EMS levy is coming up

EMS levy is coming up

We have an extraordinary emergency medical system on our island. SJIEMS consistently achieves top-10 national rankings for cardiac-arrest survival rates and ranks among the best of rural emergency medical services in the US. (CARES Registry).

Unlike many other services, even those in large cites, our career paramedics respond with EMTs to 9-1-1 calls. Other jurisdictions are “tiered” systems where EMTs respond initially and make an assessment of the necessity for a paramedic. Only then is a medic dispatched, with the obvious time delay. Last year more than 70% of our EMS calls required paramedic level skills.

We are an isolated community, as only an island can be. We must rely upon the skills and abilities of our paramedics and EMTs to a degree unheard of on the mainland. These folks undergo many additional hours of training to fill their roles as rural area providers.

Public funds must be assessed carefully and utilized in a transparent and cost effective manner. We know of no one who would argue this point. me people question whether SJIEMS needs the requested property tax assessment increase from $0.35/1000 to $0.50/1000 of assessed property value (i.e., $140/year vs $200/year for a $400,000 property). Spreadsheets and cost estimates have been discussed in other forums and more information can be found on www.VoteYesforEMS2016.com.

We will simply draw attention to the fact that our medics and EMTs are using outdated cardiac monitors and old ambulances . Our medics are on call more hours and paid less than in other equivalent agencies. Our EMTs are dedicated providers who are a major reason SJI EMS consistently rates so high in customer satisfaction.

The current levy expires at the end of this year. Without a new levy in place, on-going levy funding of EMS will cease. With passage of a new levy, we will be able to maintain the exemplary level of care we now have. And so we ask this question: who will respond to your emergency if there is no EMS service?

Let’s not risk losing our premium EMS service. Save EMS. Vote Yes

Francis & Rebecca Smith

San Juan Island