Don Elkington (centre) with Gabriola firefighters now approved to practice as EMRs when responding to scenes as members of the GVFD. Sounder Photo

Sounder News

Members of the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department are now licensed and approved to practice on scenes as Emergency Medical Responders (EMRs).

Fire Chief Will Sprogis announced this at the June 7 meeting of the Gabriola Fire Board.

EMRs are the next step in medical licensing with the Emergency Medical Asisstants Licensing Branch (EMALB) in BC. Prior to this, Gabriola firefighters responding to medical emergencies were practicing at a First Responder license level.

In early 2022, private citizen Don Elkington started a fundraising campaign which saw $40,000 raised to train EMRs within the GVFD.

Sprogis said there are now 13 EMRs licensed in the department. Four were trained outside of the GVFD EMR training program – though the program did cover the licensing fees for three of those members.

All of those trained within the GVFD program were put through licensing exams by examiners from the EMALB.

Sprogis said this past week that the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department is honoured to provide a higher level of medical care for the community as first responders.

“As emergency medical responders (EMR), we will have more diagnostic tools to determine patient’s vital signs, condition, and care given.

“Our EMR‘s will be able to administer some drugs such as aspirin, naloxone, nitroglycerin and nitrous oxide, as well as proving more advanced care during prolonged rescues or delays.

“I would like to thank Don Elkington and all the community that supported our EMR fundfraising initiatives, and the members of the fire department for embracing this new challenge.”

Media representatives with BC Emergency Health Services, who operate BC Ambulance Service, confirmed that BC EHS has signed a First Responder and BCEHS Collaboration Agreement with the Gabriola Volunteer Fire Department (GVFD).

The agreement will indemnify GVFD First Responders to work within the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) scope of practice.

EHS representatives added that patient transport is not part of this agreement.

“Patients will continue to be transported by BC EHS, in BC EHS ambulances. However, in calls with lone BC EHS responders, a qualified First Responder [or EMR] may drive a BC EHS ambulance with a BC EHS paramedic on board, as per our existing policy [which requires the FR or EMR to have a Class 4 license.”

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