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Town Council addresses emergency response concerns

Town council meeting | Town of Oakville
Town council meeting | Town of Oakville

Who's being sent to help you when you call 911?

Emergency service response times have been a question and concern on the minds of many Oakville residents over the past few months.

As recent incidents have shown us, wait times can depend on how urgent the system labels your incident, perhaps leaving you in need and having to resort to your own devices. 

Read more here: Critical ambulance delays spark public concern

At last week's town council meeting, on Nov. 13, councillors made a pivotal decision to pursue a pilot program for simultaneous dispatch in Halton, aiming to improve emergency response times and enhance services for residents.

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The move comes in response to concerns that fire units, despite being trained and ready to respond, often face delays in dispatch.

Oakville Fire Chief Paul Boissonneault told councillors he supports the initiative. In a written report to council, he said the move will speed up getting emergency services to people, and ultimately, will save lives.

"We stand unified together, for this critical initiative and the time to move forward on implementation is now, without delay." says the report.

Both Boissonneault and Mayor Rob Burton emphasized that this is a matter to be rolled out immediately as the infrastructure for simultaneous dispatch in Halton already exists.

Councillor Sean O’Meara raised a question to the Chief about whether this initiative was an alternative route to dispatch improvements they’ve been discussing recently.

Boissonneault clarified a distinction between the ongoing efforts related to the tiered response agreement with the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) triage tool and the newly proposed simultaneous notification initiative. 

In an interview, O’Meara said, "There are concerns about service levels within our community for things that, while might not be life-threatening, are certainly things our community has come to accept a quick response to."

"I am bringing forward a request for Regional staff to report back on EMS response times since the changes have taken place," he continued.

"I just wanted to follow up with our Chief even though these things are separate, simultaneous dispatch and tiered response both relate to how our residents are being served."


Ben Brown

About the Author: Ben Brown

Ben Brown is a local news reporter from Oakville, Ontario, a graduate from WIlfrid Laurier University and a self-published author. His main focus is reporting on crime, local businesses and achievements, and general news assignments throughout town
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