Support the EMS levy

On the island and elsewhere fire commissioners have had a difficult time splitting their knowledge and oversight of the divergent budgets and skill sets. The split attention caused a decrease in the effectiveness of both departments and was the driving reason EMS split from Fire. Both benefited.

Rolling a large fire truck on every EMS call illustrates my point about mindsets. The truck is large, slower than a car, expensive to run, and cannot access remote areas on the island. The equipment first responders need is neither expensive nor bulky. When I ran EMS the approach rolling of Paramedic car, Aid chief car, EMTs, first responders and ambulance all converging on the person in need lead to an average response time 5 minute and unparalleled clinical success. We had historic cardiac arrest survival and I believe our published data remains the best ever published. We saw success in the management of dive injuries, hypothermia, burns, poisoning, anaphylactic shock, sea and land search and rescue etc.

I am disappointed to see those who pushed for Fire to take over EMS try to accomplish their goal through denying funding. Whether Fire or Hospital our boards will only be as good as the people serving. Having a laser like focus on a single mission rather than splitting attention between Fire and Aid provides the greatest probability of long term success. My hope is the Hospital Commissioners will bring the Aid Unit back to it’s prior glory while working closely with the Fire department. That is how it should be. Support the EMS levy.

J. Burk Gossom, MD

Friday Harbor