Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 5 p.m. in the Eastsound Fire Hall
By Kevin O’Brien, Fire Chief/CEO, Orcas Fire and Rescue
(Originally posted Dec. 30, 2012)
One of the most critical issues Orcas Island Fire and Rescue faces is the safe transport of our patients to mainland hospitals. At this time OIFR is evaluating is how to address our participation in the San Juan County Marine Operations User’s Group (MOUG). The Sheriff and surrounding emergency service providers have established the group to finance, manage, and operate the Sheriff’s boat program and administer the public safety grant the Sheriff has secured for a new emergency response vessel.
The question of how we should be involved in this program has inspired other questions regarding our service. On January 9, 5:00 p.m. at the Eastsound Fire Hall, OIFR will be hosting a “town hall” meeting to ask our public to comment on our possible participation in the program.
Since 2010, OIFR has used the Sheriff’s boat 14 times to transport patients to hospitals off island when the weather prohibits aeromedical transport (an average of 4.6 transports per year). The boat has also been used for transporting OIFR emergency personnel to other islands and surrounding waters for emergency assistance.
At this time there are two proposed options to participate in the MOUG:
· Join the group as a financial partner that is currently estimated to cost OIFR just over $25,000 per year.
· Pay per use membership, which is slated to cost $6,500 per transport.
Topics for discussion include:
· How should OIFR be involved in the operations, maintenance and expenses for the Marine Operations User’s Group?
· To what extent should the Fire District provide or pay for services outside of the District’s boundaries? How should the District operate and fund the following?
o Medical transport to the mainland
o Marine search and rescue operations
o Assistance to other islands whose residents do not provide financial support to any fire district
· Should the district seek reimbursement for any of the services mentioned above?
Your input is important to us. Please attend the meeting on January 9, 5:00 p.m. at the Eastsound Fire Hall. If you are unable to attend, please email comments or questions to Chief Kevin O’Brien at email@example.com. Minutes will be available on our website at orcasfire.org.