Fire district seeks renewal of EMS levy in November

With more than 80 percent of the district’s calls seeking help in medical emergencies, leaders with Clallam County Fire District 3 are looking for public support on their ballots.

Fire district officials are asking voters to approve a renewal of an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) levy this November.

Voters renewed this EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2009, and without renewal would expire in 2020. EMS funding, which provides about 25 percent of the fire district’s revenues, can only be used to maintain emergency medical service levels.

District officials are seeking public input and will hold public meetings in early fall. District 3 chief Ben Andrews said he is also available to speak to groups looking for more information.

In the meantime, interested parties are encouraged thoughts to Andrews by email ( standard mail (323 N. Fifth Ave., Sequim, WA 98382.)

By the numbers

Clallam County Fire District 3 personnel in 2018 responded to 7,464 emergency calls, with 84 percent (6,273) for emergency medical treatment.

Andrews said that number is high compared to other fire districts but is not surprising, considering the

average age in the Sequim area is 58 years old.

“We continue to see a steady increase in call volumes as our population ages,” he said.

Emergency call volumes overall have increased significantly for Fire District 3, Andrews said — up one-third in the past seven years. Calls overall have tripled in the past 20 years; while EMS is a super majority of those calls, Fire District 3 also responds to fire suppression, technical rescue, hazardous material spills, and motor vehicle accidents.

“EMS is the service our community relies on most, but we are really an ‘all hazards’ response agency,” he said. “We have to be ready in case of any emergency in our community.”

Fire district officials say higher call volumes mean added costs for personnel, apparatus maintenance, equipment and medical supplies.

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