Q&A - Code 3 Driving Question
Within the BCEHS (bc ambulance service) our communications system has become staffed with new, non medically trained personell that use a computer system to triage calls. Due to many reasons we're being sent "code 3" (emergency driving mode) for calls that are at times ludicrous. For example I was sent in an emergency mode for a patient in a care home that had a fall 10 days ago and was now going to get x rays done in the local emergency ward.
Because of these kinds of calls, many of us are no longer going in an emergency mode to calls we're suspicious of being low priority calls mis-triaged and others whose comments added to the file leave serious doubt as to the urgency. Because of this, we're being threatened with insubordination, non compliance etc.
I was reading section 122 of the Act and specifically section 5:
Emergency response by a person other than a peace officer
5 (1) When a person other than a peace officer operates an emergency vehicle, the person may exercise the privileges granted by section 122 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act if the person operates the following emergency equipment, as applicable:
(i) in the exercise of privileges described in section 122 (1) (a) to (c) of the Motor Vehicle Act, an emergency light and siren;
(ii) in the exercise of privileges described in section 122 (1) (d) of the Motor Vehicle Act, an emergency light or an emergency light and siren.
(2) When a person other than a peace officer operates an emergency vehicle, the person may exercise the privileges granted by section 122 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act if the person has reasonable grounds to believe that the risk of harm to members of the public from the exercise of those privileges is less than the risk of harm to members of the public should those privileges not be exercised.
(3) In considering whether there are reasonable grounds under subsections (2), the driver of an emergency vehicle must consider the factors described in section 3 (2).
I interpret that (2) is clear that the operator (driver) needs REASONABLE grounds or they CANNOT proceed in an emergency manner or mode.
Is it also correct the the ultimate responsibilty and decision of the operation and mode of driving lies with the driver?
Sadly, I do not believe this has ever been questioned let alone challenged before; just those paramedics not going in an emergency mode to a call tagged as one were disciplined. I want to ensure I'm driving my unit in a lawful, safe and appropriate mode with ALL information given to me; BCEHS policy cannot trump provincial laws.