By Jamie Silva
Nobody wants to have an emergency that warrants calling us at the Monroe Fire Department. But you never know when you’ll need us – and when you do, you’re glad we’re here.
As first responders, we feel the same way about Valley General Hospital. It’s an important part of our community’s safety net and we need it to be there for our emergencies. But that emergency and trauma care could be on the line without an increase in the levy, which is currently among the lowest in the state. We need to approve Proposition 1 to protect emergency services in our community.
The Monroe Fire Department is proud to serve our community for fires, rescues, and other emergency medical services. Valley General Hospital has been our partner in caring for the community for more than 50 years and as firefighters we’re asking the community to help us protect that care in April’s special election by voting yes on Proposition 1.
Eighty-two percent of the patients our Monroe Fire Department transports are taken to Valley General. When seconds count, having Valley General so close by makes the difference. Delivering a stroke patient to the hospital in time to give them the medicine they need to dissolve a clot can be the difference between returning to normal life or facing long term disabilities, or worse.
But this month, our votes on the levy could impact our trauma and emergency center services at Valley General. Without these critical services at Valley General we may have to transport the same stroke patient to a hospital further away, doubling our transport time. This could not only impact the outcome for our patient, but the longer transportation time could take us further away from other emergencies in our area.
House fires, chest pain, motor vehicle accidents, senior falls, and diabetic episodes are common occurrences for our first responders and when it’s you or your loved one who needs emergency response, you don’t want to be waiting on EMT’s, paramedics and firefighters who are 20 miles away because we had to drive to a hospital farther away.
Keeping emergency response times fast is critical, and as a community we need to rally behind our local hospital to ensure that we protect Valley General’s twenty four hour a day, seven day a week emergency room and level four trauma center.
When our ballots arrive this week we’ll be asked to approve a modest increase in our levy, from 14 cents per assessed thousand of home value to 37 cents per assessed thousand of home value. If you own a home worth $200,000, this works out to just $6 a month.
When I look back at my 25 years with the Monroe Fire Department and the thousands of patients we’ve transported to Valley General from infants to seniors and everyone in between, I know this is a small price to pay for peace of mind and access to a hospital so close to home.
Let’s do the right thing.
Join me in voting yes on Proposition 1 to protect care at Valley General Hospital.
Jamie Silva is Fire Chief of Monroe Fire District #3