Whidbey Island EMS levy is an easy one | Editorial

The Emergency Medical Services levy on the ballots mailed out last week is the easiest decision voters will face.

Of course it’s worth continuing the cost of running Whidbey Island’s ambulance service. It’s only 50 cents per thousand which assures a quick response by highly trained professionals when you’re lying on the kitchen floor with what feels like an anvil weighing on your chest.

Whidbey General Hospital’s paramedics and EMTs have saved untold lives by their quick response and thorough knowledge of how to handle virtually any emergency medical condition. If they have medical questions, there’s always a physician they can instantly communicate with. And those who have experienced their presence are universally impressed by the professional, polite service.

It’s ironic that the only public critic of the EMS levy renewal is a lawyer who complains that the paramedics are paid too much. It’s easy to address that issue. Imagine yourself back on the kitchen floor and your spouse has just dialed 911. What would you rather have show up at your front door, a paramedic or a lawyer? Paramedics are paid well, but they earn every penny of their pay. If only lawyers were paid similarly, perhaps we could afford one to help make out our last will and testament.

Whidbey Island has only six fully equipped ambulances to serve a weird geographic area that’s very long and very narrow. Three are based in Oak Harbor, one in Coupeville and two on South Whidbey. When one is busy responding to a call or transporting a patient, another moves in to cover the territory so no one is ever left without available ambulance service. It’s a delicate balancing act done amazingly well by a highly trained staff.

Sure, times are tough, but the EMS crew isn’t asking for more money. In fact, due to declining property values, they’ll end up collecting less money at the same tax rate of 50 cents per thousand. But we know they’ll keep doing the same great job.

Vote yes on the EMS levy. It’s the easiest ballot issue you’ll ever face.








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