Emergency medical service model examination complete

April 11, 2017

Emergency medical service model examination complete

As part of its on-going commitment to provide emergency response in an efficient manner, Strathcona County Council received a report today providing an in-depth review of Strathcona County Emergency Services’ (SCES) operational model, with a focus on delivery of emergency medical services within an integrated system.

The review, led by Emergency Services Consulting International, involved reviewing outcomes of the current service model compared to neighbouring and similar jurisdictions, an examination of provided services, mandate and scope, including supporting policies, as well as the impact of being part of the provincial emergency medical service system and funding models.

As part of the review, the consultant interviewed representatives of SCES staff and management, Alberta Health Services, other fire/rescue/EMS providers, including similar integrated service providers as SCES.

The following is an overview of the report findings:

  • Strathcona County citizens receive various benefits and advantages found with a three-person ambulance staffing model.
  • The current SCES model of using the NFPA[1] and CFAI[2] recommended four-person fire response squad allows considerable flexibility, efficiency and adequate personnel in fires and other non-EMS incidents. In critical emergencies, the cross-trained fourth fire fighter can be removed from the fire engine and temporarily assigned to the ambulance, or the third person in the ambulance can be temporarily assigned to fire-fighting duties. This allows units to remain in service while staffing resources are temporarily redirected to address immediate needs.
  • SCES ambulances were staffed with three personnel in 94% of ambulance responses during the study period; with 92% of EMS incidents only requiring the services of the single ambulance (no further resources were needed).
  • Nearly 80% of all SCES three-person ambulances responses were to locations within Strathcona County.

While the review consisted of an evaluation of SCES operations, the emphasis was on emergency medical services, the integration of SCES within the provincial EMS system, and the unique three-person ambulance staffing model utilized by SCES. Through a comprehensive analysis of available data, the consultant affirmed that:

  • SCES’s approach is an effective, economical and efficient means of providing ground ambulance service to the citizens of Strathcona County.
  • There are other alternatives to providing EMS delivery to Strathcona County, however, the consultant recommends the continuation of the status-quo as the consultant concludes, for Strathcona County, the three-person ambulance staffing model is superior.
  • SCES should continue its contractual relationship with AHS to provide ambulance service.

Today, SCES operates a fully integrated Fire/Rescue/Emergency Medical Service with over 200 full and part time employees, who operate from six stations located throughout the County. The department oversees the four core business functions of community safety, emergency management, emergency communications and operations (emergency response).

The review is part of Strathcona County’s priority of providing a helping, caring and safe community for its residents. A copy of the report is available online or by calling 780-467-5216.


[1] National Fire Protection Association

[2] Commission on Fire Accreditation International

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.


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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595