Department loses firefighter position

NORTH BEND - Residents need not be concerned about a staffing change at the North Bend fire station, Eastside Fire and Rescue (EFR) Chief Lee Soptich told the City Council last week.

Soptich attended the July 8 council meeting to explain that this month one firefighting position was removed from the city's Station 87 and substituted with a paramedic position. The move will keep the staffing levels at the station at the usual five full-time positions, but will change the makeup to three firefighters and two paramedics. The addition of another paramedic makes the staffing level ratio consistent with departments throughout the county.

"The benefit to the region ... is that the optimum life support system provides two paramedics at the scene [of an accident]," said Soptich.

In an area where it can take 22 minutes for paramedic backup to arrive, Soptich said the move is a benefit.

"The paramedics out here see some horrendous accidents and it's a while before they get help," said Soptich.

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