NorthWhatcom Fire & Rescue

Published on Thu, Jan 11, 2007 by eslee Smith

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North Whatcom Fire & Rescue

By Leslee Smith

2006 has been a very busy, productive and exciting year for North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) formerly known as North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service.

The area serviced by NWFR has seen tremendous growth. This has increased our call volume by 8 percent (2084 calls- 2005, 2350 calls- 2006), resulting in hiring five full time firefighters and an assistant fire chief. In addition, a new administrative assistant at the Birch Bay station and two vacant positions for a firefighter and training captain were filled.

We take pride in the skills of our personnel and the bravery of our citizens. CPR pins are given to personnel who have revived patients suffering cardiac arrest. To date , 22 members of our department have been recognized for lifesaving efforts. We have also recognized community members for their extraordinary efforts. In February three local citizens pulled a trio of young men from a burning vehicle which was involved in a motor vehicle crash on I-5. They received our first “Community Life Safety Award.”

In July NWFR received a proclamation which was issued by Governor Christine Gregoire to honor our firefighters. In September we received a $56,000 “Commercial Equipment Direct Assistance Program (CEDAP)” from the Department of Homeland Security with which two sets of extrication tools for District 3 and 13 were purchased. A “Washington State Department of Health and Emergency Trauma Systems” grant in the amount of $3,200 was used to purchase three CPR training manikins. The largest grant was received from the Department of Homeland Security “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response” (SAFER) in the amount of $414,000 which will allow us to hire 20 full-time firefighters in the next year.

New equipment has been added in the form of three new command vehicles; in addition two used, refurbished ambulances (to be used for BLS transport vehicles) for district 3 were purchased to replace aging vehicles.

The November election reflected the citizens' vote to have fire district 3 and 13 become one and operate wholly as North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services.

A busy and rewarding year has passed prefacing the new one to come
We anticipate an exciting and productive future and have identified this next year as “Adventure 2007.” Some of the changes to look for in 2007:

Now that we are officially one fire district a lot of detailed planning will be required to make it fully operational. NWFRS must establish one budget, consider staffing and the best use of personnel, as well as locating fire and emergency equipment to locations that best suit the community and fire district needs.

New firefighters (at least 20) will need to be hired to enable the district to provide staff at three 24-hour fire stations. Plans are to increase the staffing at the Birch Bay, Lynden and Semiahmoo fire stations in order to improve response times to seven minutes or less and provide better service to these communities. Hiring a full time fire marshal to operate within the city of Blaine is also planned for 2007.

NWFRS will be able to complete a capital facilities plan which involves planning for future needed stations as well as fire and emergency vehicles and equipment. The fire district has ordered one new ambulance to be delivered in late August 2007 and will be ordering one new fire engine as part of their ongoing equipment replacement program.

We look forward to the exciting and new challenges that “Adventure 2007” will bring and are eagerly anticipating the many new faces and places that this year will reveal!

Thank you for your support in 2006,we look forward to serving you in 2007 and remember “We Are Your Community Fire Department!”