Friday, October 22, 2021
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Lethbridge supporting Red Deer in complaint about EMS dispatch consolidation

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lethbridge is backing Red Deer as the fight against ambulance dispatch consolidation continues.

City Council held a special meeting Monday afternoon (Sept. 27) in which it unanimously passed a resolution to support that central Alberta city with an official complaint to the provincial ombudsman.

Marc Rathwell, the Chief of Lethbridge Fire & EMS, says he fully supports this move.

“I believe this is a good fight for our community,” stated Rathwell. “This saves our community, there are a lot of efficiencies with our (integrated Fire/EMS) system. If we don’t fight for it we won’t have it.”

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Earlier this year, the Alberta government centralized EMS dispatch in four communities including Lethbridge and Red Deer, saying it will save the province a lot of money. That, however has been disputed by the affected communities which maintain centralizing ambulance dispatch will cost response time and cost lives.

There’s a hope that with Alberta having a new Health Minister, Jason Copping would perhaps reconsider the move made by his predecessor Tyler Shandro. Outgoing Mayor Chris Spearman told Council that Shandro was the only Health Minister over the last number of years who went down this road, even though impacted communities have been against the concept.

Spearman, who brought forward the official business resolution, says this EMS consolidation issue was and still is a big issue. “People who’ve had the unfortunate experience dealing with centralized EMS are frustrated when they call and say the incident is on Mayor Magrath Drive and people say where’s that on the other end of the phone. Valuable time is lost when people don’t understand the locale and geography.”

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of News Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and Funeral Assistant since 2016.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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