Press Releases
New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services expand scope of practice
Posted On:
May 6, 2024

New Westminster, B.C. – Starting today, the City of New Westminster’s firefighters will be practicing as Emergency Medical Responders (EMR) instead of First Responders. This is a licensing designation that allows New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services to provide a greater level of medical assistance at pre-hospital medical aid calls, augmenting local medical response resources and helping to ensure patients receive the critical care they need in a timely manner.

Pre-hospital medical aid calls contribute to at least half of the calls Fire and Rescue receive on a daily basis, so these new medical skills and tools will be especially valuable when British Columbia Ambulance Services are overwhelmed. They’ll also enable firefighters to better support the City of New Westminster’s Emergency Management Office during extreme weather events, declared states of emergency, or mass casualty events when City resources are being strained.

“The overwhelming number of medical calls that went out during extreme weather events in recent years have demonstrated the critical need for more emergency medical resources to prevent delays in providing time-sensitive treatment. Expanding the scope of practice for New Westminster’s firefighters will alleviate some of the pressure on the emergency medical system and enable Fire and Rescue Services to be more proactive during extreme weather events, which will increase community resiliency,” said Mayor Patrick Johnstone.

Under the new scope of practice, New Westminster firefighters will be able to assess blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, and chest sounds. They will also be able to administer nitroglycerin and acetylsalicylic acid medication for emergency cardiac events, use bleeding control and pelvic binding tools for traumatic events, and have more pain control options. Additional patient assessment and treatment capabilities will be introduced later this year, including measuring blood sugar levels and administering glucagon for diabetic emergencies, epinephrine for extreme allergic reactions, and salbutamol for respiratory emergencies.

With support and encouragement from British Columbia Ambulance Services and the Emergency Medical Association Licensing Board, New Westminster City Council passed a resolution in October 2022 for New Westminster Fire and Rescue Services to proceed with the required training and certifications to become EMR licensed.


Media Contact:

Brad Davie
Deputy Fire Chief
City of New Westminster
604-830-6950 |