Letters to the Editor

Firefighters earn kudos | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

Add another grateful letter of thanks to the Bainbridge Fire Department for a job well done!

Actually, very well done!

Our family was a recent and first-time recipient of their services. It was the first time an emergency vehicle pulled into our drive in 36 years.

We are amazed and grateful. Thanks is really not adequate. I would not be here if it wasn’t for them. They responded to our tucked-away address within four minutes, made clear-thinking, life-saving decisions and knew their business.

The ferry was held five minutes at their request. Another thank-you is due here also. We are so lucky to have these folks waiting 24/7 to come to our aid.

It is a story often repeated but always needs retelling. The Bainbridge Fire Department responded to more than 2,500 calls last year; that is close to eight per day.

Eighty percent, more than 2,000, were rescue and emergency calls like ours.

Their overall budget is $7.2 million, staffed by 28 full-timers and

28 volunteers in three stations. These stations are clean — spotless actually — and the equipment well-maintained. There is a feeling of being “well managed” from top to bottom.  The staff is upbeat; everyone loves their job and proud to be a member. Excellent teamwork is evident and you hear no bickering or complaining anywhere.

BIFD is one of six departments in the county and the only one to not charge citizens for their services. This year our household will pay $4,624 in county property taxes with $523 to support the fire folks. Not bad.

The department is governed by an elected board of five local commissioners watching over but not interfering with day-to-day operations. Board meetings are public with clear-cut easily defined goals.

A top future priority is to staff the Phelps Road station on a 24/7 full time basis. Good idea!

Audits conducted by the auditor in Olympia have never found a single problem in many, many years. The department recently and easily assumed the emergency management responsibility of the community from the city that seemed to have a hard time fitting it in to their overworked system.

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department has no, repeat NO, desire to be a part of the city, preferring to be a separate entity like the library, park department, PUD and schools.

What more could you ask? The child-like, ego-driven and self-serving behavior of our city council needs to look to the BIFD as to how we want things done around here. It can be done.

Thanks BIFD. Take a low bow in front of all of us. You deserve it. It is great to be alive. I will always vote YES for you when asked.

JIM AND SYLVIA MARTINE

Seabold

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