By Chad Ingram
Call volumes for Haliburton County’s paramedics increased by nearly nine per cent in 2015.
A report from paramedic chief and EMS director Craig Jones shows the total number of calls paramedics received in 2015 was 6061 up from 5578 in 2014.
Emergency calls in particular were up by 231 or an increase of 9.7 per cent over 2014 representing the highest volume of emergency calls the county has ever seen.
Standby calls were up 260.
“Ambulance use increases as age increases” Jones’s report reads. “We anticipate a corresponding increase in requests for service as our age demographic increases.”
Of the patient-carrying calls the department had in 2015 76 per cent of them were for those aged 45 and above. Nearly 33 per cent were for those aged 80 and above.
“We definitely don’t expect those numbers to decrease as far as the age demographic” Jones told councillors during a Feb. 18 meeting.
Haliburton County has cross-border services agreements with surrounding municipalities for emergency services.
During the past few years there has been a decrease in the number of calls in the county being attended to by staff from other municipalities.
While the number of calls in the county attended by other paramedic services was 398 in 2013 it was 379 for 2014 and last year 326.
“We are doing more of our own calls” Jones told councillors.
This results in less cross-border billing for the municipality to pay.
Meanwhile the number of calls outside the county being responded to by local paramedics has increased from 259 in 2013 to 316 in 2014 to 346 in 2014.
“We have attempted to mitigate this concern by collaborating with neighbouring counties and developing changes in our deployment plan” Jones’s report reads.
The Haliburton station which has one 24-hour and one 12-hour ambulance handled the highest number of calls for the year. A total of 3210 calls were dealt with from that station.
The Minden base which has one 24-hour ambulance handled just more than 1400 calls and the Tory Hills station which is manned with one 12-hour ambulance just less than 960 calls.