by Kevin O’Brien
Orcas Fire Chief
On Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Orcas Island firefighters responded to reports of a large fire with dark smoke in the area of Mt. Woolard. Arriving responders found an approximate 1,200-square- foot-single-story log cabin fully engulfed in flames and immediately began fire suppression efforts. There were no residents on the property, and the homeowner was contacted by telephone and informed of the fire. Twenty-eight OIFR responders and five apparatus were able to provide exterior defensive attack, and the fire was extinguished in a safe manner with no injuries to responders or civilians.
On Dec. 3, 7 p.m. OIFR responded with a paramedic and EMT’s to the report of a man who was found unresponsive, not breathing with no pulse. He was determined to be deceased and there was no resuscitation effort made.
Altered Mental Status
On Dec. 3, 9 p.m., OIFR responders were dispatched to assist a man with increased weakness and confusion. He was determined to be in need of further evaluation and care. OIFR transported the man to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
On Dec. 5, 4:30 p.m. OIFR responded to the Orcas Island Medical Center to assist in the care of a male with chest pain. OIFR transported the man to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
On Dec. 10, 12 a.m., a woman with abdominal pain was evaluated by OIFR personnel who then consulted with her island physician. Air transport to the mainland was hampered by weather and she was treated for pain and monitored by EMTs and a paramedic until hours later when Airlift Northwest could respond. OIFR transported the woman to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
Rapid Heart Rate
On Dec. 10, 2:30 p.m., OIFR assisted a woman with a history of an accelerated heart rate. OIFR personnel provided stabilizing treatment and transported her to Orcas Medical Center for follow-up by her personal physician. She was later returned to her home by OIFR ambulance.
On Dec. 10, 8 p.m., OIFR assisted a man with an obvious fracture to his lower leg. The man was evaluated, splinted, treated for pain and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
On Dec. 14, 3 p.m. OIFR personnel assisted a person who was experiencing a possible overdose on prescribed medication. The patient was stabilized and transported by OIFR ambulance to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition for transfer to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Island Air Ambulance.
Smoke in a Residence
On Dec. 17, 7 a.m., a resident noted a strong smell and a light haze of smoke and evacuated their home after calling 911. OIFR responded and arrived to find the home with no smoke or fire involvement. The structure was thoroughly investigated by OIFR responders including the use of a thermal imaging camera to find hidden hot spots. The source was discovered to be a mechanical problem with the heating system. The residents safely returned to their home.
On Dec. 25, 9 a.m., a man experiencing a fever and cough was evaluated by OIFR responders and determined to have a possible case of pneumonia. OIFR treated and transported the man to the Eastsound Airport in stable condition. He was transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital via Airlift Northwest.
On Dec. 26, 8 p.m., a family visiting Orcas Island brought their young son to Station 21 when he began to experience difficulty breathing. The parents stated that the boy had a history of asthma and they had forgotten to bring the child’s medication with them on the trip and had no way to obtain it quickly. The child was treated by OIFR EMTs and a paramedic and was able to safely remain on the island with his parents and enjoy the holidays.
On Dec. 28, 5 p.m., a man who had been involved in an ATV accident was evaluated by OIFR personnel when he began showing signs of a possible head injury. He was treated for symptoms and after consultation with the medical control physician, it was determined that he could safely remain on island to be observed by his family for the evening.
News and Events
OIFR welcomes Mary Tanner as our new administrative assistant. Mary is a long-time island resident with extensive experience in administrative services and helping others.
A search for the position of San Juan County Fire Marshal is currently under way. OIFR has been working with the San Juan County Building Official and the other San Juan County Fire Districts in the search process. We hope to have the position filled as soon as possible.
Staff from Orcas Island Fire and Rescue, Orcas Medical Center, the Senior Center, and the Orcas Island Community Foundation, have begun meeting as a workgroup to develop improvements to medical care on Orcas Island.
Maintenance Technician/Responder Seth Ybarra will begin the Washington State Fire Recruit Academy for 10 weeks beginning Jan. 22.
The academy teaches the fundamental skills required of a career firefighter.
Did You Know?
Orcas Island Fire and Rescue uses the aeromedical transport services of Airlift Northwest and Island Air Ambulance. OIFR strives to transport our patients by the mode they desire; however, due to weather and emergency response demands, one or both services may not be available. It is beneficial to have the option of each carrier. Both organizations offer memberships.
For more information go to: http://www.uwmedicine.org/airlift-nw/aircare (Airlift Northwest) and http://sanjuanems.org/air-transport (Island Air Ambulance). Brochures for both services are available at the Eastsound Fire Hall.