Brian Schafer, chief of the Vauxhall Regional Fire Department, has been named emergency medical services (EMS) coordinator for Vauxhall EMS, effective Feb. 4.
An announcement about Schafer’s new job was made on Feb. 11 during the Municipal District of Taber’s regular meeting.
“Thank you for the opportunity,” Schafer said, addressing council.
“I’ve got a lot to do,” he added.
Reeve Brian Brewin said the chaotic nature of emergencies can make responding to them difficult, as they can happen at any time.
“Emergencies don’t happen 9 to 5,” he said. “We needed someone that lives (in the area). (Schafer) certainly fills that and we appreciate it.”
Schafer, who is an EMT, will now be responsible for the duties of fire chief and EMS services in the area.
Some of those new duties include responding to EMS calls during shift and while on call; ensuring EMS response vehicles are in a state of readiness per EHS legislation; equipment and building are in a constant safe, reliable, clean condition; perform EMS inspections as requested and investigations as required; and perform EMS responses and/or participate in public awareness programs.
The position was created after a group of local citizens delivered an EMS petition to the M.D. council in July 2013.
It requested action for what they saw were issues with ambulance coverage, response times, gaps in daytime coverage, recruitment of ambulance personnel, and maintaining and increasing ambulance capacity over time.
Between July and December last year, the M.D. then met with Alberta Health Services emergency medical co-ordinators to find a solution to the problem.
“It’s been a long process,” said Vauxhall Deputy Mayor Russell Norris, noting he couldn’t think of another member of the community who puts in more volunteer hours than Schafer. “To recognize that is a great step forward.”
Schafer has been hired in his new position by the M.D. of Taber, and his position is largely funded through the EMS co-ordinator contract with AHS as well as through the Regional Fire Authority.