2007 in Review North Whatcom Fire & Rescue

Published on Thu, Jan 3, 2008 by Leslee Smith

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2007 in Review
North Whatcom Fire & Rescue

By Leslee Smith

Since the merger of fire districts 3 and 13, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) has experienced unprecedented growth. In 2007, the district hired 24 firefighters, raising the number of career firefighters from 15 to 39. The fire district is now able to staff the Birch Bay, Blaine and Lynden fire stations 24-hours a day.

This summer, NWFR and the city of Blaine cooperatively hired a new fire marshal.

Fire marshal Jim Bleecker’s work will focus on inspections, plan review, code enforcement, public education and fire prevention.

In an exciting cooperative program with Skagit Community College, the Semiahmoo station is now staffed with student intern firefighters. When not in class, these students will train with NWFR crews and provide regular shift coverage at the Semiahmoo station.

As a result of the additional staffing, fire district response times have decreased nearly 30 percent from last year.

NWFR has responded to 1,986 calls so far this year. 165 were fire-related, 1,453 were for medical emergencies and the rest were for public assistance or false alarms. It is anticipated that the district will respond to well over 2,100 calls by the end of 2007.

In November, the administrative offices moved to the Birch Bay fire station. This temporary move will increase efficiency while long-term plans are made for a permanent headquarters station.

WFR anticipates completing significant long-term planning in 2008 with the anticipated completion of the capital and facilities plan. The district also intends to purchase a new engine and ambulance in 2008 that will likely operate from the Birch Bay or Blaine fire stations.

A review of the district would not be complete without special recognition of the dedicated volunteers that serve throughout the district. NWFR is grateful for their commitment and service.

For more information about NWFR, see the district website at www.nwfrs.net.