Letters to the Editor for May 7, 2013

Paid, volunteer firefighters deserve recognition

I have been a volunteer victim at Port of Camas-Washougal emergency drills three times now, including at events held at the industrial park, the airport and the marina. Each time has been fun, rewarding and educational.

We victims are made up by the professionals organizing the drill with horrible injuries and fake blood to replicate what one would expect from explosions or traumatic events. There is always thick fake smoke and we are strategically placed.

An actual 911 emergency call is made by the port staff. The firemen know it is a drill, but all details are withheld. When they arrive, a command is established and the situation is assessed. When they find us, our injuries are analyzed and we are removed, evaluated, treated and taken to an ambulance.

We are so lucky to have such well-trained dedicated people serving us as firemen. As a victim, you get first-hand experience to see how well you will be taken care of should you ever become an actual victim. When I see them, I like to thank them for their service. They risk their lives to save ours.

As the consolidation of the Camas and Washougal fire departments continues, I hope the volunteers remain an integral part of the department. I’m very proud of my brother’s many years of service as a volunteer fireman. I know how important the role of the volunteers is to our safety and security.

The exceptional training, experience, professionalism and bravery of the men and women who serve in the East County Fire & Rescue and the Camas and Washougal Fire Department, both paid and volunteers, deserve our unqualified gratitude and admiration.

John Wagoner, Washougal