Regarding ‘Orcas Fire handles increased calls’ | Letter

I understand the admission of vulnerability may overwhelm a person to not dial 911 when facing a health situation, but like paramedic Patrick Shepler noted in the Aug. 14 cover story, going to the fire station is not a good idea. The Eastsound Fire Station is “staffed” 24 hours but if they are out on a call, or even multiple calls, no one will be there to help you. It wasn’t that long ago that a man died on the fire station door steps — care was delayed because they were out on a call.

Memorize this number: 360-378-4151. If you don’t think your call is “an emergency,” the dispatcher will help determine that and send services to you if needed. If you are on a cell phone, you may be routed to Canada if you dial 911. Call dispatch at 360-378-4151. Precious minutes will be saved and focused on your care instead of trying to figure out where to transfer your call from Canada.

I spoke with dispatch and San Juan County has generated a number to address the 911 routing issue: 360-378-4141. Dispatch answers both those lines. Dial the -4151 number if you are unsure if it’s an emergency, and definitely if it is NOT an emergency. Dial the -4141 number from a cell phone if it is an emergency. If you can only memorize one number, 360-378-4151 will get you help, life-threatening or not.

Laura Rensberry

Orcas Island