Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

September 9, 1998

Tryon Wells, Peter Winkler, Robert Henry, Gerry Barton, Bill Eichbaum, David Winer, Blaik Bower, John Matthews, Richard Bertaut, Betty Burchell, Doc Taliaffano, Phyllis Taliaffano.

President Tryon Wells called the meeting to order at 8:10pm.

The membership approved the Minutes of the previous meeting.

Captain's Report:
John Matthews reported that the septic system has not been tested yet, following the recurrences of overflow during large events. Suggestions were solicited for means of improving the quantity and hardiness of grass on the Island. The prime rationale for this is to minimize soil runoff and provide a less muddy walking surface following rains.

Special Report on Fire & Rescue Services:
The following guests were introduced -
Michelle Buteau, President of the Conduit Road Fire Board
Michael Cockram, Station Commander of the Glen Echo Fire Station

Comdr. Cockram started off by reminding the members that because of the relative remoteness of the island, in terms of fire protection, we are somewhat on our own out here. Medical rescue is a better situation, particularly with their new "Gator" all- terrain vehicle, which is equipped with a stretcher and standard first-aid items.

In response to his request, permission was granted to Comdr. Cockram to conduct some rescue drills on the island, to help train their personnel and speed up response times. These drills would be in the Oct/Nov time frame.

Ms. Buteau urged all Islanders to become more vocal in their communities and to their Montgomery County representatives about the importance and benefits of restoring the local Glen Echo Fire Department river rescue capability. She also suggested that we lobby to get the river access ramp (located between the island and the dam) reopened, in order to speed up river access for rescue watercraft.

Discussion moved on to use of the 911 Emergency System. When there is an emergency on the island or the tow path, dial 911 directly - do not attempt to call the local park police barracks directly. When you call 911, be sure to be clear about whether it is a FIRE or a RESCUE emergency. It was also pointed out that when you call 911, be sure to tell them right away that you "are on an island in the Potomac river, which is accessible only by boat!" This information will key them to immediately dispatch the Cabin John water rescue strike team and greatly expedite the likely response time.

Comdr. Cockram conducted an impromptu inspection/tour of the clubhouse, and provided recommendations regarding the quantity and location of ABC and pressurized water fire extinguishers. He also provided recommendation on the installation of new AC- powered, battery-backup, interconnected fire alarms, and replacement of the clubhouse stove's flue pipe.

It was also noted during the meeting that one of the other Island attendees, Richard Bertaut, is an active member of the Conduit Road Fire Board. He formally represents the Wood Acres community, but because of his club affiliation, he will represent the interests of Sycamore Island as well.

Other Business:
Nominating Committee:
Will be beginning its work to determine next year's slate of officers.

Canoe Safety and liability for guests of teenagers:
Johnna Robinson submitted two proposals: (1) requiring teenage guests to produce a legal waiver signed by his/her parents and (2) requiring all persons under 18 to show a card from the Red Cross, Boy Scouts or from Canoe Cruisers proving that he/she has completed a basic canoeing class.

The first concern was applauded and it was resolved that more enforcement should be applied for teenage guests to have waivers signed by their parents. It was recommended that the March and April Islanders should contain reminders to the membership to this effect.

The second concern was considered to have merit but was difficult to enforce. Some members stated that weekend caretakers were unlikely to take on the enforcement task and indeed, should not be required to. On the other hand, weekend caretakers could report instances of bad behavior, to be followed up by the club officers, which is the current practice.

The meeting adjourned at 9:44pm.

Next Meeting:
The October meeting will be on the 14th at the Island, water level permitting.

-- Richard Bertaut, substitute Recording Secretary