The MV Island Responder is at the ready with a trained crew to handle medical emergencies for islanders. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The MV Island Responder is at the ready with a trained crew to handle medical emergencies for islanders. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Editorial: Equipment upgrade a medical necessity

MV Island Responder and its team provide the best care for patients

The true health of our communities depends on the availability of the proper equipment as much as the trained personnel to respond to medical needs.

The residents of Thetis and Penelakut Islands are fortunate to have the MV Island Responder operating out of Chemainus. Emergency services have long been provided by Chemainus Water Taxi Ltd., but the introduction of this new vessel just takes patient care to a whole new level.

This is a purpose-built boat with all the amenities and that makes a big difference. Patients from the islands can be transported more readily and comfortably no matter what their needs might be, with plenty of space and accessibility for stretchers and/or wheelchairs.

Related story: First purpose-built marine ambulance in B.C. waters a valuable commodity

With the aging population on the islands just like everywhere else, it’s satisfying for people to know they’ll be in good hands should any emergencies arise.

Penelakut elder August (Augie) Sylvester understands that as much as anyone. He’s had two heart attacks before and if another incident occurs, he knows he can get the necessary transport to Chemainus aboard the Island Responder to be transferred onto a waiting ambulance.

Sylvester was front and centre during the delayed official ceremony last Thursday commemorating the boat that went into service during November of 2021. He and daughter Marya Luby provided a blessing to the boat so that it might arrive safe and sound in its travels every time.

Chemainus Water Taxi Ltd. owner Brian Francoeur has a great system in place to operate the vessel, with qualified captains ready to jump aboard at a moment’s notice to set the response team in motion.

Chris Mullin loves doing the job and being in his mid-60s, he has the time to devote to the task whenever needed. Same for Bob Mollet, a former police officer, who is also highly-trained and experienced in marine operations.

Francoeur himself serves in the role as well, along with retired Chemainus wharfinger Harmen Bootsma. A devoted team of individuals, who all reside near the Chemainus wharf in the event of an emergency, is always at the ready in life-and-death situations in consort with an amazing group of paramedics, who provide brilliant care from their expertise.

And big kudos to the first responders who set the process in motion on both islands.

Emergency callsHealth

 

The gang’s all here, BCEHS representatives, Ambulance Paramedics of BC, Chemainus paramedics, the honour guard, piper and more during the commissioning of the MV Island Responder in Chemainus. From left: Wray Watson, Rob Howland, Heather Edward, Nic Mann, Amy Poll, Stu Myers, Dave Leary, Jason Perry, Monica Morgan, Glenn Hovgaard, Mike Wright, Brad Cameron. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The gang’s all here, BCEHS representatives, Ambulance Paramedics of BC, Chemainus paramedics, the honour guard, piper and more during the commissioning of the MV Island Responder in Chemainus. From left: Wray Watson, Rob Howland, Heather Edward, Nic Mann, Amy Poll, Stu Myers, Dave Leary, Jason Perry, Monica Morgan, Glenn Hovgaard, Mike Wright, Brad Cameron. (Photo by Don Bodger)