Letter: Improve emergency response for boat access cottagers

“A boat in the water is quicker than than any agency with boats on trailers”

To the Expositor:

I have read the 2018 27 jury recommendations to improve emergency response time for boat access cottagers in Ontario.

The Georgian Bay Association has stated, “Response time is slower in cottage country and we should be prepared for this, cottagers should be their own first responders and be equipped with first aid supplies and CPR and first aid training. Associations should consider having community AED defibrillators and spinal boards.”

Obviously, there is a need to improve emergency response time in cottage country. The quickest is a lake by lake emergency response team led by people knowledgeable with their local lake and cottage owners’ coordinates.

A boat in the water is quicker than any agency with boats on trailers.

Existing now:

“Dial 911 for any emergency situation, whenever police, fire or ambulance assistance is required immediately. OPP is the default responders to 911 calls and will attend the emergency or will ensure that the appropriate emergency agency attends.”

This directive must not change for any reason. Forming an Emergency Lake Response Team can only enhance the OPP’s responsibilities. Saving lives is our primary goal.

Personally, I have a very high respect for our local OPP community. We are all very fortunate for their dedication, patience and understanding.

A hands-on solution:

This proposal is a result of consultation with other Ontario Cottagers Associations.

1. Establish a volunteer emergency lake response team (ELRT) that is qualified in the St. John Ambulance course.

2. The ELRT must educate themselves properly to respond as quickly and prepared as possible.

3. Provincial 911 will contact Northern 911 after contacting the OPP.

4. Northern 911 will contact the ELRT for the area in question.

5. Communication is absolutely critical once the emergency situation has been evaluated by the ELRT. The information must be shared with the OPP as soon as possible.

What is required?

1. We require an ELRT pilot project set up for the 2021 summer. I am not sure which agency will grant us permission to work with the OPP on such a project.

2. If you have any feedback. Please contact me; opinions good or bad or ideas.

Richard J. Foucault