11/03/2006: "One, Not Two Fire Departments!"
I am writing regarding The Fire Departments. Both Departments here on the island are without a chief. Both the Town Administrator and The District Fire Commissioners are searching for new chiefs. I think this is the time when San Juan Island residents need to stand up and tell these folks that we want one unified Fire Department. This isn't all about money either. Many people may not realize that both departments already assist each other on almost all big fires. Do they also realize that although these volunteer departments do an excellent job, they might be able to do even better with unified training, equipment, and the like? It's time that Islanders stand up for what's right and tell the leaders that it's not just about the bottom line.
Who could be the chief of one unified department serving the entire island? That chief would need strong leadership skills and the respect of his/her firefighters to achieve excellent training, recruitment and retention, and most of all the ability to calmly and confidently lead on a fire ground. How about our current Fire Marshall, Robert Low? Chief Low has shown time and again that he is eager to serve this community in any way possible. Let's get him back to what he loves! Let's merge the departments and let Chief Low lead us into excellence.
San Juan Island EMT
Town of Friday Harbor Fire Department Support Crew