Medical first responder (MFR) agencies across Alberta will be receiving funding to increase the quality of emergency care in communities province wide. 

MFRs are usually the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency and provide life-saving care until an ambulance arrives, especially in remote and rural communities. 

In an announcement by the Government of Alberta, through the MFR Program, $3.85 million will be distributed to support the quality of emergency care. 

"Medical first responders are unsung heroes and often the first on the scene of an emergency, particularly in remote areas where access to immediate care is limited. Their swift intervention can mean the difference between life and death while waiting for EMS services. Investing in these agencies will help to make sure they have the tools and training they need to provide timely and life-saving emergency care when and where it’s needed," said Minister of Health, Adriana LaGrange in a press release. 

The support will increase the funding by $3.75 million this year and will expand the program to include medium and large MFR agencies across Alberta, including fire departments, urban, remote, and rural municipalities, and Indigenous communities that participate in the MFR program. 

There are more than 200 MFR partner agencies across Alberta, and they will receive targeted funding for emergency medical services (EMS). 

Some participating MFR agencies in the area include the Strathmore Fire Department, Wheatland West Fire Department, Three Hills Fire Department, Irricana Fire Department, Chestermere Fire Department, Brooks Fire Department, Hussar Fire Department, and Drumheller Fire Association. 

“Medical first responders continue to be an essential component of emergency medical service provision, particularly in our rural and remote communities. At times, they are indeed the only response available, and I am proud that our government is recognizing how vital their services are by way of this funding announcement,” said Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health. 

Financial support will consider two main streams. The first will build on the successes from the previous years of the MFR program and will provide various supplies and services, including medical kits, AEDs, CPR mannequins, instructor development, and front-line responder training courses. 

The second stream introduced totaled $2.5 million and will directly support MFR agencies to offset some of the growing costs involved with population growth and general inflation of equipment and fuel. 

This investment will move forward to enhance health care services for Albertans and will help to address the diverse needs and challenges of remote, rural, and Indigenous communities. 

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