Victoria has the fastest ambulance response time.

Victoria has the fastest ambulance response time.

Victoria Ambulance response times best in B.C.

Ambulances averaged a response time of 7:26 in Victoria last year, the fastest in the province

When it comes to trauma, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds.

And while the system isn’t perfect, Greater Victoria residents can find comfort in knowing they’ve got the fastest average ambulance response times in B.C.

According to the latest data from the B.C. Ambulance Service, ambulances averaged a response time of 7:26 in Victoria last year, the fastest in the province and a far cry from the provincial median of 15 minutes.

“We have a saying that time is brain, or time is muscle, meaning every minute gives you an opportunity to save those particular tissues,” said Dr. Chris Morrow, site chief for emergency medicine for the South Island at Island Health.

Morrow and other emergency room doctors liaise with the roughly 200 paramedics and 15 ambulances that cover Sooke to Sidney in an attempt to shave crucial seconds off hospital arrival and wait times each year.

“There are a number of critical conditions in which time will save lives, like severe allergic reactions, acute stroke and acute heart attack,” Morrow said.

The average 30-45 minutes it takes for non-trauma patients to move from ambulance to emergency rooms is also important in maintaining fast local response times, said Grant Brilz, Greater Victoria district manager with the B.C. Ambulance Service.

“That allows us to move ambulances back on to the streets, where they’re available for other calls, which then reduces the response times to those subsequent calls,” Brilz said.

B.C. ambulances aren’t restricted by municipal boundaries, which allows greater flexibility to move services around the region as patient demand requires, he added.

Peak ambulance times usually occur at 11 a.m. and in the early afternoon, when patient transfers between hospitals are in full swing.

The Canadian benchmark for Code 3, or lights-and-siren ambulance response times is about nine minutes.

Saanich and Esquimalt ambulances clocked in at 8:17 and 8:32 respectively last year, while Oak Bay responses averaged 9:20 from dispatch to arrival.

The B.C. Ambulance Service responded to more than 400,000 events last year; more than half of those were Code 3 calls.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The construction zone remains for now at Clover Point, but plans for a new pedestrian zone and partially closed traffic loop were approved by Victoria councillors on Thursday. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Victoria council compromises with partial closure of Clover Point

Option preserves parking 14 spots facing ocean, creates more pedestrian space

(Black Press Media file photo)
Trees Cannabis to reignite downtown Victoria location as licensed store

The dispensary will reopen its 230 Cook St. location on Saturday

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

Sergeant Francis Dion with the box containing HMCS Calgary’s new secret mascot costume. (HMCSNCSMCalgary/Facebook)
Don Devenney is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Community Builder of the year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
West Shore volunteer’s efforts an exercise in adventurous pursuits

Don Devenney is the 2021 recipient of the Community Builder Award

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read