Clallam County Fire District 3 is moving two full-time firefighters from Blyn to Sequim during peak hours beginning June 1 as part of a three- to four-month trial, district officials said.
The pilot program will help the district determine how to best respond to Sequim’s higher call volumes, Chief Ben Andrews said.
“This is not a permanent change,” Andrews said in an email. “It is a trial to evaluate a potential better use of the limited resources the district has. We will measure the impact of the trial and evaluate the effectiveness and outcomes of the change.”
Two firefighters will move from Blyn to the Sequim station from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays during the 90- to 120-day trial.
Clallam County Fire District 3 typically has four firefighters on duty in Sequim, two in Carlsborg and two in Blyn.
68 percent of calls
About 7 percent of the district’s calls originate from Blyn, while more than 68 percent come from Sequim, Andrews said.
The idea of the pilot program is to “at least take a look” at a different approach, Andrews said.
“If I could hire more people here in Sequim and leave them out there in Blyn I would,” Andrews said in a telephone interview.
“We would like to add staff at peak hours, but we don’t have any more money to hire any more folks.”
The district stations in Blyn and Sequim are separated by seven miles.
“Obviously the concern for (Blyn residents) is having a longer response time from Sequim,” Andrews said. “The other thing people keep forgetting is we have volunteers out there. That’s not changing. Those people will continue to respond as normal.”
The firefighter/paramedics who staff the Blyn station already backfill in Sequim when things get busy and other medical units are on other calls.
The east county fire district has seen a 164-percent increase in the number of calls it has responded to in the past decade.
Fire District 3 responded to 4,281 calls in 2005 and 7,034 calls last year, according to data provided by Andrews.
For information about Clallam County Fire District 3, see www.clallamfire3.org.
Rob Ollikainen is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.