'The general public could save a life if they had cell phone service'

GREENWATER, Wash. -- Everyone knows to dial 911 in an emergency, but that's not possible in some remote areas of Washington.

That's exactly the case along State Route 410 east of Enumclaw, and some in the area are pleading with communications companies to bring cell service to the area.

Numbers from the state and Crystal Mountain indicate nearly one million people travel SR-410 each and every year. With that many cars, trucks, RVs and motorcycles on the road, accidents are bound to happen.

On Monday, a motorcyclist was injured in a crash on the highway and needed medical help. The problem was, nobody could get cell service to call 911 and someone had to drive off to find help, wasting valuable time.

That rider survived and was eventually air lifted to a hospital, but that's not always the case.

"We're so far out, delayed response can adversely affect the outcome, said Greenwater Fire Commissioner Pete Murray, who has 25 years experience as a firefighter.

Murray and others are now working to convince AT&T and Verizon to provide reliable cell service to the area. So far, they've collected more than 5,000 signatures on petitions in favor of the plan.

"It's nonexistent between the bottom of Crystal Mountain Boulevard to Enumclaw. It's nonexistent," said resident Faith Young.

Resident Kevin Gilbert said adding the cell coverage isn't about convenience, it's about saving lives.

"A few minutes can save a life," he said. "The general public could save a life if they had cell phone service. "