Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


City EMS Continues To Encounter “Code Blacks”

By Adam Riley Oct 17, 2022 | 6:04 PM

Superior North EMS Ambulance - Acadia Broadcasting File Photo

Superior North E-M-S was left struggling to keep up with service demand this past Friday, resulting in a Code Black. That is where there are no ambulances available to respond to calls, Leaving other emergency service providers to fill the gaps, at times having Thunder Bay Fire Rescue were attending to multiple calls at one time.

Officials with Superior North EMS say staffing shortages left the night shift down a couple of crews.

“I was short two ambulances,” says SNEMS Chief Wayne Gates, “needless to say that put an extraordinary amount of pressure on the EMS system that night.”

Gates says this isn’t a Thunder Bay specific problem as EMS providers across the Northwest are facing staff shortages. For his organization Gates says they are working to fill the gaps by recruiting paramedics from Southern Ontario.

Part of the problem also stems from a shortage of social based services and programs that in the past helped keep ambulances responding to emergencies. Such as the former SOS program from Shelter House, which was forced to indefinitely suspend its operations on September 22nd after a decline in funding. Gates laments the loss of the SOS Program as its shutdown has had an impact, but to what extent he is unable to say.

“That was a great resource that allowed people to be able to get around in the city and sometimes even get to the Emergency Department or return from the Emergency Department if they were brought there by us.”

Looking ahead to the fall cold, flu, and what is expected to be a hard surge in Covid-19 infections, Gates believes the best way to relieve pressure on their system is for the community to be proactive.

“I know lot of people might not like to hear this but a simple one is wearing masks. Masks actually was a very proactive way of keeping infection rates down from Covid and people getting sick and going to emerg…”he says adding, “I think what would really help us actually if the public would do their best to try to do as many preventative things as possible and that takes pressure off of everybody.”


Leave a Reply