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Bonavista Ambulance Committee works towards better service

The Bonavista Ambulance Committee. Front, from left, councillors Beverly Dyke and Reg Butler; and back, Marilyn Randell, Bernice Clements and Lisa Mouland.
The Bonavista Ambulance Committee. Front, from left, councillors Beverly Dyke and Reg Butler; and back, Marilyn Randell, Bernice Clements and Lisa Mouland.

The members of the Bonavista Ambulance Committee are pleased with the progress they’ve made over the past two years.

“We’re not 100 per cent where we wanted to be to, but we’re 70 per cent,” said Bonavista councillor and committee member Beverly Dyke.

The committee, made up of Bonavista town councillors Dyke and Reg Butler and residents Marilyn Randell, Lisa Mouland and Bernice Clements, was formed because many felt there was a need to address concerns over ambulance service in the areas.

“We’re not 100 per cent where we wanted to be to, but we’re 70 per cent,” said Bonavista councillor and committee member Beverly Dyke.

The committee, made up of Bonavista town councillors Dyke and Reg Butler and residents Marilyn Randell, Lisa Mouland and Bernice Clements, was formed because many felt there was a need to address concerns over ambulance service in the areas.

Members of the committee have had ambulance response times affect them directly. Some having family members pass away and subsequently working towards these improvements previous to the committee’s forming.

The committee says they have no problem with the provider, Fewer’s Ambulance, or the workers, emergency medical responders (EMRs). They are identifying potential problems in the overall process and lobbying to have them improved.

For example, the committee thinks there should be a stationary point for workers to either stay or meet at — which would cut down the time of the ambulance driving to pick up the different EMRs working.

In some cases, the committee says wait times have led to tragedies in the area.

“The bottom line is just if we can save 15 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes by having ambulances in one place — that’s progress to me,” said Dyke.

However, the committee is optimistic about impending changes for the system.

In fact, the committee met with Bob Fewer and Wayne Melendy of Fewer’s Ambulance in late June to go over the problems they see in Bonavista. The committee thinks it went very well.

“We had a good, productive meeting,” said Dyke. “We learned a lot of things that we weren’t aware of. I’m sure he also learned from us — our concerns. Until you look and see what’s going on behind the scenes you don’t actually understand what’s involved with it.”

According to the committee, the plans for a two-bay garage ambulance station in Bonavista are in the works. At the very least, this may provide precious moments saved in the winter by housing the vehicles instead of warming them up.

Ultimately, they’d like to see EMRs stay in the station while on duty.

The committee is also hoping the area will eventually have a third ambulance operating. They say there are currently two.

“I really came out with a really good vibe after the meeting with him,” said Butler.

“We felt 110 per cent better walking out than we did walking in,” said Dyke.

The committee is now planning to lobby government for more funding for their area with regards to the ambulance service.

They’re also planning to add new members from different town councils in the area who avail of the same ambulance service.

jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca

Twitter: @jejparsons

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