Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue on the August 6, 2024, primary election ballot

Emergency call volumes for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue have increased 39 percent in the past six years. Sixty-eight percent of those calls are for emergency medical service.

Call volumes and the cost to provide service keep increasing and the fire district is concerned. That’s why it filed paperwork for a fire levy lid lift this year asking voters to return the fire levy to the previously voter-approved rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“Our community consistently says that they want the highest level and quality of emergency services – and they deserve that,” said Chief Jason Christian. “At this point, service levels are not to that standard.”

The $0.16 lid lift would hire up to six firefighter/paramedics over the next six years. This would allow the district to staff two additional stations (Lake Symington and Olympic View) 24 hours a day and reduce response times district-wide.
“Adding capacity reduces response times for all residents,” said Chief Christian.

The fire district wants to improve its training programs for firefighters and paramedics. While the agency provides fire suppression, technical rescue and Advanced Life Support – the highest level of care possible – emergency personnel require constant training to deliver service.

“Advancements in fire and EMS are happening all the time,” said Chief Christian. “We must ensure our people have the most current skills.”

The fire district also plans to replace an ambulance that has reached the end of its usable life and refurbish three fire engines. Refurbishing the fire engines will save taxpayers up to $2 million as opposed to buying new ones.

The fire district is asking voters to return the fire levy from $1.34 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.50, which is the levy rate voters approved in 2019. The $0.16 lid lift would cost the owner of a $500,000 home an additional $6.67 per month or $80 per year.

Find more information at www.ckfr.org. Fire Chief Jason Christian also welcomes your questions at jchristian@ckfr.org and 360-447-3550.