Pefferlaw residents can now consider themselves on par with the rest of York Region after the official opening of a new, modern and permanent $1.3-million EMS station today.
But the 2,500-square-foot, two-bay facility, which replaces the portable outpost located at the Pefferlaw Health Centre just down the street on Hastings Road, was also built with the future in mind and will be able to house two ambulances and two crews to address demands from expected growth beyond its home-base borders.
The facility will act as a hub for vital, life-saving services for the community, York regional chairperson and CEO Wayne Emmerson told the crowd of dignitaries and high-level brass who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
It also represents an ever-expanding and evolving role paramedics play in the world of paramedicine, well past the traditional role of emergency transport, Emmerson added.
The point was reiterated by the region’s commissioner of community and health services, Adelina Urbanski.
“Getting to you faster is important, however, as the Canadian health care system evolves, you will see paramedics playing a broader role in improving community health,” Urbanski said.
“Through our community paramedicine pilot program, paramedics are expanding their skills and providing preventative treatments in patients’ homes, without having to transport them to the hospital.”
It is a main focus moving forward, York Region paramedic and seniors services chief and general manager Norm Barrette agreed, adding about 10 per cent of EMS calls represent those requiring acute care and the link to hospital services.
Service delivery in terms of providing links to health care services for patients experiencing non-life threatening medical situations is a main concern moving forward, but the new Pefferlaw station was identified as an ideal location to provide the most efficient and effective paramedic services to Pefferlaw and the surrounding areas in terms of maintaining the department’s high-level of service and continuing to meet and exceed its response time targets.
“At the end of the day, our commitment is to ensure our response stations are strategically placed so that residents can get the best care in the fastest and safest way possible,” Barrette said.
A team of 550 paramedics responded to more than 77,000 calls for assistance across the region last year, for the most part within six minutes, backed by 94 ambulances, 21 stations, a $1-million multi-patient unit and a state-of-the-art headquarters in East Gwillimbury.
That is a far cry from the 148 paramedics, 16 ambulances and 14 stations the region inherited when it assumed ambulance service from the province in 2000.
For more information, view www.yorkregion.com