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Resident feels emergency vehicles causing health risk
An East Kildonan resident says he’s upset ambulances and stretcher service vehicles are being left to idle in front of Concordia Hospital and wants to know why nothing is being done about the problem.
Al Yakimchuk said he frequently visits the Tim Hortons location at the hospital and often notices ambulances and non-emergency transports idling outside the hospital’s front doors.
Yakimchuk said the exhaust fumes aren’t healthy for patients or visitors and wants something done to address the issue.
"The thing is, the emergency entrance most of the time is empty, so there’s no excuse for them to park way down at the other end of the hospital and then transport patients down the hall to emergency," Yakimchuk said.
"I see this all the time. You walk past the (emergency entrance) garage they have there and nothing is in there, and you walk around to the front there’s a running ambulance there."
Kathryn McBurney, a spokeswoman for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, said no-idling signs are posted near the hospital’s entrance.
However, the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service has its own idling policy. A City of Winnipeg spokesperson said the city does have a no-idle policy for vehicles, but it does allow for its emergency vehicles to idle if the weather is below 5 C or above 25 C.
"The city does have a no-idle policy which can be circumvented during certain periods of the year as the city does permit idling to keep the units warm at very cold, and cool at high temperatures in order to preserve current and future patient comfort, and to protect sensitive on-board equipment and medications," said spokesperson Tammy Melesko.
A representative for Medi-Van Transportation Specialists Inc., a private stretcher service in the city, said the company does not have an official no idling policy but drivers are told to turn off vehicles when not in use.
"In extreme weather, and if they’re picking up a patient, they can keep them running for the comfort of the patient," the spokesperson said.
Yakimchuk said he wants the situation to be addressed so patients and visitors no longer have to inhale diesel fumes on their way in or out of the hospital.
"How can it be clean air if it’s sucking in diesel fumes through the front door all the time," he said.
"It’s not like they’re hauling people out. I don’t know what they’re doing. I don’t see anybody coming in or out."
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