Issaquah’s 34th Annual Community Awards / May 30, 2013

June 4, 2013

Practice safety on rivers and lakes

May 7, 2013

Dry, warm weather means more people are outdoors enjoying the sunshine and waterways. The warm weather conditions mean the public will look for ways to cool off. What better way than taking advantage of the beautiful areas that surround us?

Unfortunately, sun, heat and fair-weather activities such as swimming also present their share of hazards. Drowning is the second leading cause of injury/death for children under the age of 18, according to a press release from Eastside Fire & Rescue. Most drowning deaths occur in outdoor settings such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

Fishing and boating are major factors in drowning among middle-age men, according to the release. U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are required for children 12 years or younger while on boats less than 19 feet long. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe is to always wear a life jacket when fishing and playing in or near the water.

It is important to understand your limits and be aware of water conditions. Dangerous currents, cold water temperatures, hidden debris and objects in the water can pose unknown hazards.


Most EFR partners are happy with current funding model

April 2, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue partners are generally unwilling to change the way they fund the agency to save Sammamish a few bucks.

At a March 18 funding model committee meeting, members told Sammamish representatives they wanted to find some way to preserve the partnership, but they were unwilling to change the current funding arrangement.

Right now, EFR partners — Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, and fire districts 10 and 38 — pay into the partnership based solely on property values.

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EFR board sets 2013 goals

March 26, 2013

The Eastside Fire & Rescue board set seven goals for Fire Chief Lee Soptich to fulfill in 2013 at its March 14 board meeting.

Top on the list is to prepare for the 2014 collective bargaining agreement with the firefighters’ union, which also includes hiring an attorney to provide comparison data.

The second goal is to explore expanding the EFR partnership, which currently includes Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, and fire districts 10 and 38.

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Woman, 83, dies after head-on collision

March 5, 2013

A head-on collision turned fatal after a Chrysler car struck an oncoming truck.

At 6:44 p.m. Feb. 25, Issaquah police responded to the 22800 block of Southeast 43rd Way where the wreck occurred. Witnesses at the scene told police that the car, driven by an 83-year-old unidentified Issaquah female, headed down the street without headlights before abruptly veering onto the other side of the road.

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EFR dispatch problems could slow response times

March 5, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue has informed its dispatching service that it intends to look for another agency to handle its calls at the end of 2013 unless it sees significant progress on a long-delayed software upgrade.

EFR provides emergency fire and medical services of Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish and fire districts 10 and 38.

Chief Lee Soptich said he informed Bellevue-based NORCOM, which coordinates emergency response for 14 fire districts and five police departments, of his intentions, following repeated delays in the implementation of a new computer system that’s been years in the making.

“I’m not convinced that there’s brighter things on the horizon,” he said. “It seems like every time we ask a question (about the new system), we hear, ‘We’re pretty close, we just need some more time.’”

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EFR examines staffing levels for fire stations

March 5, 2013

A review of Eastside Fire & Rescue’s service model has led to suggestions that the agency consider having two firefighters at stations rather than the typical three.

Proponents say the idea could be a more efficient use of the agency’s resources, particularly if the two-person unit was stationed in an area that sees a lot of minor medical calls rather than actual fires.

But the suggestion was met with some skepticism from other board members at a Dec. 20 committee meeting, particularly those representing rural fire districts.

“If I have a heart attack or my wife does, I want three guys showing up,” District 10 Commissioner Donald Smith said.

Jon Wiseman, president of the union that represents EFR firefighters, said moving any station’s staffing down to two firefighters is a concern. State law forbids a firefighter to enter a burning building until three responders are on the scene. While aid calls can be handled by two people, Wiseman said having a third person can be vital during the most serious medical emergencies.

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City Council turns to veteran for vacancy

February 5, 2013

Joe Forkner (left) is welcomed back to the dais for another City Council stint by Eileen Barber on Jan. 29. By Greg Farrar

Joe Forkner (left) is welcomed back to the dais for another City Council stint by Eileen Barber on Jan. 29. By Greg Farrar

Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Jan. 29 after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.

Forkner, a councilman in separate stints during the early and mid-2000s, did not fade from public life after departing from the council in 2007. The engineering technician and draftsman served as a member of numerous municipal boards and commissions in recent years, and spearheaded the initial plan to redevelop the business district along Interstate 90.

The depth of experience led the council to appoint Forkner, 59, to occupy the seat left after former Councilman Mark Mullet resigned to serve in the state Senate.

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Firefighters emphasize prevention for Burn Awareness Week

February 5, 2013

NEW — 4 p.m. Feb. 5, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue offers safety tips for Burn Awareness Week, Feb. 3-9, to prevent scald-related injuries and other burns.

The nonprofit American Burn Association emphasized scald injury prevention for the annual observance.

In the United States and Canada each year, more than 500,000 people receive medical treatment for burn injuries — roughly half for scalds.

Most burns occur in the home, and usually in the kitchen or bathroom. Scalds can be prevented through increased awareness of scald hazards and by simple environmental or behavioral changes.

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Firefighters wear red for heart health awareness

February 1, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 1, 2013

Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighters and staffers joined others Friday to don red for National Wear Red Day, a nationwide event to raise awareness about heart disease in women.

Nationwide, heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined.

Since the initial National Wear Red Day a decade ago, many strides have been made in the fight against heart disease in women. Milestones include 21 percent fewer woman dying from heart disease, 23 percent more women aware of heart disease as the No. 1 health threat to women, legislation to help end gender disparities, and publishing of gender-specific results, established differences in symptoms and responses to medications and women-specific guidelines for prevention and treatment.

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