“There are many steps involved to mitigate impacts,” says Verity Higgins, a communications advisor with the City of Edmonton. “Adjusting traffic signalling, rescheduling bus routes … and looking at traffic impacts to plan detours.”
Higgins says the City also tries to balance which areas of the city are undergoing the most work, but that some projects are not under their purview. In cases where there is a lot of work, the City works to consult with emergency services and update them about potential impacts.
“Emergency services teams are consulted throughout the planning of infrastructure projects,” Higgins noted. “Ensuring emergency service requirements are met to minimize impacts to emergency vehicles.”
That’s important, given the focus from AHS and others on reducing emergency response times, which in November of 2022 were as high as 21.8 minutes for life-threatening calls in metro centres, according to an AHS report. In April of this year, that number shrunk to 12 minutes.
Sometimes, though, trudging through traffic and construction can still be quicker than calling another responder, Gregson says.
“A lot of times, they’ll say, ‘OK, you’re the closest ambulance’ but I’m still driving from the south side to the north end. Even with clear roads, I’m still going to be at least 20 minutes with the lights and sirens,” he says. “So yes, I might be delayed a few minutes, but that could still be quicker than some other instances where I had no delay.”
Savvy AF. Blunt AF. Edmonton AF.