An influx of phone calls to Urgences-santé has caused the Montreal and Laval-based medical service to remind citizens that 911 is for “critical emergencies” only.
According to the Corporation d’Urgences-santé de la région de Montréal Métropolitain, Montreal’s hazardous winter weather has resulted in “three times the normal volume of calls.”
Urgences-santé says Montreal’s blend of ice, snow and rain has kept them in a state of readiness, capable of mobilizing to situations quickly, but too many citizens have been using its services for non-life threatening situations.
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Urgences-santé is the largest emergency paramedical service organization in Quebec. It has more than 1,500 employees, including over 1,000 paramedics and 110 dispatchers, and serves the 2.5 million residents of both Montreal and Laval.
In asking the public to help responders prioritize emergencies, the medical service has highlighted the following reminders during winter storms:
- Don’t go outside unless you have to and be diligent when you do
- Make sure your home is accessible — spread abrasive on your walkway and outdoor stairs. Do the same for any neighbours who are frail or elderly
- Give the right of way to ambulances
- For any non-emergency situation, call the Info-Santé health line (8-1-1)
Urgences-santé concluded the statement by thanking the paramedics, dispatchers and support staff who are doing “outstanding work to continue providing the public with first-rate service.” It also thanks the public for their patience and for using its services properly during weather-related incidents.