For Immediate Release: September 12, 2014
Contact: Fire Chief Ryan Baskett, (253) 548-2501 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Deputy Chief Tony Judd, (253) 548-2502 or email@example.com
GRAHAM, WA – Fire Chief Ryan Baskett announced today Graham Fire & Rescue will immediately begin reducing service delivery to the citizens.
Graham Fire has seen a decrease in assessed valuation of property in excess of 20% and an increase in call volume of over 14% since 2008. This equates to a 20% decline in tax revenue used to operate and manage the District. The failure to pass a four-year, $2.75 million per year maintenance and operations levy in August dictates the need to continue reducing cost.
Chief Baskett stated, “The organization has cut everything possible to reduce cost without impacting service delivery and can no longer sustain the current level of service.”
The following operational changes were approved by the Board of Commissioners at a September 10
th Special Board Meeting.
Reduction of staffing from 11 to 9 responders daily
Full-time closure of Fire Station 6 (Thrift)
Part-time closures of two additional Station 5 (Fredrickson) and Station 3 (Benston)
Reduction of (Paramedic) advanced life support transport units from 3 to 2 daily
Single unit response to all basic life support calls
Non-priority calls will wait for an available unit
Elimination of school and public event support impacting daily staffing
Elimination of response to burn complaints and non-hazardous call types
These and other changes are necessary until the Fire District can adequately cover priority emergency calls. The Fire District responds to 6,000 emergency calls a year and protects 61,000 citizens. “We are tasked with protecting 61,000 citizens and running over 16 calls a day with very limited resources,” Chief Baskett said.
The Board of Commissioners has decided to place the maintenance and operations levy measure back on the ballot for citizen consideration in November due to the narrow margin of failure and low voter turnout. The August measure failed with a 58.5% approval rating and needed 60% approval to pass. If the measure is approved, the Fire District will hire additional firefighters and paramedics to allow 24/7 staffing at all stations.
Facts about the levy are available at http://www.grahamfire.org or can be obtained by calling the headquarters fire station at 253-847-8811.