Northern Manitoba to get EMS station in Gillam

A new EMS station is being built in northern Manitoba, just a few years after a major overhaul of the province’s emergency medical services system saw more than a dozen stations closed down.

The government announced on Thursday that it will spend $994,000 to built the new emergency medical services station in Gillam.

“When minutes count, Manitobans need access to safe and reliable emergency response services, no matter where individuals in need are located in the province,” Health Minister Heather Stefanson said in a news release.

“That’s why we are making this important investment to create a new operational hub for the paramedics positioned in Gillam and surrounding communities.”

The new 2,200-square-foot station will be on Nisku Bay in the town on the Nelson River about 740 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

It will include a two-bay garage for ambulances, offices, crew quarters and space for staff training.

The design process is underway and the construction is expected to begin mid-June 2021 with occupancy by the end of October 2021.

The station comes out of the recommendations of the 2013 Manitoba EMS System Review, which also led to a swath of closures a few years ago.

The review advised consolidating low-volume stations in rural Manitoba into higher-volume stations staffed with full-time paramedics.

The changes are part of an effort to replace low-volume stations and duplication with a more effective and integrated emergency response system, the province said.

“This new station will give staff a dedicated space for training exercises, which will further enhance the service provided to Manitobans in our northern communities,” Darren Baker, Manitoba’s northern director of EMS, said in Thursday’s news release.

Construction is also currently underway on two other EMS stations, one in Selkirk to serve the Interlake-Eastern health region, and the other in Portage la Prairie to serve the Southern Health region.

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