FIRST AID/CPR TRAINING
Due to the COVID crisis, we are not able to hold in-person training. If you need a CPR or First Aid certification we can provide you with information to take the class or classes on-line. After completion of the on-line portion, an in person skills testing is required. San Juan EMS has graciously decided to provide the in person skills portion to Lopez folks. Contact our office for more information.
Lopez Island Fire & EMS (LIFE) recommends you have at least one air ambulance subscription. Island Air (IAA), Life Flight (LF) and Airlift Northwest (ALNW) memberships are all available here on Lopez Island and San Juan County. There are a variety of factors that go into LIFE making the decision of which resource to use. We do our best to take your subscription information into consideration (if you only have one of the three carriers, IAA for example), but at the end of the day, we will use the best available resource that provides the urgent care your condition presents.
It is vitally important that you or a member of your household know what air ambulance service you are subscribed with and be able to convey this to the EMS Team treating you. It is also helpful to have it prominently posted in your residence.
-Lopez Island Fire & EMS (LIFE) is not responsible for any costs associated with air ambulance services. We do not specifically endorse any of these air ambulance services. We do encourage island residents and long term part timers to have air ambulance coverage. LIFE does not receive any reimbursement or economic support from the air ambulance providers.
- If you don't have a health insurance plan, you cannot be part of a membership program. The air transport providers bill your primary insurance first, and anything not covered by your primary insurance will then be covered by your membership coverage.
- If your primary insurance declines to pay for the flight (as one insurer was doing in 2019) your membership will NOT cover the flight. That being said, all three air ambulance services have been advocates for patients that have been declined by their primary insurance. The denials have decreased significantly and this insurer has withdrawn from San Juan County as an insurance provider.
- If weather conditions are too poor and the three air ambulance services refuse the flight based on weather conditions, we will contact the US Navy SAR Team, or US Coast Guard for helicopter transport. These are paid for by your tax dollars, and do not bill for patient transports. If those resources are not available, we may transport via boat to Friday Harbor, or the mainland as a last resort.
- To the best of our understanding, IAA, ALNW, and Life Flight DO NOT currently have a subscription reciprocity agreement. I would call ALNW/IAA/Life Flight to confirm their reciprocity, as agreements can
-Most of our air ambulance transport use Airlift Northwest and Island Air Ambulance. However we have used Life Flight this summer due to the other services not being available.
Lopez Fire: 1-360-468-2991
Island Air Ambulance: 1-360-378-2376
Airlift Northwest: 888-835-1599
Life Flight: 800-982-9299
October 4-10 is Fire Prevention Week
During this week we recognize our firefighters.
A little history about firefighters:
The first organized professionals whose job it was to combat structural fires lived in Ancient Egypt–however, at the time, firefighters worked for private companies that provided their services only to those who could afford them. Later, in Ancient Rome, Ceasar Augustus revolutionized firefighting by calling for the creation of a fire guard, called the Vigiles, that was trained in state.
Today's firefighters have more risks and dangers to deal with then any in the past. Hazardous materials, explosives, and drug manufacturing operations are just a few.
We have 31 firefighters which include volunteers and students on Lopez Island. All have done a wonderful job and we appreciate their time, dedication and service to our community.
This week we can show our appreciation for their service, risks and sacrifice. Send them a note showing your appreciation. Make a sign for your yard or to post at our local businesses. Wear a red and blue ribbon - the colors of water and fire. You could also consider making a donation to a firefighter charity.
August 26, 2020
I was asked by the Commissioners of Lopez Island Fire & EMS on February 18 to return as your Fire Chief. On March 1, 2020 I returned on what was anticipated to be a short term assignment and then Covid 19 began to dominate all of our lives. Little did I know that I would still be working as your fire chief through this summer and on into the fall. But this letter to you, the Lopez Community is not about me. This letter is about recognizing the tremendous work that our Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, Firefighters, Administrative Staff and Commissioners are doing for our community during these challenging times.
Before I tell you about all the logistical changes we have made for you since early March, there is a part of this story you probably don’t know. Covid 19 proved to be not only an altering of our professional practices but it had a deep impact on your emergency responders’ personal lives as well. Early on in this pandemic we realized the need to not only keep you safe but the need to keep COVID 19 out of your Fire & EMS Department. This meant your emergency responders needed and agreed to limit their interactions with friends & family not sharing a household with them and to limit unnecessary travel off island. They have been doing this for six months now. When events beyond their control occurred and a potential exposure might have occurred or was possible, they were required to isolate for 14 days and could not respond. Other emergency responders covered their shifts for them, so our community would continue to receive the emergency services they have come to expect from Lopez Island Fire & EMS.
COVID 19 meant a total restructuring of how your emergency responders met their professional responsibility to you, our Lopez Community and the visitors to our archipelago. We have experienced other challenges in the past, which we have successfully overcome. From SARS, AVIAN FLU, EBOLA and others we altered our practices to keep you safe during those times and we succeeded.
As I said, early on in this pandemic we realized the need to not only keep you safe and prevent the spread of COVID 19 but keep COVID 19 out of your Fire & EMS Department. We are Lopez Island’s only emergency Fire & EMS providers and the COVID 19 infectious rate had and still has the potential to prevent your EMS & Fire teams from coming to your aid. We needed to once again alter our practice of emergency response.
The Village Fire Station and all Fire Stations are now lock-downed to all but essential personnel. Training is being conducted using on-line resources. When this is not possible and in person training is required personnel are wearing masks, maintaining distancing and decontaminating ourselves, apparatus, equipment and the station.
The Village Station is now divided into sections. Our training room is now where all supplies are received and stored and only a limited number of personnel have access to these supplies. The exercise room is where personnel have clean clothes stored for changing after emergency medical service (EMS) calls where they could have been exposed to COVID 19. After EMS calls, those responders who treated the patient are required to enter the station through a restricted entrance, enter a clean and private area, decontaminate personal possessions, remove clothing and place them in the washing machine. Enter our shower facility, decontaminate themselves, the shower area and then enter the exercise room and put on clean clothes they keep in the exercise room. While these responders are decontaminating themselves, other responders are decontaminating the ambulance and any equipment used to treat our patients. Potential contaminated clothing are sanitized, washed, dried and placed into the exercise room for the next use.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been rationed and reused when possible. Thanks to the foresight of your Paramedics, we had enough stockpile to survive the first 4 months of this pandemic. The supply chain is still slow but supplies are getting to us, with N-95 masks on backorder. Also a big shout out to our community for their donations of PPE.
I will be forever grateful for the sacrifices your Lopez Island Fire & EMS teams are making for all of us during the time of COVID 19. Having said this, I feel the same way about our Lopez Island Community and the way we as a Community are working together to survive and beat this disease. Thank you, all of you, for the strength and courage you have shown meeting and beating back the challenge COVID 19 presents us every day.
So far Lopez Island Fire and EMS has been successful in keeping COVID 19 out of our organization as we continue to provide high level, professional emergency response during these challenging times. Indeed our amazing Lopez Community has succeeded as well.
I know that COVID 19 has taken a tremendous toll on all our lives. Physically, mentally and emotionally we are all struggling to continue our lives and our livelihoods.
However now is not the time to relax our vigilance. Please continue to take the simple steps of wearing a mask, maintain distancing and sanitize & wash your hands often. It works!
Yours in Fire & Life Safety,
Acting Fire Chief
Lopez Island Fire & EMS