Ambulance Paramedics of BC challenge BC Ambulance Service to show them the 5 new positions in Interior and Northern BC Communications Centre it claims have been added since May 2006 - no sign of them so far

    KAMLOOPS, BC, Aug. 14 /CNW/ - The Ambulance Paramedics of British
Columbia are challenging the BC Ambulance Service to show them the five new
positions it claims have been added to the Interior and Northern BC
Communications Centre since May of 2006.
    "Five new positions? We can't find them anywhere and we'd sure like to,
because they are urgently needed," said John Strohmaier, president of the
Ambulance Paramedics, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 873.
    Strohmaier says recent claims in the media by Bob Gallaher, Executive
Director for the Interior Region of the BC Ambulance Service, that five
positions have been added is news to paramedics and emergency medical
    "There has been no increase in the actual number of physical positions
within the centre," Strohmaier said. "The only increase has been the number of
part time dispatchers, who fill in during vacancies due to vacations or
    Gallaher has not responded to the union's enquiries regarding these
alleged increased positions, Strohmaier said.
    The union has previously criticized dispatch centres for being
understaffed, with dispatchers being forced to endure antiquated equipment,
work in less than adequate conditions, not receiving breaks, and poor
managerial support.
    The recent Kimberley coroners inquest into the deaths of two paramedics
at the Sullivan Mine highlighted these issues, and made recommendations, but
conditions have not improved, Strohmaier said.
    Strohmaier said the Interior and Northern BC Communications Centre has
recently suffered a repeat of long standing problems which saw raw sewage
flood sections of the centre. The centre has been relocated to a smaller,
inadequate area within the current structure located in Kamloops. Basics such
as air conditioning and sound proofing have been constant problems within the
temporary centre.
    Strohmaier said the union is pushing the BC Ambulance Service to replace
the previously condemned building with a new structure to the north of the
existing building, along with updated, modern communications equipment and
software. A report on options for a new or renovated centre commissioned by
the BCAS has not been shared with the union at this point, he said.

For further information:

For further information: John Strohmaier at cell (604) 790-0873; or B.J.
Chute at cell (604) 218-6169, or (604) 273-5722; or Bill Tieleman, West Star
Communications at (604) 844-7827, or cell (778) 896-0964, Website:

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