Mayor Earling and his staff have put forward a public safety cost cutting proposal to the city council that is penny wise and pound foolish. Reducing staffing of the fire stations puts the lives of first responders and the public at risk by not providing resources for the firefighters and paramedics to respond to calls in a manner consistent with the nationally recognized standard.
The National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 1710 clearly states that an ALS response consists of two paramedics and two EMT’s. It further states that first responders with AED capabilities must be on the scene within four minutes 90 percent of the time and two paramedics must be on the scene within eight minutes 90 percent of the time. Edmonds has already set a goal lower that the national standard. Staffing reductions will make it even more difficult to attain that standard. In order to put two paramedics on the scene two stations will be taken out of service, putting the fire department at risk of not having the needed resources for the next emergency. Having spent 26 years as a professional firefighter I can assure you that back-to-back calls happen on a regular basis.
While the Mayor, Mr. James and Mr. Taraday have done a fine job putting together a proposal that balances the budget, have they spent a night in a firefighter’s boots attempting to understand the job? Have they observed first hand when a firefighter or paramedic cannot safely do the job the job they were trained to do because the elected officials have chosen to balance the budget on the backs of those who respond to your emergencies?
In cardiac arrest, irreversible brain damage happens in four minutes. Are the mayor and council willing to tell their neighbors, “sorry your loved one died because we cut the budget and couldn’t get to them soon enough.”
I urge the council to reject this proposal and provide the public with the service they deserve.