North Whatcom Fire & Rescue Service
By Jane VandenBos
It has been a busy year! North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) has responded to 2,200 calls so far this year, over 200 more than this same time last year. Fully 75 percent of those calls has been for emergency medical assistance for things like chest pain, falls, motor vehicle accidents, and breathing difficulties. Just under 7 percent of the calls were for fires. The remaining 18 percent of calls were in response to situations such as false alarms, public assists and hazardous conditions.
The fire marshal’s office was especially busy this year, coordinating over 230 commercial business inspections, fire safety education programs for over 1,400 children in area schools and day care centers, and spearheading the Safety Home Address program to ensure rural addresses are clearly marked for emergency responders. In addition, fire marshal Bleecker has obtained fire inspector I & II national certification and has become a commissioned law enforcement officer.
Also in 2008, the fire district originated a joint automatic first response agreement with Whatcom County Fire District #7. The operational boundaries between the districts were removed, with either fire district now responding on a first response basis into each other’s jurisdiction thus ensuring a better response to both.
A sizable grant from FEMA in 2008 allowed the district to purchase 84 sets of new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) including masks, air cylinders, a pressure testing system and a fit testing system. NWFR firefighters are safer and the public they serve are better protected with the award of this grant.
NWFR would like to thank the community for their continued support of fire and medical emergency services. A special thank you as well to the dedicated volunteers that serve throughout the fire district. NWFR is grateful for your continued commitment and service. For more information about NWFR visit www.nwfrs.net.