The Coastal Star

Editorial: Life-saving agreement deserves speedy resolution

None of us are happy with the speed of change.
Many of our neighbors who live in the Tradewinds and Place Au Soleil neighborhoods
are upset at how quickly the city of Boynton Beach has embraced and
approved a Walmart where the former Gulfstream mall sits crumbling
today.
While no one debates the need to replace this strip-mall eyesore, there is a strong feeling that the approval process has been
fast-tracked with too little public discussion. Contrast that with
the painfully slow process to approve a policy that could unite Boynton
Beach Fire Rescue and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to protect the
lives of the people who live in the unincorporated area between Briny
Breezes and Gulf Stream.
Right now, if you live in — or happen to be in — this county pocket and require medical attention, fire-rescue
services are dispatched from a county fire station on Woolbright Road
west of Military Trail. This despite the proximity of a Boynton Beach
fire station on Federal Highway just across the Woolbright Bridge —
nearly four miles closer.
The 13-minute response time from County Fire Rescue to treat Bill Dunn was too slow and drove some in
the neighborhood to seek better treatment. Since his death in November,
and because of the diligence of pocket resident Mike Smollon, elected
officials have discussed the issue and agreed that something needs to
be done. The County has written an agreement, but nothing yet has been
signed.
In oversimplified terms, here is how this mutual aid agreement should work: When a life-threatening event happens in the
unincorporated area, the closest available rescue crew (Boynton Beach)
should be dispatched, while the county rescue crew is dispatched to the
Federal Highway station for backup. This provides the critical response
time needed for most cardiac or respiratory issues, while still
providing coverage in the rest of the Boynton Beach service area.
Representatives from Boynton Beach have suggest this inter-local
agreement may take some time and could include a fiscal component, so
is not yet scheduled to go before the Boynton Beach City Commission.
Once Boynton approves the agreement, it will return to the County for
final approval.
Both government entities are working to move this agreement forward, but in contrast to the speed of the Walmart approval
process, the wheels of government are moving slowly.
There are elderly people and infants living in the unincorporated area. Let’s
pray that another resident (or visitor) does not have a grave medical
issue arise before this life-saving agreement can be approved.

Jerry Lower, Publisher
Mary Kate Leming, Editor

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