Province outfitting ambulances with automated location system
Published Friday, May 14, 2010 12:39PM CST
The provincial government is putting a system into place that is intended to help paramedics save time and lives.
The automated vehicle location system transmits information, including an ambulance's location, direction and speed, back to a call centre where dispatchers can visually monitor the fleet, said officials.
In rural areas, locating victims can sometimes prove difficult because of large areas to cover and roads without street signs.
Brenda Gregory, acting director of Manitoba Emergency Medical Services, said a computer will select the closest and most appropriate ambulance for each emergency call.
Richard Day, a Manitoba paramedic, said that when it takes some time to get to an address it can be stressful to know that there is someone waiting for his help.
"It takes some of the guess work out of where we have to go," he said of the new system.
When paramedics were called to the scene of a murder in Sommerfeld last weekend, they had trouble finding the address, according to some residents, including Jim Sawatzky.
"The ambulance went down to the end of the village turned around. My kids were at the end of the street, here, and they said they couldn't find the place," he said on Sunday.
The technology costs $550,000 to buy and install and another $165,000 per year to maintain, officials said.
Provincial officials said they hope to have each of the 164 ambulances that serve Manitoba's towns, cities and rural areas outfitted with the technology by June or July of this year.
- with a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout