Surrey City Hall. (File photo)

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)

Surrey firefighters’ response to drug overdose calls has increased by 25 per cent

City manager says this has equated to a 75 per cent increase in delivery of life-saving Naloxone by firefighters

The City of Surrey received a $14.7 million Safe-Start grant from the federal and provincial government in November to help it weather the pandemic, city manager Vincent Lalonde noted in his latest COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre Update to council.

“This grant will allow the City to off-set any unfavourable budgetary impacts of lower revenues and increased operating costs due to COVID19,” Lalonde told council, in a report that came before council on Jan. 11 covering the city’s response to the pandemic between Dec. 6 and Jan. 4.

“Staff are continuing to monitor the financial impact of restrictions on indoor group fitness activities and adult and youth indoor and outdoor team sports,” Lalonde noted. “It is imperative to emphasize that the highest priority for civic facility operations has always been and will continue to be public safety.”

READ ALSO: Surrey mayor ‘could not be any prouder’ as budget 2021 passes on five-to-four vote

His report indicates that between Dec. 6 and Jan. 4 Surrey firefighters responded, on average, to 82 calls for service per day

Lalonde noted that since Sept. 15 the BC Emergency Health Services has returned some calls for medical help to pre-COVID dispatch protocols, resulting in the Surrey Fire Service’s attendance to medical-related incidents increasing to 94 per cent of that of the same period last year. Moreover, Surrey firefighters’ response to overdoses increased by 25 per cent.

“This has equated to a 75 per cent increase in the delivery of life saving Naloxone to overdose patients by fire first responders,” Lalonde informed council. “This response change is having a positive impact on the priority population who experience opioid use disorder and overdose.”

Up to Jan. 4, the Surrey RCMP received on average 533 calls for service per day and dispatched officers to 378 incidents on average, per day over the past 30-days. Surrey RCMP calls for service have “fairly consistent,” with a 4.9 per cent decrease in average daily calls.

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