Regarding “Poulsbo, NK voters extend EMS levies for six years” (page A9, Nov. 8 North Kitsap Herald).
I am somewhat baffled by the fact that this levy was titled EMS, which I believe means Emergency Medical Services (so “EMS services” is redundant, right?), and yet by your words the levy “doesn’t cover the cost of EMS services.” It raises the question of what it does cover? Your data would also bear that out, given you identify that 69 percent of calls are medical. Has that number been rising over the last several decades?
Are medical transports considered more of an expectation than an emergency? Are emergency rooms more responsive to EMS transported patients than other patients? Are we having less fire emergency calls due to better buildings and safety precautions? Do we actually know what it really costs for necessary EMS, given that costly fire resources are typically sent out on EMS calls?
Perhaps we should consider renaming our fire departments to some more appropriate name that better reflects what they currently do. And maybe the staffing, training and equipment resources could also better reflect the current demands of the department. It seems wasteful and less responsive to send large fire rigs to serve requested medical aid calls. Perhaps the data and demographics have changed the mission such that first responder services should be reviewed and reallocated?
For some time, I have thought that we could cross-train a more integrated “first responder” work force to support police, fire and medical needs of small communities, where volunteers are an integral component due to budgetary constraints. I know there are concerns when combining professional and volunteer employees, but the current population demographics and fiscal constraints suggest a different approach.
I admit I may have missed some earlier reporting on this issue, but I hope to see more articles that dig a little deeper and reveal more about the voting issues. I believe some issues, like EMS, pass without question due to basic human fear.