Emergency Services Management Agreement Approved; Fireworks safety stressed; Donations sought for 4th display; Schools required to test for chemicals

Coast Radio News
Local News

Fire Chief to assume management of ambulance district

An agreement that would consolidate upper management of Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue along with Western Lane Ambulance has been ratified by both boards of directors.

Fire board directors unanimously approved the deal last week. It would have Chief Jim Langborg as the top manager of both agencies.  Ambulance directors approved the deal Thursday night with one dissent.  Anne Stonelake had earlier expressed concerns about the arrangement, she voted no.

Under the agreement Western Lane Ambulance would pay half of Langborg’s salary and benefits package.  In exchange, he would provide management oversight.  The fire district has already been providing budget and human resources services to the ambulance district under a separate contract for several months.

The two agencies would remain separate financially and operationally, however there will be even more response cooperation in the future.  Either side could opt out of the deal with 60-days notice.

Coast Radio News Director Bob Sneddon is a member of the ambulance district board of directors.

State to require chemical testing in schools

Governor Kate Brown says she wants all Oregon school districts to have a plan in place by October 1st for testing lead, radon and other chemicals at school facilities and sharing any results with the state and parents.

The move stems from the recent discovery of elevated lead levels in drinking water at two Portland school campuses and the ongoing public relations crisis that followed.

The Oregon Department of Education has drafted rules for districts to follow and will weigh any public input before finalizing the rules this fall.

The preliminary rules don’t say how often tests should be conducted, but they would require separate plans for testing air quality.  The rules also do not specify how school districts would pay for them.  Siuslaw Superintendent of Schools Ethel Angal said they will bear the costs internally.  They had begun the lead testing process before the state requirements were announced.  Results will be released as soon as they are available.

Fireworks donations continue

Fundraising efforts to help offset costs of the community fireworks display are continuing and organizers are hoping for more donations in the final week.  Florence Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Bettina Hannigan said the show itself is almost completely funded.

Bettina Hannigan – “We have not met our goals yet, but we’ve had some fabulous contributions from members of our community and we’re still receiving more.”

The total cost of the show, set for Monday, July 4th, runs close to $10-thousand.  About a quarter of that is funded by donations.  Hannigan said those can be dropped off at the Chamber Visitor Center on Highway 101 next to City Hall.

Safety stressed for holiday displays

The Fourth of July holiday means personal fireworks… and personal fireworks can mean an increase in the risk of fire.

Fire Chief Jim Langborg said this week if you’re going to have your own display, do it safely.

Jim Langborg – “I get a five gallon bucket and I’ll fill it about two-thirds of the way with water and then as I use my fireworks, they’re done, and then I’ll put them in that bucket and let them soak overnight before I put them in my garbage can.”

The overnight “soak” is an effective way to prevent a devastating after-effect of just throwing them away.

Jim Langborg – “And if that garbage can is next to the house, it can spread to the house and it can turn into a really bad day really fast.”

The risks aren’t confined just to fire danger.  Langborg says there may be temptations to combine or alter your legal fireworks in some way… don’t do it.

Jim Langborg – “The result’s usually some type of an injury to somebody.  Those can be pretty extensive injuries so, use them as intended.  Don’t do silly stuff with them.”

He said only fireworks purchased in Oregon, from licensed dealers are legal.  Anything that explodes, flies more than six inches off the ground or further than six feet along the ground are off limits.