Raising public health and safety concerns they’ve noticed in Prince Albert, two groups of local fourth-year nursing students faced city council on Monday.
As part of a class with Dr. June Anonson, students were charged with presenting a topic related to the nursing profession to council, with the two groups settling on fire department response times and crosswalk safety concerns.
First to the podium was Jonaya Barker, who represented a group that included peers Caylah Casavant, Kristen Duret and Stephanie LeBlanc.
Barker referenced a decision made by the city’s elected officials earlier this year to see the city’s accepted fire department response time set at nine minutes and 30 seconds.
As fire Chief Les Karpluk noted at the time, this is more than three minutes more than the current industry standard of six minutes and 20 seconds.
“This mindset would be like a nurse stating, ‘we’re out of gloves, so let’s just change the policy so we no longer have to wear them,’” Barker said.
With firefighters responding to all forms of emergencies, not only limited to fires, Barker said that this is a public health concern, and that fire department substations are required.
“In health care, a few minutes can mean the difference between life, death or disability,” she said. “The golden hour is essential in health care.”
Responding to the group’s concerns, Mayor Greg Dionne thanked the group, noting that council has already considered the idea of two substations.
In health care, a few minutes can mean the difference between life, death or disability. - Nursing student Jonaya Barker
“Council has designated two locations for the two new fire halls, so we’re in the process,” he told the group. “We’ve identified where they have to go and we’ll be moving forward from there.”
After the meeting, Dionne said that the city’s still in the project’s planning stages, and that the two parcels of land that have been identified are located in the city’s southern quadrants -- one in the east hill and one in the west hill.
The second group of nursing students to speak encouraged council to install crosswalk signs with flashing beacons at all major crosswalks in the city, as well as advertise to the public the importance of crosswalk safety.
Pulling various statistics out for council consideration, the group consisting of Debra Burnouf, Wanda Burnouf, Lindsay Dennett and Robin Mourot took turns with speaking points.
They told council that according to a SGI report, 25 pedestrians were injured in Prince Albert in 2010 and one person was killed.
The highest rate of motor vehicle/pedestrian incidents occurs on Tuesdays and Fridays, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., they said, adding that the worst month is October.
A safety blitz by city police during these times may help, they encouraged.