Letter: Simply Put, A Firefighting Tool That Needs to be Replaced

Mercer Island Firefighters Union President Ray Austin writes in a letter to the editor that if it is not cost effective to maintain an essential piece of equipment, it must be replaced — and so it is with the South-end Fire Station.


Sometimes you should just keep it simple.  Staying with that idea, a fire station is a piece of firefighting and life saving equipment.  In many respects it is the most important, because that is where most of the time the emergency response starts.  When you have a fire station or any piece of equipment, you must evaluate how to manage the maintenance or alternatively the replacement of that equipment.  When it is no longer cost effective to maintain an essential piece of equipment, it must be replaced. That is the case regarding the South station here on Mercer Island.  It is a worn out firefighting "tool".

I would say that it is unwise when you look at this piece of firefighting equipment, the South fire Station, and evaluate it's need for replacement to compare it to other city building, as some have done. When you evaluate the need to replace an essential part of your firefighting and life saving arsenal, you must use a different lens, because it is something that many if not all people in some way may be depending on in time of catastrophic emergency.  The evidence is clear that the South Fire Station can not withstand a significant seismic event, and does not properly fulfill many of the functions that a modern fire station would.  These inadequacies can have a direct impact on our ability to properly serve the community during times of greatest need.

You the voter get to decide if this is important, do you want to replace an essential piece of firefighting equipment, that is 50 years old and does not fully serve its purpose.  The cost is not insignificant, but it is also very important.  So by not clouding the issue with politics and finger pointing, think about if it is important to you and your family.  I urge you to vote yes on Proposition 1, not because I am a firefighter, but because I think it is the right thing for this community.  If this community decides this is not what they want, then the firefighters will work very hard, to provide the best service possible with the tools that we have.  While my firefighter brothers and I do not live on the island, we are still a part of, and love this community and want what is best for the citizens of Mercer Island.  Yes on Prop 1.


Ray Austin
Mercer Island Firefighters Union President

Jerry Gropp Architect AIA November 01, 2012 at 05:52 PM
. Ray- Yes, your firefighting "tool" needs a bit of sharpening- but not a tear-down. http://mercerisland.patch.com/blog_posts/south-end-fire-station-should-be-remodeled-enlarged-not-demolished
Keith Pleas November 02, 2012 at 02:22 AM
"When it is no longer cost effective to maintain an essential piece of equipment.." Ah, that's what I was looking for - where can I find the cost-benefit analysis of maintenance / renovation versus replacement?


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