Ambulance response times reach 6 minutes past target for life threatening calls in Winnipeg

Ambulance response times reach 6 minutes past target for life threatening calls in Winnipeg


Staff shortages and insufficient number of ambulances themselves have put Winnipeg’s ambulance response times to life threatening emergencies to six minutes longer than the city’s nine-minute response target.


Winnipeg’s fire-paramedic chief, Christian Schmidt, spoke to city council’s protection and community services committee on Friday stating that response times have crept up over the years and now approach 15 minutes.

Schmidt said the service is able to send some form of a response within the nine-minute target by sending firefighter-paramedics, with a first responder on the scene in Winnipeg in an average of eight minutes and 47 seconds.

However, the response time for sending ambulances, which are capable of transporting patients to hospital, is getting longer, he said.

“At the end of the day, when there are life-threatening emergencies in our communities across the province, we must have transport-capable resources at the ready to respond … within the timelines that are targeted,” Schmidt told the committee.

It’s not just staff shortages which have effected several fields on the Winnipeg medical community lately, but actual vehicles themselves that are lacking.

“When we have situations where we go into a weekend where we have one or zero physical ambulances available as spares to go out into service, that’s very concerning,” he said.

The fire-paramedic service operates 28 ambulances, 17 of those are on the street 24 hours a day as well as four community paramedicine units.

Ambulance response times outside the city have also been called into question. Last weekend, it took 36 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after a fatal skydiving accident was reported in Gimli.

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