Clarkston City Council rejects EMS mutual aid proposal from Lewiston

CLARKSTON, WA - The Clarkston City Council met Tuesday night and decided they're happy with how their Emergency Management Service currently operates.

"We do have a top grade fire department and ambulance service for many miles around," said Clarkston City Councilor Terry Beadles.

Beadles argued that the Clarkston Fire Department and Emergency Management Service is exceptionally self-sufficient. Clarkston Fire Department Chief Steve Cooper feels the same way.

"We have good treatment protocols that guides our patient care. We have great tools to work with and our fleet is right sized for the services we provide," said Cooper.

Which is why Beadles drafted a letter to the Mayor of Lewiston that rejects a proposal to create a collaborate service between Valley EMS agencies.

"There may be a time when we desire a discussion for contracting ambulance service and transportation, but this is not the year," said Beadles.

The City of Lewiston approached Clarkston about a month ago, asking if they'd contract their EMS service from the Lewiston Fire Department, like Asotin County Fire District Number One currently does. Lewiston Fire Department Chief Garry DeJong said last night's decision clarified any lingering questions Lewiston officials may have had.

"Certainly we felt that there was an opportunity for additional dialogue but we respect the decision the City of Clarkston has made," said Dejong.

The possibility for mutual aid, a plan that would give backup to the Clarkston Fire Department if they need assistance, is still in the picture but DeJong said it's a long ways from solidified. However Cooper said that's not a concern.

"This review does not describe an ambulance business plan that is dependent on mutual aid to serve the city," said Cooper.

As for now, the Valley EMS entities will serve their residents with the highest quality of care.

"We will continue working at a very high level and working as is," said Dejong. "That is the expectation from the citizens. Our tax payers rely on us to provide the services that they pay for and both groups will continue doing it at a very high level."

In other city news, the council approved the drafting of a resolution that would change stormwater fees for city residents from $3.50 to $4. They'll vote on whether to adjust the cost next week once the resolution is finalized.