Kerry Brewer writes
On the morning of Monday, July 5th, my spouse and I were walking north on the west side of the Hike & Bike Trail when we came across 4 bicyclists, one of whom was sitting on the ground. I was acquainted with another one in the group who asked if I knew First Aid as the person on the ground had fallen from their bike, sustaining a head injury. I heard the victim repeatedly asking “Did I fall off my bike?” The remaining group members confirmed that what they were hearing was confused and jumbled and they were concerned about a concussion. I urged them to call for an ambulance which they did at once. We continued heading north on our walk confident that the ambulance would have arrived by the time we returned, when another of the cyclists came up behind us to say that the ambulance crew didn’t know how to access the trail and had just left it at that, offering no other options for moving the injured person to hospital. By this time the head injured person was standing and the group was left with only one alternative – to walk north to Park Rill Road, approximately 1/2 mile away, where they could be met by a car. Fortunately my spouse remembered that the trail could be accessed at the Visitors’ Information Centre. This information was relayed to my friend who called 911 again and told the ambulance crew how to get there. They eventually arrived, the victim was transported to hospital and was later released.
This incident raises red flags all over the place! Why doesn’t the Ambulance Service have a plan for responding to emergencies on the Hike & Bike Trail? Why don’t they have keys to the gates on the east and west sides of both the north and south trails? What would happen if someone had a serious head injury, stroke or heart attack on the trail when time is imperative for reaching medical care? So many people of all ages walk on these trails. Their safety is compromised by this deficit within the Ambulance Services. Now one crew knows how to access the west side of the trail headed north, but what about next time?
I have a great deal of respect for ambulance crews and for the difficult work they do. My intention in writing about this incident is to provide a heads-up for the supervisors in hopes that a plan can be developed before a death occurs on the trail due to lack of ambulance response.