Borough Mayor Dave Carey thinks that non-departmental organizations like Kenai Peninsula College shouldn't be funded by borough taxes because they just "take take take, and they never give anything back to the Borough." KPC has been included in this group. Really? He doesn't think KPC gives back to the borough?
Let's make a list of Borough savings as a result of KPC, starting with the EMT and Paramedic Outreach Program.
Ten Kenai Peninsula Borough Paramedics are scheduled to attend a "Difficult Airway Class" at KPC May at no cost to the borough or fire departments. This project started two years ago when borough funding made out-of-state travel for this course impossible. KPC saw a need for this advanced level training and paid to bring the course to the peninsula. The savings to taxpayers will be well over $25,000. The value to citizens: priceless!
KPC has been offering FREE Outreach "Continual Medical Education" to Central Peninsula Hospital, Nikiski Fire, Kenai Fire, CES, Seward Volunteer Ambulance, and loaned equipment to Ninilchik EMS, all at no charge since the program's inception six years ago. This includes annual EMT refreshers, ACLS, PALS, AMLS, ITLS, and CPR classes, plus all of the medical equipment needed to run them.
KPC has taken high fidelity medical simulation equipment to Central Peninsula Hospital, Nikiski, Kenai, CES, and Seward Volunteer Ambulance Service so employees could train on "state-of-the-art" medical simulators. Again, at no cost to the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Task trainers for airway and IV skills maintenance are taken to departments monthly for competency reviews. The cost to borough fire departments -- zero.
Competency testing has been developed and offered under the direction of the borough medical director. Paramedics must annually show competency in high risk/low frequency skills such as surgical airway placement, and sedation protocols. This testing is done using personnel and equipment from KPC. Cost of this kind of training to the Kenai Peninsula Borough? Nothing.
Last year KPC purchased a $10,000 video conferencing camera and placed it at Nikiski Fire Department so the paramedic course could be offered to a full-time borough firefighter/EMT who could not attend his classes while on-duty. The cost to the Kenai Peninsula Borough was once again, zilch.
Why Mayor Carey thinks that the Kenai Peninsula College, a non-departmentally funded, and tax payer approved campus, doesn't give back to the community just shows how out of touch he really is.
I am but one faculty member wno gives back to the Kenai Peninsula Borough. There are more. I hope Mayor Carey, and more importantly, the Borough Assembly recognizes that the college is a lot more valuable to the Peninsula than just offering an education to the taxpaying public, helping to train future Kenai Peninsula Borough employees, or offering Jump Start classes to future voters. I hope they can see that the funding of a college campus just makes good sense.
Paul Perry; Paramedic Program Coordinator, Kenai Peninsula College
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