Emergency responders’ maps out of date

There's some room for improvement in the Cowichan Lake area's emergency services' response times.

  • Apr. 11, 2011 1:00 p.m.

There’s some room for improvement in the area’s emergency services’ response times.

This much was made clear when Lake Cowichan Fire Department chief Doug Knott and Ambulance Unit chief Gerry True met with the town’s elected officials, Tuesday, April 5, to discuss issues in response times.

“People in town see response time as not quick enough,” the town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said.

The item was brought to the table a few weeks ago, when it was reported that a call-out to a residence on Somenos Street North was delayed, due to emergency responders’ outdated map system, which didn’t identify a split in the road, with a bush dividing the road.

True was on that call.

“On that particular call, there were some issues with signage,” the unit chief said, adding that the maps they carry from the town did not identify the split in the road, leading them to believe they had the wrong address.

Olson Lane is another problem road, True said. These issues need to be dealt with at a larger scale than just one or two group of emergency responders, he said, as there are a number of different teams that respond to emergency calls in town.

Although the dispatcher receives the street address automatically, with landline phones, cell phones don’t display a location.

“These things aren’t 100 per cent,” he said.

Knott said that communication between members has improved drastically in the last three months by increased radio contact, but the fire department uses a different mapping system than the ambulance service. Not all map sources between the two departments are up to date.

“We can update the maps,” the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk told the pair of delegates. “That’s not a problem.”

These new maps will include the range of street numbers, so responders can more quickly find addresses.

Town staff will also meet with Knott and True in the near future to come up with additional solutions.