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BCEHS makes changes to how first responders are dispatched to emergency medical calls

First responders with the RDCK Fire Services, like the Beasley Fire Rescue, will be limited to attending immediately life-threatening events. — The Nelson Daily file photo

British Columbia Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) has issued a memorandum that will change, effective immediately, how first responders are dispatched to emergency medical calls.

The decision will include many first responders with the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Fire Services. 

The RDCK said in a media release Thursday, the memorandum limits the dispatching of first responder groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision is part of an ongoing effort to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus.

“Many residents in small communities and rural areas across the RDCK rely on our Fire Services to attend in a medical emergency, and they trust us to be there when they need us,” said Regional Fire Chief Nora Hannon.

The RDCK said as a result of this memorandum, first responders will be limited to attending immediately life-threatening events, events that require technical rescue such as extrication at a motor vehicle incident, and to time-critical events where paramedics are delayed by more than 20 minutes.

“We are dedicated to serving residents and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and will work with our partners at BCEHS to best support pre-hospital care during this challenging situation,” Hannon said.

Further updates will be shared as needed and will also be posted on the RDCK website.

For more resources related to COVID-19, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website.