The Alberta Provincial Government announced several new measures to improve EMS response times in the province this morning (Jan. 16).

Among the newest measures are 20 more ambulances for Calgary and Edmonton during their peak times, on top of the 19 that have already been added.

According to Health Minister Jason Copping, those new ambulances will go some way to prevent ambulances from being pulled out of neighbouring municipalities.

"Putting those additional ambulances and EMS staff on the road in Edmonton and Calgary will speed up response times in the cities and in the surrounding communities. It means more ambulances can stay in their home [communities]."

In an effort to keep EMS workers out on the road as much as possible, they'll also be fast-tracking ambulance transfers by prioritizing urgent patients, with resources being used to handle non-urgent transfers too.

Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson, who also serves as parliamentary secretary for EMS reforms and co-chairs the Alberta Emergency Medical Services Provincial Advisory Committee, also mentioned some supports for EMS workers.

"Frontline workers have told us there is a need for more sustained and regular mental health check-ins and supports. We need to make this happen and take care of those who answer Albertans' call for help in a time of their most urgent needs."

A few pilots are also underway including one that allows EMS workers to assess patients on-site and refer them to other services if need be.