Public Invited as Board Meets on Bond Resolution for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue will meet to discuss a resolution asking voters to consider a bond to fund station-improvement projects. If the resolution is approved, voters would see the measure on the August 4 Primary Election ballot.

The meeting will take place on Monday, March 23 at 4:00 pm at 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road in Silverdale (98383). The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Individuals who are unable to attend, but would still like to provide public comment, are encouraged to contact Chief John Oliver at joliver@ckfr.org, or by letter at the above address. All comments are welcome and become part of the public record.

The District spent two years assessing its fire stations through a comprehensive Capital Facilities Plan. The plan identified needed facility improvements for community safety and to provide a healthier work environment for firefighters.

For example, many stations are nearly 60 years old, and none are up to current seismic standards. Engineers have identified several that would be in danger of collapsing even with a small earthquake. This could jeopardize the District’s ability to respond to emergency calls during such an event. Several stations also are located significant distances away from populated areas, which increases response times. 

The stations lack effective exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas that reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens and infectious diseases. Many stations also are not equipped with modern fire and life safety systems such as security cameras, commercial fire alarms and sprinklers. Some have been subjected to break ins.

Apparatus is a significant investment for taxpayers with a basic fire engine starting at approximately $500,000. Many stations are too small to shelter modern apparatus, which leaves it exposed to weather and reduces its lifespan.

Capital facilities are too expensive to fund through the District’s regular operating levies without cutting service levels. The facilities bond would be 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Even with the bond, the average homeowner would still see a net decrease of $24 per year in the taxes they pay to the District compared to what they paid in 2019.

The decrease is possible because an excess levy has expired and an old bond for apparatus will be paid off before the new bond would take effect in 2021. The District planned a possible bond request to coincide with the retirement of the other funding measures to reduce impacts to taxpayers.

More information about the bond proposal, including a copy of the Capital Facilities Plan, can be found on the District’s website at www.ckfr.org. Chief John Oliver also welcomes questions at (360) 447-3566 or joliver@ckfr.org.

Occupants Safe After Fire

At approximately 11:12 am today, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue received a call of a possible residential structure fire in the 18000 block of NW Stavis Bay Road.  The occupants told 911 that there was black smoke coming from the attic. Engine 56 was first on scene and the crew confirmed it was an active fire and upgraded the call to a 2nd Alarm.  The structure was a medium sized, single family home and all occupants and a dog were outside and safe.

The fire was contained to the attic and extinguished, but there was heavy smoke and water damage throughout the home. The Kitsap County Fire Marshal was dispatched to investigate the cause.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Shares Station Challenges

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue passed a Capital Facilities Plan last year that outlined how it would consolidate and improve nine fire stations. The purpose of these projects is to improve community safety and create a healthier work environment for firefighters.

Capital facilities are too expensive to fund through the District’s regular operating levies. The Board of Fire Commissioners is considering asking voters to approve a bond to fund these projects. The bond is projected to be 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. At this amount, the average homeowner would see a net decrease of $24 per year in the taxes they pay to the District compared to what they paid in 2019. This is because an excess levy has expired and an old bond for apparatus will be paid off before the new bond would take effect in 2021.

Fire Chief John Oliver says that this is an opportunity to meet the District’s capital facility needs for 50 years while reducing impacts to taxpayers. Chief Oliver is planning tours of the existing facilities for interested community members later in the year. In the meantime, he wanted to profile some of the more challenging station issues.

Seismic Issues:
The fact is that all of the District’s stations are not up to current seismic standards and are in danger of collapsing in the event of an earthquake. This would hamper the District’s efforts to reach people during an emergency.

Location:
Stations 52 (Olympic View), 54 (Hintzville) and 55 (Lake Tahuyeh) are located in areas away from population centers. This delays response times for emergency calls.

The bond would replace Station 52 with a new facility at Anderson Hill and Olympic View. It also would combine stations 54 and 55 into one facility at Coho Way and Seabeck Holly (Station 57) to better serve the Lake Symington area.

“Some of our stations were donated or built before we knew where our population centers would be,” said Chief Oliver. “We have the chance to fix that now.”

Firefighter Health & Safety:
Cancer is a leading cause of death for firefighters. Some of the District’s 60-year old stations lack effective diesel exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas to reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens and infectious diseases.

Captain Brock Shaffer took time to share information about Station 51 (Silverdale). This is one of the busiest stations for the District.

“The asphalt in the parking lot is falling apart. The roof leaks and the main sewer drain backs up. That’s inconvenient, but there’s more,” said Captain Shaffer. “We have a problem with diesel exhaust in the laundry room. We use that room to decontaminate our gear after fire exposure. We have vents to circulate air around the gear, but diesel fumes come in from other parts of the station as rigs are dispatched.”

Security is also a concern. Station 55 (Lake Tahuyeh) is in a remote location and has been subjected to several break ins. Many of the District’s stations lack proper security systems to protect the facilities and personnel who use them.

Apparatus:
The size of emergency apparatus has increased since most of the District’s stations were built 60 years ago. Most of the current facilities cannot shelter modern fire engines, water tenders or ambulances, which represent a significant investment for taxpayers. This leaves them exposed to weather and reduces their usable life.

Next Steps:
More information on the proposed bond can be found on the District’s website at www.ckfr.org. The Board of Fire Commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 23, 2020 to take community input on the idea of a facilities bond. The meeting will take place at 4:30 pm at 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road in Silverdale (98383). Chief John Oliver also welcomes questions at joliver@ckfr.org or (360) 447-3566. If the Board decides to place a bond on the ballot, voters would see the proposal on their August Primary Election ballot.

