in fashions in some other metropolis in Alberta.

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“The extension will permit time for each events to proceed to work collectively to finalize a long-term settlement for service provision within the area, which acknowledges the individuality of the area, the valued partnership and our mutual dedication to the neighborhood,” mentioned AHS spokesperson Kerry Williamson in a Wednesday e mail.

This new settlement is separate from the RMWB’s ongoing battle over native EMS dispatch. The present and former mayor advert council, in addition to emergency response leaders, have protested the Alberta authorities’s choice to maneuver dispatch companies away from native centres and in direction of a centralized system.

A January assessment of the system from the Alberta authorities discovered no points with the centralized dispatch system. A spokesperson for Alberta Well being Minister Adriana LaGrange mentioned the province will proceed assembly with communities about dispatch companies, however there are not any plans to maneuver away from centralized dispatch.

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