Siuslaw River Bridge

Fire and EMSConsider Consolidation; New Directors Join Fire and EMS; New COVID-19 Treatments; Numbers Trending Upward

Fire and EMS Consider Consolidation

Expanding on the successful administrative consolidation of Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority, the Board of Directors for Western Lane Ambulance District and Siuslaw Fire & Rescue are considering consolidation of Operations at their next joint board meeting on August 26th. This is a move that has been on the agenda for many years and would place all employees and volunteers into the Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority according to Michael Schick, Fire and EMS Chief.

“If we have a fire I can use some ambulance personnel to help back up our fire fighters. If we have multiple EMS calls, which we seem to have quite a few lately, I can use some fire fighters then to help out on the ambulance side. So, it’s a win for both organizations. It’s going to increase our ability to share resources and I think that’s going to enhance our ability to provide appropriate emergency services to our citizens”

Schick also emphasizes that the current level of service on both boards would continue. Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue provides emergency response to 14,000 people over 96 square miles. Western Lane Ambulance District provides emergency medical services to 17,500 people over 564 square miles. They combined to form Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority in 2019.

New Directors Join Fire and EMS

Western Lane Ambulance District (WLAD) and Siuslaw Valley Fire & Rescue (SVFR) have new directors. For WLAD, Vanessa Buss and Adam Holbrook join reelected director Mike Webb. Laurie Heppel and Tim Mendolia join SVFR as new directors. Specifically, the WLAD directors will allow the Ambulance and Fire Boards to work more closely with local healthcare, Chief Michael Schick.

“I think with the new directors, who are both associated with Peace Harbor Hospital, so I think we’re going to get more emphasis on our relationship with the hospital of course, which is very important, you know we deliver the majority of our patients to the hospital. So I see us as addressing the needs of the hospital much more appropriately with those two individuals.”

Other officers elected by both boards include Cindy Russel as President, Buss as Vice President and Holbrook as secretary/treasurer for WLAD. Newly elected officers for SVFR include Alan Burns as president, Jim Palisi as Vice President, and Heppel as secretary/treasurer. Also appointed to both boards were representatives to Western Lane Fire and EMS Authority (WLFEA): John Murphey and Mike Webb were elected by WLAD along with Palisi and Sam Spayd from SVFR. New Personnel added are Dustin Pearson, and new volunteers Ali Gharib, Nickolas Helvey, Caleb Van Winkle, and Justin Mack.

New COVID-19 Treatments

Individuals that still get COVID-19 have some options for treatment.  Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been more options for treating the virus.  The latest is a monoclonal antibody treatment.  According to the Oregon Health Authority early evidence shows that mAbs administered by an infusion or injection can reduce the amount of COVID-19 present in someone infected.  The OHA still highly recommends the vaccine for the virus as the best protection against it, but Monoclonal antibodies can prevent severe cases and even prevent hospitalizations.

Numbers Trending Upward

Weekend numbers are not yet in for COVID-19, but Friday’s numbers show increasing concern for the state as 613 cases for the state and 63 cases were reported for Lane County.  Jackson, Multnomah, Washington and Linn County continue to have high numbers as the delta variant becomes the most dominate strain in Oregon.  Hospitalization numbers continue to fluctuate, but as of Friday there were 178 individuals hospitalized and 6 more patients were admitted into the ICU.