I am writing in response to Richard Rolke’s column July 24. Mr. Rolke’s comments do not reflect the purpose of the discussion and he raises issues that require clarification.
No one was critical of the work done by Search and Rescue under difficult circumstances. In fact, council was deeply concerned by events that may have hampered its abilities to carry out its work safely.
I was a lifeguard for nine summers. I taught national lifeguard training courses and competed in an international lifeguard competition. At one time, I held an industrial first aid B ticket and I worked as a volunteer ski patroller for a season.
I understand the issues of medical evacuation and the need for speed.
The first priority is not to put emergency personnel at risk. The safety of first responders is critical to ensure success. The second priority is speed but it must be measured against safety for the patient and others.
The issue arose at council because of concern that the operations of Search and Rescue personnel were hampered by activities at the launch, including members of the public trying to handle their own boats while Search and Rescue was trying to deal with the situation.
The Kalavista boat launch on almost any day can be the default launch and removal spot for Search and Rescue. Unfortunately, on four or five days of the year, congestion is so bad that the combination of boat traffic, vehicle traffic and beach activities make the area very difficult to navigate or control.
Council wants to avoid an emergency response from becoming worse for the first responders and the public. Our goal was to have a meeting with the services involved and have open dialogue about other courses that may improve speed and safety.
The first responders must make the choices and the public should be doing everything to clear the path for them.
We on council can give input to help them do their job quickly and safely as partners in the process.
We have children and loved ones in the community and we want to ensure emergency service have the best possible chance of doing their jobs.
Richard Enns, Coldstream councillor