WHEREAS Alberta is a province comprised of main highways such as, but not limited to, trans Canada Highway 1, Queen Elizabeth Highway 2, highway 3,4, and 9, Highway 16, and Highway 35, 43, and 49 and secondary highways which are feeder routes to the main highways; AND WHEREAS municipalities and their surrounding areas have Emergency Services Personnel often comprised of volunteers; AND WHEREAS members of these Emergency Services Departments are required to attend to incidents that have taken place on Alberta Highways; AND WHEREAS response by Emergency Services Personnel is crucial to the outcome of emergency incidents;AND WHEREAS the Traffic Safety Amendment Act, 2005, which is currently awaiting proclamation, is proposed to establish reduced speed limits in construction zones, and where emergency vehicles or tow trucks are operating.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to develop Emergency Response Protocols and assume all liabilities arising from the attendance of provincial highway and roadway incidences for all responding emergency services personnel.
Rural municipalities have identified a critical need for establishing reduced speed limits in construction zones on Alberta primary and secondary highways, where emergency vehicles and/or tow trucks are operating. There are 104 firefighters in the U.S. and 14 in Canada who die while others get severely injured in the line of duty each year because of the excessive speeding of vehicles on the highways. Source: Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety.
In 1992, Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation established a policy entitled Fire Calls – Emergency Response on Highways (Recovery of Damage Claims). This policy was established after the department received a few large claims for fire protection services. The AAMDC is satisfied at this point that the costs being paid by the government are reasonable and that steps taken to protect first responders are adequate.In response to a need to protect emergency response workers on Alberta roadways, Bill 39 was passed and came into force on October 31, 2005. Under the new provincial law, motorists must slow down to 60 kilometres/hour or less if the posted speed is lower, when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped with their lights flashing. In construction zones, motorists must observe the posted speed limit. Fines are doubled for speeding past emergency vehicles and through active work areas where workers are present. This will make roads safer for police officers, firefighters, ambulance workers, tow truck operators and construction workers, as well as motoristsEmergency service personnel in Alberta are municipal employees and the Government of Alberta is not in a position to assume liabilities surrounding highway and roadway incidences. However, the recent transition of ambulance services to the province will likely alleviate some liablity issues. During this transition, the AAMDC will ensure liabilities arising from emergency services personnel attending provincial highway and roadway incidences are noted.