Since I started working as a reporter with the Airdrie City View/Rocky View Weekly nearly two years ago, I have personally reported on and written multiple articles about the “ongoing crisis” of ambulance availability.
But what I didn’t realize is that I would personally benefit from the local advocacy efforts I had been reporting on these past two years to better equip our local emergency responders and to support ambulance response times in our community.
Earlier this month, I found myself waiting with bated breath for emergency responders to arrive on my doorstep to attend to a loved one in need. Though the situation was thankfully not as dire as it first seemed, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel arrived within minutes to attend to the situation.
The almost immediate rap on the door came as a surprise to my household and was in stark contrast to what we had heard was an oftentimes extended ambulance wait time in Airdrie. In fact, I had written more than a few articles about people's ambulance wait times here exceeding upwards of one hour.
During my first summer as a reporter, I covered one of four town hall meetings that were hosted across the metropolitan Calgary region to discuss ambulance shortages and slow response times. The meeting was attended by emergency service personnel, community members, local officials, and election candidates that summer.
What followed was a flurry of advocacy efforts at the municipal level and within the non-profit sector to ensure Airdrie and the surrounding communities were better served by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Early in 2022, I covered a council meeting where a longtime Airdronian offered up a generous donation to help provide a “made in Airdrie” solution to the growing issue of slow EMS response times in the community.
I personally witnessed that gift come to fruition with a hands-on full simulation lab demonstration at the tail-end of 2022, demonstrating equipment that would help further train and equip Airdrie Fire Department (AFD) staff to respond to health emergencies.
I cannot say for certain whether any of these initiatives have, as of yet, had a direct impact on alleviating the strain on EMS or expediting service delivery times. But they certainly helped raise awareness of the need for improved ambulance services in Airdrie and the surrounding Rocky View County communities.
When the EMS personnel left my home that day, I made sure to thank them for their work and for arriving so quickly to attend to what could have been a life-threatening emergency.
They humbly accepted the thanks (in true hero style) and urged me and fellow Airdronians to continue our advocacy efforts through our municipal government and by supporting local organizations such as the Airdrie Health Foundation.
I hope my fellow Airdronians reading this will do just that. After all, you don’t realize how much you need them, until you really need them.