Eastside Fire and Rescue, in partnership with the Snoqualmie Tribe, has received grant funding for a new emergency aid vehicle that will help both parties to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new vehicle will include upgrades to ensure that first responders are more protected from COVID-19 and future viruses. This includes partitions separating patients from vehicle operators and built-in UV sanitation equipment for sterilization.
The new vehicle was purchased through funding in the Indian Community Development Block Grant, which is part of the federal American Rescue Plan.
“After hearing from Tribes across Washington state about the challenges they were dealing with due to COVID, I worked to include critical funding in the American Rescue Plan to go directly to Tribal communities,” said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. “I’m glad to see some of that funding going to the Snoqualmie Tribe to bolster their emergency medical services.”
The announcement of the funding comes as case numbers across the county have reached record highs in recent weeks due the highly transmissible omicron variant.
Eastside Fire and Rescue has been responsible for responding to the virus since 2020 and has parked its existing aid car on the Tribe’s reservation since 2019. Since then, Eastside Fire and Rescue has been able to reduce its response times by an average of 75 seconds or more.
Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Jeff Clark praised the move as another example of how collaboration between the department and Tribe has benefited the community as a whole. Earlier this year, the two groups received a county award for their community vaccination site.
“With the upgrades this new vehicle will have, we are excited to save even more in the years to come and want to thank all that were involved,” said Snoqualmie Tribal Chairman Robert de los Angeles.