County levy will continue EMS support
October 8, 2020
Voters are being asked to continue to support Wahkiakum County’s Emergency Medical Services by voting yes for Wahkiakum County Proposition No. 1, a levy of $0.40 or less per $1,000 of assessed valuation for each of the next six consecutive years.
The last levy is about to expire and a yes vote means there would continue to be a fund for emergency medical care or services throughout the county, to pay for supplies and allow Cathlamet and Grays River to purchase new ambulances periodically in order to transport residents to the hospital in emergency situations. They are asking for a little bit more this time, because the cost of ambulances and equipment is always going up.
“If we didn’t put it on the ballot, the county wouldn’t have money for the EMS service,” Cathlamet Fire Department EMS Battalion Chief Jodie Mason said. “We just want to maintain the ambulance service that we have.”
“This is specifically for EMS, this pays for our ambulance service, for the ambulance vehicles,” Mason added. “It also pays for the AED program in the community and the defibrillators that are on the ambulance rigs. It pays for EMS supplies on ambulance services.”
The Automated External Defibrillator Program provides AEDs throughout the community. They can be found in schools, churches, in patrol cars, and at a couple homes in the Elochoman Valley, to provide a quicker response for people who live in more remote areas.
Cathlamet and Grays River have ambulances because they are the only agencies in the county that have medical transport licenses with the State of Washington. Skamokawa used to have a medical transport license, but they did not have enough personnel and were unable to keep the license, Mason said.
“We are completely volunteer,” Mason said. “The levy helps with stipends for volunteers, but it’s not very much.”