From organ failure to bee stings, levy saves lives | Letters
July 27, 2012 · Updated 1:50 PM
For the past several weeks I have made special note of the number of fire engines moving along Southwest 320th Street.
Sometimes I’m standing in the right place to catch a glimpse of them. At other times, I have seen them responding to emergencies in my neighborhood.
Whether they’re close or afar, I don’t stop to consider whether they’re responding to smoke or responding to a stroke. I’m just relieved to see them and to know that it’s a high probability that a life in jeopardy has help on the way.
As I see and understand it, their mission is to respond to two types of fires: the traditional ones on the outside of us that we often see, which are structural, and by default, we direct most of our attention to; and the ones on the inside of us, which are physical, that we feel when the internal disorder in our bodies demand our attention.
The latter condition usually falls in the hands of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), which constitutes the greater part of South King Fire and Rescue’s human resources and, in the process, saves the most lives. Unfortunately, it’s the most misunderstood and by extension, the most undervalued by many of us who make up that 75-80 percent response equation each year.
I haven’t seen any structural fires in Federal Way, other than on the news, in quite some time. But I did have an opportunity to visit a neighbor a couple of weeks ago who had suffered an almost fatal internal fire — a vital organ failure.
During his recovery, he voiced high praise for the South King Fire and Rescue personnel and their quick action in stabilizing his condition for his trip to the emergency room.
I’m also aware of a similar incident that took place several years ago when a community service colleague of mine who, allergic to bee stings, was stung by a bee while playing golf. The EMS made another just-in-time save. Since that time, I have heard him on numerous occasions praise the EMS services for saving his life.
These are the types of fires than I am concerned about. It stands to reason. To most of us those acts of competence and compassion are invisible. But to those who are the beneficiaries, those acts are invaluable. I have no doubt that we get what we pay for — and more.
Yet there are people in this community who would have you believe, if you listen to them, that because the fires outside are few and far between, that the fires inside are of little or no consequence. Do not be sidetracked by that line of posturing and criticism. Take a look for yourself. We have one of the best equipped, well-respected and well-led fire departments in the state.
This is not the time to take a step backward in support of one of the most vital components of public safety in this city.
I’m sure the ballots will have arrived by the time you read this letter, so please join me in ensuring that we maintain the safety margin that has served us with distinction for decades.
Vote yes in support of our fire department. The alternative is not an option.
The mission is in your hands. Let’s not disappoint them this time. Vote yes.
Bob McKenzie, Federal Way