Fire department checks on hospital overcrowding

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service is working on a plan with Fraser Health and Johnson Controls to address future problems.

Doctors and nurses concerned about overcrowding issues at Abbotsford Regional Hospital have alerted the local fire department to the issue.

Deputy Chief Mike Helmer said Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) has attended the hospital twice – once in October and once in January – to observe cramped conditions occurring at that time.

Now, AFRS is working with Fraser Health and Johnson Controls (one of the hospital’s management providers) to develop a plan for dealing with periods of overcrowding so that they don’t hit a “critical stage,” Helmer said.

He said dangerous situations can arise, with emergency and exit corridors being blocked. Measures could include moving patients to open wards. The safety plan is expected to be complete by mid-March.