On August 9, 2018 at the Annual General Assembly of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) and the Cree Nation of Chisasibi signed a partnership agreement to strengthen first responder services in the community. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Grand Chief Abel Bosum and the assembled leaders of all the communities of Eeyou Istchee by Daniel Saint-Amour, Executive Director, and Davey Bobbish, Chief of Chisasibi.
The partnership with Chisasibi is the fifth such agreement that the Cree Health Board has signed. So far, Nemaska, Eastmain, Waskaganish and Whapmagoostui have signed similar agreements. ‘Our aim is to sign agreements with all the communities and we are continuing discussions with Mistissini, Oujé-Bougoumou, Waswanipi and Wemindji’, stated Daniel Saint-Amour.
First responders are first on the scene of accidents and medical emergencies and help stabilize patients and transport them by ambulance to the nearest clinic or hospital. As an example, in case of a pre-hospital emergency in Chisasibi, first responders will be responsible of bringing a person in need to the Chisasibi local hospital or any other location determined by the Regional Medical Director. The Cree Health Board, with funding from the Ministry of Health and Social Services of Quebec, provides ambulances to the Cree First Nations and also organizes training so that first responders, most often firefighters employed by the Band, can obtain and maintain their certification.
With the new agreement, the Cree Health Board will provide additional financial support to help maintain 24/7 emergency preparedness and support the cost of ambulance maintenance. The agreement clarifies roles and responsibilities and provides for improved tracking of the number and the nature of ambulance runs. With this additional support, the community of Chisasibi and the other communities who have signed similar agreements will benefit from more efficient ambulance services around the clock. First responders also respond to emergencies outside the community such as highway accidents, so land users, travellers and visitors to the region will also benefit from the strengthened services that will result from these agreements.