Wednesday, May 19, 2021

May 10 Council Notes: Community Safety Officers, Solidarity with Indian Farmers, and Medical Emergency Service Alarm Calls

On May 10th, Langley City Council passed several motions. The first motion was for City staff to explore a Community Safety Officer Program concept and bring their findings back to Council.

The motion was:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Langley City staff explore the option of a Community Safety Officer Program as a support and outreach initiative that connects unhoused people to services and provides a swift, supportive, and effective response to some of our most challenging social issues; and
FURTHER THAT Langley City staff explore redefining the City’s Bylaw Enforcement Department to engage with our vulnerable population and reduce community safety concerns and enhance relationships with local business owners and operators providing education and prevention information while maintaining high visibility in the downtown area.

Council also passed a motion to stand in solidarity with Indian farmers who, since August 2020, have been protesting against three agricultural bills enacted last September by the Indian government:

THAT the City of Langley stands in solidarity with the Indian farmers and supports the rights of Indian farmers to speak out against these laws and any repressive measures against Indian citizens and their right to expression and liberty.

Council previously requested a discussion paper on Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls which Langley City Fire Rescue Service attends as part of a voluntary agreement with the province government.

While the Province does not compensate Langley City for attending these medical calls, it is a service that the City provides because this type of “intermediate patient care can greatly enhance patient outcomes and therefore significantly reduce short-term and long-term costs to the overall health care system.”

Over the years, the number of Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls has increased. Today, 70% to 79% of all calls the Langley City Fire Rescue Service attends are of this type. Between 2016 and 2021, the budget for Langley City Fire Rescue Service has increased from $4.5 million to $6.4 million.

As noted in the discussion paper, in 2018, the City hired three additional firefighters to address a backlog of fire inspections. The backlog is a result of the increase in Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls.

The City has been advocating for years that the Province provides some cost recovery to municipalities for attending Medical Emergency Service Alarm calls. However, both NDP and Liberal governments have not been keen on this.

The City agrees with the recommendations in the Auditor General of British Columbia’s independent audit report, “Access to Emergency Health Services” that:

[The Province] needs to increase the number of paramedics and ambulances, as well as the plan to introduce a new dispatch approach to shorten response times for patients who need the care most.

For more information, please read the City’s discussion paper.

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