Sustainable Fire Services

Report
Presentation on
Sustainable Fire Services
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The Problem:
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Fire Department Operations are Unsustainable.
Two Things have changed:
 Operations
 Loss of Volunteers (31 in 2013 – 11 in 2014)
 Increase in call Volume (See Graph in Packet)
 894 in 2004 – 1350 in 2013
 Lynden is the second busiest Station in Whatcom County (BFD #3
has the most calls )
 BLS Transports (33 in 2004 – 410 in 2014)
 Requires 2 Personnel for at least 90 Minutes on each Transport
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Operations Continued…
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Automatic Aid
 100 additional Calls since June 2013
 What do we gain from the Agreement;
 Use of any Piece of Equipment (Vehicles, cost of Rental or replacement is
significant)
 Use of the Training Facility for free ($1200 fee for each use)
 Duty Officer Rotation (Once every 5 weeks)
 Sharing of Volunteers
 Move Up of Stations or Equipment at any time
 Storage space for equipment (Training Props, Old Panel Van)
 Maintenance Facility ($90 per hr vs. $150 per hr at another Qualified
shop)
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Cost;
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SAFER Grant runs out in 2015
 Each Firefighter cost $80,666 annually ($242,000 for 3)
 Overtime projected at $225,000 for 2014 to maintain staffing
 Not enough Volunteers to fill the positions needed on Shift
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Administration and Operations:
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2 Chiefs
1 Support Services Manager (Non-Fire)
3 Lieutenants
6 Firefighters (3 Funded by SAFER Grant)
11 Volunteer Firefighters
1 Shared Shift Firefighter (North Whatcom)
Annual Budget:
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$1.9 Million (Minus $564,000 for SAFER, EMS and DOH)
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What we do for the Community:
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Fire and EMS Response (1,350 Incidents in 2013)
Inspections (Over 600 Businesses in Town, New Construction)
Fire Safety in Schools ( 5 Elementary Schools each Year)
Station Tours (Average of 3 a week)
CPR and First Aid Classes (Average of 12 or more a Year)
Babysitter Clinic (Annually)
Fire Extinguisher Class ( Several times a Year)
Hydrant Flow Testing

History:
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In 2004 the Fire Dept. ran 894 calls
 2 Chiefs, 35 Volunteers
 2 Aid Units, 2 Engines, 1 Ladder
 33 BLS Transports
 In 2013 the Fire Dept. ran 1350 calls
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2 Chiefs, 3 Lt.’s, 6 Firefighters, 11 Volunteers
2 Aid Units, 2 Engines, 1 Tower Ladder
410 BLS Transports
24 Hour Shifts
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History…
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Volunteer Firefighters
 Only allowed to work 70 hours per Month per the Washington State Board of Volunteer
Firefighters (SB5135)
 Exemption is allowed 4 times a year to go over 70 hours. (Wildland Exemption)
 Only allowed to make 20% of what a Career Firefighter makes per Month
 Part Time Firefighters
 20 – 149 hours worked per Month (City Policy AD-29)
 Have to pay into PERS (State Retirement System)
 City will have to change Policy AD-29 for Employees working over 20 hours for
Health Insurance (Firefighters have exemption under new AHCA)

Solutions;
Option #1
Ambulance Utility Fee implementation
 Could raise from $0 up to $812,000 Annually
 Cost between $0 and $11.99 per Household Monthly
 Allows Hiring additional Personnel and backfilling SAFER Grant funding
 Cost to Residents associated with Fee
Option #2
Ambulance Utility Fee subsidized by General Fund
 Small Fee with Percentage or amount from General fund
 Could be $100,000 of projected revenue
 Would reduce the amount of burden on Taxpayers
 Would reduce funds for discretionary projects in the future.
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Options;
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Merge with North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (Dist. 21)
 Level of Service defined by Contract
 Mill Rates will change to facilitate Contract…
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Currently $1.07 per $1000
$1.28 per $1000 for 2015 after SAFER Grant expires
North Whatcom is currently $1.50 per $1000
Loss of Control, Uncertainty of Level of Service?
 Lower level of Service
 2 / 3 Person Companies (Kelly Days / Vacations)
 Does not account for Back to Back Incidents (20 Times a Month average)
 28 Back to Back Responses in February (6 were simultaneously)
 Currently at 5 minute response times
 This is a comparable Response time to the City of Bellingham and City of Oak Harbor
 Reducing service would increase response times overall especially on back to back
Incidents which could average near 15 minutes.
Thank You for your Attention.
Any Questions?

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