Emergency medical services in the Wawanesa area are a shining example for other Westman communities to strive for.
Wawanesa is well below the provincial standard of 30 minutes, 90 per cent of the time, reaching patients in a little more than 20 minutes.
Fire Chief Dennis Gullett, who is also a casual on-call ambulance attendant, said there are 10 attendants in the community who take a great deal of pride in delivering speedy service.
“We want to be out of the hall in under eight minutes,” Gullett said. “When you’re coming from a job, it takes a bit of time to get out and the employers have accepted and bought into it to let us do that.”
More than one-third of the fire department staff have taken the requisite training to be able to man an ambulance.
“We really encourage everyone getting the training because it’s in the best interest of the community and the people we’re going to help,” Gullett said.
While the station is casual on-call, something that typically would cause wait times to rise, Wawanesa has bucked the trend.
“We have a really strong community when it comes to volunteering,” Gullett said. “We’re willing to help each other out and our community has bought into that and we do it. The whole community will step up when something is going on.”
Gullett wouldn’t provide details about how far the ambulance has travelled to pick up patients, but said it is almost always in service, meaning it can be geo-posted to help out in other locations as well.
“We’ll go wherever the dispatcher sends us and we’re there if somebody needs us,” Gullett said.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 18, 2014