By Heather Chadwick, Snohomish County Fire District 7 Public Information and Education Officer.
The Board of Fire Commissioners for Snohomish County Fire District 7 reaffirmed its commitment to five-person staffing for Station 76 in the City of Mill Creek.
This was in response to Mill Creek voters renewing a levy for emergency medical service in November 2016.
“We want to thank Mill Creek voters for renewing the levy,” said Assistant Chief Eric Andrews. “Fire District 7 is committed to maintaining staffing levels at Station 76.”
The City of Mill Creek contracts with Fire District 7 to provide emergency services. Revenue from the levy goes directly to the city to help pay its contract costs.
Mill Creek voters originally passed an EMS levy in 2010 to increase staffing levels from three to five firefighters at Station 76. This happened after response times were delayed to a structure fire in the city in 2009.
The three firefighters from Station 76 were responding to an EMS call at the time of the fire. The second closest station also was on an EMS call and unavailable. The third station to respond was farther away, and by the time it arrived, the fire was at risk of spreading to multiple homes. No lives were lost, but a home was completely destroyed.
City residents pushed for more firefighters and approved additional funding through an emergency medical services levy the following year. That levy would have expired at the end of 2016, but was renewed by voters in November.
Staffing levels also are connected to insurance premiums paid by home and business owners. The Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau rates fire districts, in part, on the number of firefighters that are available to respond to a fire. Cuts to staffing could impact Mill Creek’s rating and cause insurance premiums to increase.
“Cutting staffing levels simply means that our community pays more in other ways, such as higher property losses and more expensive insurance premiums,” said Assistant Chief Andrews. “We’re not going to let that happen.”
Fire District 7 has provided emergency services to Mill Creek since the city incorporated in 1983. Prior to that, residents and businesses were part of the fire district. This regional partnership saves taxpayers money and improves the fire district’s emergency response system-wide.
Snohomish County Fire District 7 provides fire and life safety services to 110,000 people over 98.5 square miles in central and east Snohomish County, including the communities of Monroe, Maltby, Clearview and Mill Creek.
Fire District 7 taxpayers have built the most advanced emergency response system in Snohomish County with highly-trained personnel, facilities, apparatus, and rescue programs.
Learn more about Fire District 7 by visiting www.snofire7.org, or find them on Facebook and Twitter @snocountyfire7.