Flying tents, ducklings saved, and a nationwide shortage of paramedics.
23 Rotarians crowded into a Zoom meeting on Feb. 10, and no one shouted “Fire!”, even though we had Chief Sharp of the West Pierce Fire and Rescue department as our guest and our speaker.  President Teresa Nye kicked things off with her own invocation, offering thanks for our togetherness, for our first responders and military, and for the hopefully delicious food which we are feeding ourselves while still meeting away from Carr’s Restaurant.  Jeannie Hill led us in the flag salute, and Becky Newton led us in reciting the Rotary 4-Way Test.  
 
There was no sunshine to report.  Tom Faubion even joined us, after dodging the surgery bullet that would have had him in the hospital this week. 
 
Future Programs
Feb. 17            Muriel Herrera-Velasquez, Lakewood's Choice anti-drug program
Feb. 24            Jani Hitchen, Pierce Co. Council District 6
Mar. 3              Greg Horn, District Governor Visit
 
Announcements
Joyce Oubre noted that the fundraising committee is putting together a survey of members about future fundraising events.  Stay tuned for that survey coming out soon.
 
Jim Hairston is our new Public Image Director, and is putting together a new club brochure to highlight the great people in our club and great things we do.  If you have any good “Rotary in action” photos, please forward to Jim. 
 
Tom McClellan noted that a check had arrived in the mail from Lakewood Rotary to help with our South Sound Wildlife Area projects.  It includes money for 2 more benches, and for a week of having the NW Youth Corps work team out to deal with invasive plants, and replanting native ones.
 
The snowy weather means that Lakewood First Lions Club has had to postpone its drive through crab feed from Sunday, Feb. 14th to Sunday, Feb. 28th. The time and location remains the same; 2-4 p.m. at Fort Steilacoom Park. Questions? Contact Eric Warn at ewarn6234@aol.com.  You can get details about participating at https://thesubtimes.com/2021/02/02/lakewood-first-lions-crab-feed-a-drive-through-in-2021/, which still reflects the original date, not the new one.  Besides a full Dungeness crab, the dinner includes delicious clam chowder, coleslaw, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, a corn muffin and an awesome cookie.
 
Fun And Fines
Ed Trobaugh is getting better at finding the unmute button.  He came without much in the way of prepared assessments, and so he tossed to Tom McClellan who had a fun story to share.
 
Tom’s daughter and her new husband have just moved to Boise, ID, and have left their West Seattle home in the hands of their real estate agent and staging company to get it sold.  Offers are coming in and they hope to move soon to closing.  But they got a troubling phone call from their next door neighbor in West Seattle, reporting that someone had erected a tent in their yard.  This caused a bit of panic, in a week when they are trying to get the sale of the house done, and are 10 hours away with little that they can do about squatters moving into their yard.  The sheriff was called, and a deputy came out to investigate.  The deputy examined the tent, finding it empty and unoccupied, and not staked down.  The deputy concluded that the tent had blown there during the strong winds the night before.  So crisis averted.
 
Marie Barth confessed to having returned from Montana, where she visited husband and club member Bruce Barth to celebrate his 70th birthday.  She noted that it was 11°F there, and tried to snivel and the amount of the fine, eventually agreeing to $20 for 4 days.  No mention was made, nor contribution offered, concerning Bruce’s birthday.
 
John Unfred was called upon, and allowed to confess his guilty feelings about being AWOL for so long.  He noted that Covid responses and preparations take up between 20-150% of his time each day.
 
Hallie McCurdy shared some joy about her son playing varsity basketball at PLU.  He is averaging 9 points/game, and the team is 4-0 so far this season.  $40.
 
Sheri Hodson revealed that she just celebrated a birthday last Sunday, but did not reveal which one.  Becky Newton also celebrated a birthday, and looks forward to celebrating the arrival of another grandson, due June 22.
 
Kerri Pedrick is working hard with her volunteers to get food boxes to needy families’ doorsteps ahead of the snowstorm.  She and her family also took a fun trip up to Orcas Island.
 
David Cotant and Judi had a fun trip to Leavenworth for 1 night, with snowshoeing and a sleigh ride.  He will bundle his payment for that with his overdue check from having bought a new car.
 
This Week’s Program
Jim Sharp has now served 8 years as chief of the WPFR.  He spoke about the challenges of dealing with Covid among their other challenges.
 
9 employees have contracted Covid, but thanks to quarantine protocols there have been no secondary infections.  And this is despite medics seeing 5-10 Covid patients each day. 
 
Last year saw 16,124 calls for service, which is down somewhat because people are scared of Covid and reluctant to call for medical help.  But ducklings are apparently still grateful for the rescue service.
 
 
In 2020, WPFR graduated 16 new firefighters, the biggest class ever.  It has been tough to do the firefighter academy under Covid
 
WPFR has made several changes to its emergency medical service (EMS) response procedures, resulting from a multi-year rises in calls.  People have been calling 911 in lieu of going to the doctor’s office, most of which are non-emergency.  Paramedics have been getting burned out from the high call volume, which is a problem nationwide.  It costs a lot to tie up an advanced life support (ALS) unit to deal with minor calls.  
 
The changes they are making include sending out a fire engine first for low acuity calls, with EMTs on the fire crew then making an assessment and calling for ALS help if needed.  They are implementing a Connect CARE position in the department to help deal with some of the “high utilizers” who make repeated calls.  They have a “sprint car” in lieu of a full firetruck with a crew that can go out to deal with small issues like a non-functioning smoke alarm.  They are changing their ALS medical units from 2 paramedics to 1 PM and 1 EMT.
 
In noting the nationwide shortage of paramedics, Chief Sharp noted that it is a 1 year school, and there is a waiting list to get in.  So it is not something that can be solved rapidly. 
 
Everyone in the WPFR has been offered both Covid vaccinations.  70% have accepted. 
 
WPFR has plans in the works for expected population growth in its area, but the impact of such growth will depend on the age demographics.  He noted that 20 year olds tend not to call 911.  Retirees do it more. 
 
 
And Finally…
With all of Lakewood currently embroiled in "Flurrymageddon", here are examples of what some people do when it snows.