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Injured Richmond lifeguard waits almost four hours for paramedics

"Tough" weekend for BCEHS paramedics, says union president.
A Richmond lifeguard was waiting on the pavement for over two hours for an ambulance.

An injured lifeguard at a Richmond community pool waited for at least almost four hours before paramedics arrived this past weekend.

Richmond resident Sandra Herbert posted on Facebook that an injured lifeguard had been “lying on the pavement for over two hours” waiting for an ambulance at Richmond’s South Arm pool.

She said a tent had been placed above him, presumably to shade him from the sun.

“It must be serious enough that they can’t move the person,” said Herbert.

She told the Richmond News that the lifeguard was injured around 1 p.m. and by the time her party left the area around 4:30 p.m. no ambulances or paramedics had shown up.

BC Emergency Health Services confirmed with the News they had received a call and responded to the incident on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The lifeguard was “cared for” by the paramedics and taken to the hospital.

Due to privacy reasons, BCEHS said details of the injury the lifeguard sustained cannot be revealed.

“We know it’s stressful when someone who needs an ambulance is waiting for one and we apologize for any delay,” said a spokesperson from BCEHS.

Kim Decker, spokesperson with the City of Richmond, told the News they also could not release information on the individual citing privacy reasons.

However, she confirmed with that an "employee needing medical attention was kept comfortable with shelter, water and first aid," which was administered by the city lifeguards while waiting for BC Ambulance.

According to BCEHS, ambulance response times can vary and are based on “the acuity of the patient,” with priority given to people with life-threatening symptoms including cardiac arrest, chest pain, breathing difficulties and severe bleeding or unconsciousness.

Patients who are considered “not extremely time-critical” are often advised, if it’s safe, to use other transportation methods with family or friends.

Troy Clifford, president of the Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia, told Castanet that this past weekend has been tough for BCEHS paramedics, adding that it was probably their “worst weekend” on record.

He said that many communities in B.C. are being left without ambulances because there are no paramedics to staff them.

-With files from Cindy White, Castanet