On Aug. 17, Fire District 16 voters are being asked to renew the emergency medical services levy.
We want to encourage support for this levy, which is not a new tax; it is simply a continuation of your current tax, which will maintain current level of emergency services on the Key Peninsula.
Response times are a critical part of cardiac and trauma-related emergencies. In the past decade, the fire service has been increasingly tasked with responding to EMS incidents.
Statistics show that due to their central locations, fire-based paramedic services greatly enhance the survival rate of patients. To maintain this high level of service, a majority of fire commissioners who manage the fire district have requested voter support of this levy.
If this levy fails, nearly half of the district’s firefighters/paramedics will be laid off. The fire department will be incapable of providing the high level of service it currently does, and lives may be lost.
Some individuals in the district are recommending against the levy because there is no comprehensive drug and alcohol policy in the fire district. Voters shouldn’t let a personal agenda compromise their safety. As elected fire officials with 75 years of experience, we have a duty to protect the lives of our citizens. Without a yes vote, lives may be lost.
(Skaggs is president of the Washington Fire Commissioners Association. Also signing the letter is Rick Kuss, president of the Pierce County Fire Commissioners Association.)