July 23, 2020
King County Paramedics – IAFF Local 2595
Post Office Box 5310 Kent, WA 98064 – 5310
****OPEN LEITER TO THE CITIZENS OF KING COUNTY••••
We wish we had the answers to racial inequality and racism. We don’t, but we recognize that African American communities are in pain and rightfully so. The lAFF Local 2595 Executive Board and its members share the widespread outrage at the murder of George Floyd and the violence endured by communities of color. The union members of lAFF Local 2595 support equality for all. equal opportunities for all and a socially and racially just America for all. Your King County paramedics are dedicated to service for all citizens of King County. and we want to hear the voices of communities that are asking for change.
ln south King County, we serve some of the most culturally and ethnically diverse communities in King County. It is our duty to treat all patients with the respect and dignity we would expect for our families. We strive to always deliver a high level of emergency medical care that the public expects and deserves from the Medic One EMS system.
There are aspects of policing, specifically how police support the work of fire and EMS crews, that are not as well known. King County paramedics work closely with police to deliver care in volatile environments. Violent crimes such as stabbings. shootings, or domestic violence incidents necessitate a rapid and robust police response to ensure the safety and security of EMS and fire personnel. Because our focus is on patient care, lire and EMS are not equipped to enter scenes of violence without police. We st age a safe distance away from the scene until police officers can ensure a reasonable level of safety for EMS and fire personnel to treat and extract patients. With a reduction in police funding and personnel, we are concerned that the amount of time it would take to clear violent scenes would greatly increase, leading to worse outcomes for our patients and greater harm to communities.
Additionally, the ubiquity of police units enables officers to respond to calls for narcotic overdoses and administer Narcan prior to EMS arrival. providing a better chance of survival to patients who overdose. Police officers also routinely respond to patients in cardiac arrest in south King County, starting CPR and deploying an AED until EMS and firefighters arrive to take over care. CPR administered prior to EMS and fire department arrival is a key component to heller neurological outcomes and cardiac arrest survivability for patients.
Due to the critical role that police currently play in facilitating critical care provided by EMS and fire personnel. the lAFF Local 2595 does not support defunding police departments. We urge city and county leaders to find solutions that protect communities of color while also ensuring the safety of EMS perso1mel.
Your King County paramedics want everyone to feel sa fe when they call 91 1. If you have ideas or feedback on ways lAFF Local 2595 can contribute to a more racially just King County. we want to hear from you.
Please email your ideas and feedback to ExecutiveBoard@iaff2595.com
Respectfully Submitted: IAFF Local 2595 Executive BoardFollow us on Facebook