Kitsap County’s work on West Kingston Road is expected to begin sometime in April. During the project, the road will be completely closed for an extended period and we anticipate that some of our response times may be affected.
Our South Kingston Road station will still be able to respond as usual to its “first-in” areas such as downtown Kingston, Indianola and Jefferson Beach, since these neighborhoods can be reached without using the affected section of West Kingston Road.
Of most concern, however, are the response times for the additional units necessary to handle more complex incidents such as serious medical calls or fires. For most of these crews, West Kingston Road would be the fastest route but, during the closure, they’ll be forced to use longer alternates that could add several minutes to their response times. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the incidence of fires or serious medical calls in the affected areas is quite low; of more than 3,000 calls districtwide in 2016, only about 80 occurred there and less than one-quarter of these calls required an urgent response from multiple units.
Despite this, we’ll be taking steps to decrease the potential for slow response during the closure, such as limiting the time that the South Kingston Road station crews are away from their first-in areas. We are asking for your help, too.
Especially if you’re in the neighborhoods of Indianola and Jefferson Beach during the closure, we want you to call 9-1-1 at the first sign of an emergency. Get us on our way sooner rather than later. We’re hoping that you’ll practice good prevention, too. Make sure your smoke alarms are working and your escape plan is up-to-date. To get more safety tips or information about this issue, call us at 360-297-3619.
A very happy ending
When people talk about lifesavers, firefighters are often mentioned. The professionals at 9-1-1 centers play a vital role in public safety, but too often, that role goes unrecognized. It isn’t every day that we have the chance to celebrate our partners at Kitsap 9-1-1.
On one day in March, we had the opportunity to reunite call-receivers and dispatchers with a Hansville toddler and her family after the 9-1-1 professionals helped to save the young girl from drowning last summer.
The girl, now almost 2 years old, and her family joined us at the Kitsap 9-1-1 offices to personally thank the people who answered their panicked calls for help. The call-receivers got our crews on the way, providing calm and reassuring directions for the callers despite the terrifying circumstances.
For these emergency communications professionals, it wasn’t easy to hear the anguished voices of the family. But they did their jobs with compassion and strength, contributing significantly to the incident’s happy outcome. Though they’d heard that the girl recovered fully, they didn’t get the chance to see the results in person until this day.
They made a lovely card for the girl. The family brought them lovely gifts, too. But all agreed that the best gift of all was seeing the girl, happy and healthy.
Join us for CPR/AED training at 6 p.m. on April 25. The class is located at our headquarters fire station (26642 Miller Bay Road NE near Kingston) and costs $20 per student. Registration is required. Call 360-297-3619 to sign-up.
Get ready for wildland fire season
At this early date, it’s too soon to predict the severity of the coming wildland fire season. We do know, however, that this year’s heavy rains will encourage better than average growth in grasses and brush (the kind of vegetation called “ladder fuel”) that help a small fire gain enough energy to spread into heavier material such as trees.
When it’s time to start your spring yard work, think about eliminating the ladder fuels around your home to create defensible space. For more information about wildland fire prevention, see the National Fire Protection Association’s web site on the topic: www.firewise.org.
You might have seen teams of firefighters at Kingston’s skate park in March. They were using the wide-open spaces there to practice the important skill of wide-area search.
Dressed in their firefighter gear with the vision through their air masks obscured by wax paper, the crews used a ropes and tools in a systematic pattern to simulate a search for “victims” in a building like a warehouse.
If you have a wide-open indoor space that our crews could use for this kind of training, we’d love to talk with you. Contact Assistant Chief Sean Moran at 360-297-3619.
— Michele Laboda is spokeswoman for North Kitsap Fire & Rescue. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.