By Chad Ingram
Published May 18 2017
The average response time to EMS calls in Haliburton County is 12 minutes or about 18 minutes if the villages of Haliburton and Minden are excluded.
The county has EMS bases in Haliburton and Minden as well as one in Tory Hill.
According to a staff report based on calls from 2016 average response times in the northern portion of Minden Hills (excluding the village) were 13.02 minutes and 18.64 minutes in the southern portion of the township (excluding the village).
In Highlands East the average response time was 16.61 minutes while in Algonquin Highlands it was close to 19 minutes at 18.86.
Algonquin Highlands is the only one of the county’s lower-tier townships without an EMS base.
The average response time for Dysart et al (excluding Haliburton village) was 18.26.
“I am pleased I guess as I can be” said Algonquin Highlands Reeve Carol Moffatt during a May 10 EMS advisory committee meeting referring to the area’s topography and spread out population.
Moffatt asked about tiered responses situations where both EMS crews and local volunteer fire departments are sent to the same incident.
“More often than not fire gets there as an ambulance is taking the patient away” Moffatt said. “The other side of that is that we’re rolling resources paying for them when they turn out not to be needed.”
Paramedic deputy chief Tim Waite in charge of quality assurance and education said the decision to call in fire department assistance is typically made by dispatch and not of the paramedics themselves.
“A lot of the decision to send fire would be done through dispatch” Waite said.
Councillors including Dysart et al Reeve Murray Fearrey agreed it would be helpful if any operational savings could be found however “it may be the case that for the greater good we just let it go as it is” Moffatt said.