I was invited to attend and all-day conference on coastal management, where presenters shared information on Federal Emergency Management Agency and Clatsop County planning.

My understanding is that now FEMA is more about people — what to do to save lives first. We need to focus on Gearhart taxpayers, rather than building a resilient fire station. Fire equipment should not take precedence over people.

One of the advisors to coastal cities asked me (I was the only one there from Gearhart): “How is Gearhart going to take care of their tourists and residents when the tsunami comes?”

I did not have an answer. A vertical evacuation structure could be built, but where? We need to plan now to take care of our residents, and others, before we attempt to save easily replaceable fire equipment.

Gearhart has approximately 1,700 homes, with a largely senior citizen base of full-time residents. We have a fire department that has only responded to two fire calls, and over 400 emergency medical calls, in the same period of time. The responses to opioid overdoses, seizures, heart attacks, etc., far exceed our fire emergency needs.

Residents need to know at what level emergency medical technician training our volunteer fire fighters are at to respond to these emergencies, and increase the skills that each has to aid the residents and tourists they should be serving first, before being loaned out of state to fight fires.

Harold T. Gable


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