I am writing this letter seeking your support in the upcoming levy for East Jefferson Fire and Rescue (EJFR).

For a number of years now our fire and emergency medical services (EMS) has had to make hard choices as to equipment purchases and upgrades on both the fire and the medical side.

EJFR has not had a rate increase since 2011.

Their budget, as it now stands, can only be increased by 1 percent a year.

This is unsustainable and forces our emergency services to continually “kick the can down the road.”

One example I would offer:

Back and neck pulls and muscle strains are the number one cause of injuries to EMTs.

While working as an EMT in Wyoming in 2006, that EMS agency made a move from manually operated gurneys, the stretchers in the back of the ambulances, to battery powered ones.

The decrease in injuries to personnel was quickly documented.

In contrast, the switch from outdated manually operated gurneys to battery powered ones was implemented in our EMS system just last year.

The need and the desire were always present, just never the funds to make it happen.

We ask our emergency services to respond when we are in need.

It is unreasonable to stifle their efforts by not helping them obtain the resources and implement the programs they feel are necessary to continue their outstanding service.

Please vote yes.

John Gonnella


EDITOR’S NOTE: John Gonnella is an EMT with EJFR.