07/18/2013 11:06 EDT | Updated 09/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Stewart Ambulance Shortage: Volunteers Needed To Provide Service


STEWART, B.C. - The BC Ambulance Service says it is doing everything possible to deliver consistent service to the community of Stewart in remote northwestern B.C.

Ambulance service spokesman Peter Thorpe's comments follow complaints from Stewart Mayor Galina Durant about a lack of local ambulance service in the district of 500 people from midnight Sunday until Monday afternoon, and the closest ambulance is more than three hours away.

Thorpe says six part-time employees offer round-the-clock coverage to Stewart, although he says summer vacations mean some shifts are currently vacant and a regional training officer is temporarily filling the gaps.

The ambulance service also says it is looking for Stewart-area volunteers to fill openings but businesswoman Moira Hyslop says it's not that simple -- because any volunteers could also be sent to cover incidents along the Stewart-Meziadin highway, hours out of town.

Hyslop's family run Stewart's hotel and grocery store, and she says most employers can't afford to lose a worker for almost a day, if an emergency is in a remote location.

The ambulance service says it is working with Durant and Stewart residents to resolve the problems and is in the process of scheduling another meeting with the mayor. (CFTK)

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