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Pandemic reduces medical calls for ESP Fire Department

Posted: March 15, 2021

Pandemic reduces medical calls for ESP Fire Department

The global pandemic made 2020 a unique year in so many ways, and for the East St. Paul Fire Department, that came in the form of a drastic reduction in calls they attended.

The Department responded to 177 calls in 2020, down 172 from the 349 calls the members responded to in 2019.

The most drastic decrease was in medical calls, with the Department responding to 58 calls in 2020 compared with 200 in 2019.

It was a decision of Shared Health Emergency Services, the governing body of all fire departments in Manitoba, to have the least number of responders to medical calls to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Paramedics with ambulance services are being dispatched to medical calls, and often they are the only ones dispatched. In previous years, the fire department would be dispatched as well in an effort to have paramedics on scene as fast as possible.

Firefighters have traditionally often been the first to respond, due to their close proximity. The establishment of an ambulance station in West St. Paul about 10 years ago provided another service that had the ability to arrive quickly as well.

Also in 2020, paramedics in the province, including those who work for volunteer fire departments, switched regulatory bodies, from Manitoba Health to the newly created College of Paramedics of Manitoba.

The move requires members of the East St. Paul Fire Department, and all Manitoba volunteer departments, to transition their license to the College of Paramedics.

Under Manitoba Health, volunteer firefighters could be covered under their RM’s liability insurance. With the College of Paramedics, each member must obtain personnel liability insurance.  

The ESP Fire Department's medical response calls were down in 2020 due to the pandemic and a provincial decision to limit the number of responders.


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