Eleven Firefighters for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Community

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue welcomed 11 new firefighters in 2020. The new hires were in response to increasing call volumes and retirements.  The positions are funded out of the District’s operating levy paid through property taxes.

CKFR funds daily emergency operations through two operating levies. One is a Fire Levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The other is a levy for emergency medical service (EMS) at $0.50 per $1,000. A small portion of revenue also is raised by reimbursed costs for ambulance transports.

At times, the District may ask voters for temporary funding through a Maintenance and Operations Levy. Voters approved an M&O Levy during the last recession that expired in 2019 as the economy improved.

Capital items – like stations, fire engines and ambulances – are funded through bonds. Currently, the District has a bond for apparatus that will be paid off at the end of 2020. CKFR is considering asking voters to approve a bond to improve its facilities that would take effect after the old apparatus bond retires. Fire Chief John Oliver says that the timing on this is strategic and deliberate in consideration of the tax impacts to citizens. 

“We can address our facility needs for the next 50 years while reducing impacts to taxpayers,” said Chief John Oliver. “This is a rare opportunity, which is why we’re having this conversation with our community now.”

For example, none of CKFR’s fire stations are up to current seismic standards. Engineers have identified several that would be in danger of collapsing even with a small earthquake. This could jeopardize the ability of personnel to respond to emergency calls during such an event. Several stations also are located significant distances away from populated areas, which increases emergency response times. 

Improving firefighter health and safety also is an issue. Cancer is a leading cause of death for emergency personnel. The current stations lack effective exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas that reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens and infectious diseases. Many stations also are not equipped with modern fire and life safety systems such as security cameras, commercial fire alarms and sprinklers. 

The Board of Fire Commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 23, 2020 to take community input on the idea of a facilities bond. If the Board decides to place a bond on the ballot and voters approve it, taxpayers would see a net decrease in taxes they pay to the District in 2021 compared to 2019. This is because the M&O Levy expired and the apparatus bond will be paid off.

The District has developed a Capital Facilities Plan that identifies station projects to improve community safety and create a healthier work environment for firefighters. CKFR spent two years developing the Plan, a copy of which is available on the agency’s website at www.ckfr.org.

“We want our community to know how emergency services are funded,” said Chief Oliver. “We have given this careful thought and planning.”

Bathroom Fire

Shortly before 9:00 am this morning, crews responded to a possible residential structure fire. The caller reported smoke coming from her bathroom fan. All occupants and pets were out of the house. There was a small fire contained to the bathroom and the direct attic space above it. The County Fire Marshal was called to investigate. CKFR, Bremerton Fire, and Navy Region NW responded.

CKFR planning for fire station needs – Opinion, Kitsap Sun

I’m a firefighter with Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue. I want to encourage our residents to learn more about the plan to improve our community’s fire stations. These projects are designed to reduce response times and provide a healthier work environment for our firefighters.

Our part of the county has grown rapidly. Many of our old fire stations are not located near population centers. This means it can take longer to reach you when you have an emergency.

Our fire stations also have safety issues. None are up to current seismic standards and most would collapse in an earthquake. Many lack effective diesel exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas to reduce firefighter exposure to cancer-causing materials and infectious diseases.

The District is considering asking voters to approve a bond to fund facility improvements in 2020. The net cost in taxes to property owners would be less than they paid the District in 2019. I hope you’ll take time to learn more about the measure by visiting our website (www.ckfr.org/bond-proposal/) or attending a public meeting this spring.

Lt. Kara Putnam, Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue

Truck Fire Shuts Down Road

Crews responded to a truck on fire at Anderson Hill and Seabeck Highway at approximately 12:55 pm on December 20th. The driver was not injured, but there was heavy fire damage to the truck and the phone/cable lines overhead. Traffic was shut down temporarily on Anderson Hill

Suspicious Brush Fire

A brush fire behind the AM/PM on 303 was extinguished this afternoon. It was possibly started with a trash pile being lit on fire. The County Fire Marshal will investigate

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Passes Capital Facilities Plan

Silverdale, Wash. – The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan at its meeting on November 12. The Plan identifies consolidating and improving nine fire stations to enhance community safety and create a healthier work environment for firefighters.

Many stations are nearly 60 years old, and none are up to current seismic standards. Engineers have identified several that would be in danger of collapsing even with a small earthquake. This could jeopardize the ability of personnel to respond to emergency calls during such an event. Several stations also are located significant distances away from populated areas, which increases emergency response times.  

Improving firefighter health and safety also is an issue. Cancer is a leading cause of death for emergency personnel. The current stations lack effective exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas that reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens and infectious diseases. Many stations also are not equipped with modern fire and life safety systems such as security cameras, commercial fire alarms and sprinklers.

The cost to complete the projects would exceed the fire district’s operating levies. As a result, community members may be asked to consider a bond sometime in 2020. There will be a public process to decide, but Fire Chief John Oliver says the time is right to make this request.

“The cost of the projects has been set at an amount where property owners would actually see a net decrease in taxes compared to what they are paying to the District in 2019,” he said.

The decrease is because a Maintenance and Operations levy is expiring and the fire district is paying off an old bond for apparatus. CKFR also identified savings on some projects to lower the total cost of the Plan. If the fire district decides to ask voters to approve a bond, the projected rate would be $0.32 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is $0.02 less per $1,000 than property owners have been paying with the M&O levy and old bond.

CKFR spent two years reviewing its fire stations, and developing its Capital Facilities Plan. The fire district plans to hold community meetings after the first of the year to take input on the idea of bonding for the facilities. A copy of the Capital Facilities Plan, including a full list of station projects, is available on the CKFR website at www.ckfr.org. Fire Chief John Oliver also welcomes questions at joliver@ckfr.org or (360) 447-3566.