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Grout: Voting No doesn't 'save' EMS

  • Written by Richard Grout

Editor:

Among the many lies the EMS levy opponents are spreading the biggest lie is that voting no will “save” EMS. In fact, it will put EMS, and your safety, at risk. If the EMS levy fails Fire cannot simply take over EMS. They will have to pass their own levy and then negotiate multiple issues – licenses, staff, equipment, debt, etc. And based on how difficult those negotiations have been to date, thanks in large part to Fire’s unwillingness to abide by the conditions of the CAG report and to negotiate in good faith, it could take many months.

In the meantime, if the current EMS levy expires there will be no EMS. No funding, no EMS. A yes vote will prevent any lapse in funding. What a lapse would mean is that when you call 9-1-1 you will NOT get a paramedic and an ambulance at your door. You’ll get a fire truck.

I should also add that, contrary to the yard signs and statements from Fire personnel and other levy opponents, the majority of first responders do NOT support a merger. If you know anyone in any of those first response agencies they will tell you that Fire is not a good partner and that if the Fire chief were given a report card it would say, “Does not play well with others.”

The Public Hospital District recently conducted an anonymous survey of all EMS personnel and volunteers and, among other things, asked if they favored a merger. An overwhelming majority said they do NOT want to merge.

Richard Grout

San Juan Island