Island EMS no longer has a home in Kensington – at least for now.
Until late November, Island EMS used the Kensington Fire Hall as a staging area for one of its ambulances between calls.
However, a conflict has arisen between Island EMS staff and the town’s volunteer firefighters.
The result has been the ambulance and its paramedics having to find another place to park.
Kensington town council got an update this week on the situation during its committee meeting.
“It is evident that both groups can’t occupy the same space in a – peaceful environment,” said Geoff Baker, the town’s chief administrative officer.
He added that the conflict between the two groups, the nature of which he did not elaborate on, has been building for some time, to the point where it was recently decided that to keep the peace the two groups should no longer share a facility.
“Island EMS want to keep a good working relationship with our firefighters, obviously they do get called to common emergencies, at times. They don’t want to create any kind of animosity,” he said.
Baker added that the town is working with Island EMS to try and find an alternate home for an ambulance to stage in Kensington, but it is proving to be a challenge.
Island EMS requires an indoor space for its vehicles, which means a building with some kind of bay door, sufficient space for the vehicle and a place for the paramedics outside of the ambulance. EMS, a private company, was also using the fire hall free of charge.
Claude Gavin, western regional manager for Island EMS, said the company shares space with a number of fire departments across the Island.
There are six such host communities in the Prince County/Western Queens County area, including: Alberton, O’Leary, Summeride, Crapaud, Tignish, and now Kinkora, which replaced Kensington.
Gavin said the relocation is unfortunate but he left the door to reconciliation between the two groups.
“We’ve got no hard feelings against anyone at all – we have to work with these people.”
“We’re all EMS, we’re all there for the same purpose, to look after the public. That’s what’s most important.”
Island EMS aims for a response time for a community with more than 5,000 people of eight minutes and 59 seconds. Communities with populations smaller than 5,000 have a national standard response time of 22 minutes, about 95 per cent of the time.
An ambulance coming from either Summerside or Kinkora can reach Kensington within that timeframe, said Gavin.
“We’re still going to care for the people of Kensington, we’re adamant about caring for everyone across this Island,” he added.
When contacted by the Journal Pioneer, Rodney Hickey, Kensington’s deputy fire chief, declined to comment.