Vote yes for Fire-EMS | Letter

It’s time to do what three committees over five years agreed is best for our community: consolidation of emergency response into a single agency. It’s what the citizens say they want, what a Citizens Advisory Group said is best for the community, what both the SJCPHD #1 (PHD) and SJI Fire & Rescue (Fire) boards voted to do, and what has been the approved national method of providing emergency response for nearly 50 years.

The list of advantages for consolidating emergency medical service and patient transport into a single agency are numerous: continuity of patient care, medical direction and administration, a unified training program, economy of scale savings with cross-trained/ multi-role firefighter/EMS personnel, more efficient use of limited personnel resources in our small community, and improved response times, to name just a few.

The proposed levy, supported by both Fire and PHD, is NOT a new tax. It will replace the current EMS levy and enable the creation of a single emergency response organization. It is the same $0.50/$1000 that the PHD would be asking if they renewed.

Passing this levy will allow Fire and EMS personnel to move from uncertainty to one organization with structural and financial stability. The work they do is uniquely exacting, arduous, sometimes dangerous, and often emotionally exhausting. They deserve our utmost respect and consideration for their service – and they have waited long enough.

A YES vote falls perfectly in place with the wishes of citizens and the care of our emergency response people.

Mark Schwinge

Friday Harbor