Letters to the Editor

Fire district running out of gas masks

The 80 volunteers of North Whidbey Fire and Rescue desperately need your vote this election. The model of breathing apparatus they must wear at every fire, because smoke and burning plastics create poisonous gas, hasn't been manufactured in years. Repairs are only possible with used parts scavenged from units long since abandoned by better equipped departments. The National Fire Protection Association has told them they cannot use equipment more than 15 years old. The replacement of the units will cost more than $300,000. And, this is but one of the needs the deparment has to keep us safe. These men and women risk their lives for us. Their only pay is our thanks. The least we can do is send them in harm's way with up to date equipment.

By law, budgets for this department have been increasing at a maximum of one percent per year while the number of fires and rescues they are responding to have gone up at many times that rate. Even if you approve this levey, the mill rate allocated to this department will still be about the same level it was four years ago ($.93 per $1,000 of assessed valuation). Please help!

John Hudson

Oak Harbor

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