February 17, 2014 - 4:28 PM
KAMLOOPS — A recent change in emergency service requirements for the use of lights and sirens is meant to save lives but Kamloops Fire Rescue doesn't think it will make a big difference.
With only two incidents in eight years, Kamloops Fire Rescue says the low number means there is minimal risk to drivers when emergency vehicles run sirens and lights in the city.
B.C. Emergency Health Services recently announced the reduction in the number of calls requiring a lights and siren response by 74 call types, all considered less urgent or routine, to help ensure the safety of the travelling public. Fire departments across the province were given the choice whether to emulate these response modes or stay with the status quo. So far 78 per cent have chosen to maintain the same level of response modes.
Kamloops Fire decided to adjust response modes for 13 call types, but have decided to keep the 'hot' response in place for the 61 other call types. The department has decided to downgrade response from lights and sirens to just a 'cold' response with no lights and sirens to four types of abdominal pain calls, allergy/sting with unknown status, back pain, breathing problems (without asthma), headache with abnormal breathing, cold or heat exposure and unconscious/fainting (female with abdominal pain).
The department has also decided to follow ambulance services in upgrading their response to 'hot' when the caller's status is unknown and when the language of the caller is not understood.
All necessary units will still respond to calls, but less use of the lights and sirens is intended to help prevent collisions caused by vehicles trying to get out of the way of emergency vehicles and to better allocate the services of first responders needed for critical calls.
Since 2006 the fire department has made about 50,000 'emergency movements' with only two incidents.
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