Years ago when I worked in American Fork’s parks department, I had an experience that I reflect on often.
While working at a park, I overheard a 911 call that came over the citywide radio system for a medical need at a house near me. I decided to run over to see if I could lend a hand until the ambulance arrived. When I got there, I found a man unresponsive on the floor with his wife desperately trying to save him. I immediately began CPR while the wife administrated mouth-to-mouth.
What must have been minutes felt like hours as we desperately waited for help. Sirens are often considered loud and annoying, but that day, the sirens were music to my ears as they meant help had arrived.
I continued to assist the medics as they took control and eventually transported the man to the hospital where he passed away. My heart goes out to that family. It was a traumatic experience for everyone there. It left me physically and emotionally drained. But I walked away with a profound respect for what the fire department deals with routinely and how integral they are in the community.
For these reasons and more, I support our police and fire departments and am proud of what they do. They have earned many awards for being the most ready, most engaged, and most fit in our state. Just recently, our fire department won the Best of Utah Firefighter Challenge, a rigorous test of physical endurance.
But it’s not just the physical fitness that impresses me, it’s the personal touches that show me they are caring community partners. Just recently, our fire crews were in the news for attending to a residential gas leak and making sure the homeowner’s food didn’t burn. Additionally, while checking fire hydrants, our crews helped a citizen who got his drone stuck in a tree. They love their work and love the community they work in.
I know both our police and fire do all they can to be ready for when those emergency calls come in. That’s why I also think its important we make sure they have the tools they need to succeed. At this time, American Fork is considering a bond to fund a second fire station to ensure our crews can respond as quickly as possible. The bond will also include funds to acquire land on the south side of American Fork to prepare for a third fire station that will be needed sometime down the road.
As I learned years ago, when it comes to fire and rescue, seconds count. During a heart attack, 10% of the heart muscle dies every minute. Additionally, a house fire doubles in size every minute. With the second fire station, we estimate we’ll be able to cover 90% of our residents within the nationally recommended four to six minute response time.
American Fork wants to ensure the best safety for its residents and wants to continue the exceptional service it already provides. This is a big issue for American Fork City which is why I implore all our residents to learn about this issue by going to afcity.org/bond. And I encourage residents of all communities to get involved and vote in this year’s election. Residents can register to vote by going to vote.utah.gov.