Coyle Residents, Our Fire Station needs your help! – Message from Norman Johnson

Neighbors on the Toandos Peninsula,

As many of you already know, we are desperately under-staffed at our local volunteer fire and emergency services station in Coyle. Currently we have only one person living in Coyle who can drive the truck or aid car and fight fires, but NO emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to give immediate aid.  The Quilcene Fire Station is staffed 24/7, but it could take them up to 30 minutes to get to us in our time of need. That could mean the difference between life and death, or in saving a home or having it burn to the ground.
We need your help to rebuild a local volunteer fire and aid service in our own Coyle community.  If you are willing to help, here is what you would need to do.
1. Qualifications:  We need men and women over 18 years old (no upper age limit), and able to do some amount of physical work such as lifting and carrying patients, hoses, ladders, tools, etc.  The more volunteers we have, the lighter the load is on any one of them.  We are seeking to find 2 EMT’s and 2-4 others to train as firefighters, or drivers, or just support staff to fill out our station.
2. Training:  There are various levels of certification that you can attain:
– basic firefighting instruction: All new volunteers will start with a 24 hour “fundamentals” class. This gives you the basics of what you need to know to volunteer and to keep yourselves safe.
– Drivers Training: to drive the aid cars and/or the fire engines an 8 hour Emergency Vehicle Incident Prevention (EVIP) class is required.  At the completion of the EVIP class we have you pass a rodeo test or driving test.
– Emergency Medical Technician. EMT classes are held at the new Station 11 in Chimacum (corner of Center Road and Rhody Drive}. The next class starts the first week of January and ends at the end of March.  Classes are Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6:00-9:00 and 8:00-5:00 on Saturdays. There is also some ambulance ride time, and hospital time, and at home study time. The typical student spends about 6 hours of study time at home each week. After the class concludes the student then needs to challenge the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician test.  This valuable certification is recognized everywhere in the US.  This class normally costs $ 750, but at this time the Department is willing to pay your cost of tuition for Coyle residents to become volunteers.
3. Continuing Education and Drills: After becoming a volunteer we expect attendance at our Tuesday evening drills, which are usually conducted at Quilcene Station 21. We drill the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Tuesdays of the month 6:30-9:00. Volunteer firefighters get  the same training that full time members get, no cutting corners! Interior qualified firefighters do regular training with the other Jefferson County fire districts. Drivers need an annual 2-4 hour refresher class. EMT’s need 30 hours a year of continuing education either by attending our EMS drills or working through a computer service we have for training.
4. The Workload in Coyle: Typical calls on the Toandos Peninsula include: smoke investigations, wires down, smoke coming from a home, overturned boat, sickness/injuries in the home, traffic collisions, etc.  Besides responding to calls we also need to maintain the Coyle station, clean and repair equipment every once in a while. Vehicles need washing at times. The rate of calls for the Coyle station has been around 50 per year or once or twice a week on the average.
5. Compensation: We pay our members a stipend for their participation. Basically they get a “point” for every call they go on, every training session they attend, or other FD event. These points are general worth about $8.00-$9.00 each and we pay out quarterly. So, a volunteer who responds to 10 calls and 10 training events in a quarter gets 20 points or earns about $170.00 minus taxes to help cover their expenses. Of course, the more active ones make more money. The stipend is intended to reimburse for expenses, not make someone rich. We also pay a per diem for members who just hang out at the station and give us a hand and run calls with us.  They won’t get rich but it’s a great community service.
We have the equipment right here in Coyle, but currently we don’t have the people to use it.  We have Fire Engine 22 (larger engine for structure fires), Brush Truck 22 (smaller engine for brushfires and able to enter less accessible driveways), and Aid Car 22 (ambulance).
What is preventing you from helping out?  Sometimes little nagging voices in our own heads keep us from volunteering with thoughts of “I’m not skilled enough.”,  I’m not fit enough.”, or “I don’t have the time.”   . . . But if not you, then who?   In a real emergency having a person there regardless of their level of skill is better than having no one there.  Think about it.   What if you call 911 and no one shows up?
What’s in it for you? Camaraderie: there is a certain closeness among the men and women who work together for a common cause.  Just ask anyone who has been a volunteer firefighter.  There is no better way of getting to know your neighbors.  Fire stations often become the heart of a small community like ours because of the importance of their function and the need to know their community.  It is the center of communications, not just about emergency situations, but about everything going on in our community that affects our daily lives. You can be a part of that network.

For more information contact: Larry Karp, Fire Chief, chief@qvfd.org

Quilcene Fire Rescue, 70 Herbert Street, #433, Quilcene, WA 98376
(Office) 360-765-3333, (Cell) 360-774-3024
Thank you.
                          Your neighbor
                          Norm Johnson
                          83 Hazel Point Court
                          Home Phone (360) 765-3449
                          johnson5485@msn.com
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