LETHBRIDGE, AB – If paramedics are being added to the top priority list for COVID-19 vaccinations, the province’s firefighters say they should be as well.
Earlier this week, Premier Jason Kenney announced that paramedics and other EMS personnel were now available to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as they play a crucial role in first response.
Now, the Alberta Fire Chiefs Association (AFCA) has written to the Government of Alberta wants the same to happen for their members.
“Every day, municipal fire/medical response agencies across the province provide emergency medical first response care to Albertans. Up to 70% of Fire Department calls are to medical emergencies.”
This is especially the case for rural communities where firefighters often arrive before any other forms of first responders.
AFCA adds that many of these calls are to vulnerable populations such as group homes, seniors care facilities, and motor vehicle collisions.
“Firefighters are at a grave risk of contracting the virus. The risk to communities also increases as more firefighters go into isolation, often leaving a department short of trained personnel.”
The association says both volunteer and career firefighters are left to wonder how their service to Albertans is viewed.