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.

Board of Fire Commissioners passes fire levy lid lift resolution

The Board of Fire Commissioners passed a resolution to place a fire levy lid lift on the August 6, 2024, primary election ballot. The lid lift would fund additional firefighters to respond to higher call volumes and replace aging apparatus.
Call volumes have increased by 39 percent in the past six years. Last year, the fire district responded to 11,384 calls – of which 68 percent were for medical emergencies (EMS). Revenue from the district’s current fire levy is not keeping up with higher call volumes and costs to provide service.
Additional firefighters and paramedics are needed to maintain the level and quality of emergency services the community requires. Some emergency apparatus has also reached the end of its usable life and needs to be replaced to ensure service reliability when responding to calls.
If approved by voters, the fire levy lid lift will fund:
• Up to six firefighters over the next six years – allowing the district to staff two additional stations (Lake Symington and Olympic View) 24 hours a day and reduce response times across the district
• Replace an ambulance that has reached the end of its usable life
• Refurbish up to three engines, saving taxpayers up to $2 million as opposed to buying new ones
• Improve firefighter and paramedic training programs
The lid lift would also fund the CARES program to reduce non-emergency calls to 911 and improve service for residents. CARES is a program that helps assist community members with issues before they become emergencies.
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.

Board of Fire Commissioners to meet on fire levy resolution

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners will meet March 25 to discuss a resolution to place a fire levy lid lift on the August 6, 2024, primary election ballot. The community is encouraged to attend the meeting at 4 p.m. at the district’s administrative building, 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road, Suite 101.
Revenue from the fire levy is not keeping up with higher call volumes and costs to provide emergency services. Call volumes have increased by 39 percent in the last six years. In 2023, the fire district responded to over 11,300 calls – and the majority of those calls, 68 percent, were for medical emergencies.
“We require additional personnel to keep up with higher call volumes,” Fire Chief Jason Christian said. “In addition, we need to replace aging apparatus to ensure service reliability when responding to calls.”
If approved by voters, the fire levy lid lift will fund:
• Up to six firefighters over the next six years, allowing the fire district to staff both the Lake Symington and Olympic View stations 24 hours a day and reduce response times districtwide
• Replacement of an aging ambulance and refurbish up to three engines – saving taxpayers money as opposed to buying new ones
• Firefighter and paramedic training
• The CARES program to reduce non-emergency calls to 911 and improve service for residents
The fire district prefers to pay for capital items – such as ambulances – through the regular fire levy instead of borrowing money, which costs taxpayers more in interest payments. The fire levy lid lift would continue this cost-saving measure.
The Board is considering asking voters to return the fire levy from $1.34 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The $0.16 lid lift would cost an additional $6.67 per month or $80 per year for the owner of a $500,000 home.
Find more information about the levy lid lift at www.ckfr.org. Fire Chief Jason Christian also welcomes your questions at jchristian@ckfr.org and 360-447-3550.

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue Adopts 2024 Budget

“We operate under a balanced budget to fund emergency services,” fire chief says

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue adopted its 2024 budget. The fire district operates under a balanced budget and its funding decisions are guided by a strategic plan, which identifies the operational and capital needs to provide fire and EMS to the community.

The strategic plan is approved by the Board of Fire Commissioners who are locally elected to represent the community’s priorities. All board meetings are open to the public and meeting information can be found on the fire district’s website.

“Transparency and accountability are key to maintaining public trust,” Fire Chief Jason Christian said. “We report to you and believe it is critical for our community to understand how we are funded. This is a partnership to save lives and property and we are grateful for the community’s support.”

How we fund emergency services
Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue (CKFR) funds its daily operations through a fire levy capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. In 2019, voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.50. Since then, the levy rate has dropped to $1.34.

“There is a common misconception that revenue for the fire district increases annually by the same amount as assessed property values,” Chief Christian said. “That is not the case.”
State law limits fire districts to a set amount of revenue per year plus a small increase approved by voters. Even if property values double, the fire district can only collect approximately the same amount from the previous year plus that small increase approved by voters.

This is called “levy compression” and impacts the fire district’s ability to provide emergency services.

“Revenue from our current fire levy of $1.34 is not keeping up with higher call volumes and costs to provide service,” Chief Christian said. “We need additional personnel to respond to calls.”

Calls have increased by 39 percent in the last six years. In 2023, the fire district responded to over 11,300 calls – and the majority of those calls, 68 percent, were for medical emergencies.

CKFR is considering asking voters to return the fire levy rate to $1.50 in the August primary election.

The $0.16 lid lift would fund additional emergency personnel to respond to higher call volumes and maintain the level and quality of emergency response the community requires. The fire district also needs to replace apparatus to ensure service reliability when responding to calls.

Stretching tax dollars further
The fire district applies for grants and works with neighboring agencies to share costs. The fire district prefers a “pay as you go” method for capital items – such as apparatus – through the regular fire levy instead of borrowing money, which costs taxpayers more in interest payments.

Additionally, the fire levy funds the CARES program to reduce non-emergency calls to 911 and improve service for residents. CARES is a program that helps assist community members with issues before they become more expensive emergencies.

In addition to operating under a balanced budget, the fire district maintains adequate emergency reserves and has passed all its independent financial and accountability audits. These strong financial practices earned CKFR an AA+ credit rating, which is one of the highest possible ratings.

Freezing Fire

At 11:26 pm last night, CKFR crews were dispatched to a residential structure fire on Olympic View Road.
CKFRs Engine 52 and Medic 51 were first on scene.
All occupants were safely out of the structure.
The extremely cold temperatures made for slippery surfaces and frozen bunker gear.
There were no injuries to residents or firefighters.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. The Kitsap County Fire Marshal is investigating.
Thank you to our mutual aid partners, Bremerton Fire Department and Navy Region Northwest Fire & Emergency Services

Improperly Disposed Fireworks Start Fire

Just before 1:00 am this morning, CKFR crews were dispatched to a residential structure fire in the 7300 block of Morning View Avenue NE.
New Year’s Eve fireworks had been swept up and put into garbage can placed against the house.
The can caught fire and ignited the side of the structure. It was extinguished by the homeowner and responding units.
There were no injuries and the fire damage was contained to the exterior of the home.
Bremerton Fire Department provided mutual aid.

Sandy Lane Fire

Crews responded to a residential structure fire in the 8000 block of Sandy Road NE. All occupants were out of the structure. One has been transported.

Busy Night For CKFR

12:06 AM: Dispatched to a residential structure fire (pictured) in the 10000 block of Brush Arbor Lane NW, Seabeck.
Initial information indicated the occupants, a family of 5 that includes a baby, had evacuated safely.
It appears to have started as a chimney fire that extended into the home, causing fire and smoke damage.
Red Cross was not dispatched as the occupants said they have family in the area.
The County Fire Marshal responded and will investigate the exact cause.
Mutual aid was provided by Navy Region Northwest and Bremerton Fire.

1:42 AM: A commercial structure fire call came in for the Vintage At Silverdale. Crews responded to find that food left in the oven of one of the apartments had burnt badly enough to cause several floors of the tower to become smoky.
Residents had self evacuated. The structure was ventilated and occupants were able to return to their units.
Mutual aid was provided by Navy Region Northwest.

Restaurant Roof Fire

At 10:08 pm last night CKFR and mutual crews (NRNW, PFD, BFD) were dispatched to a Commercial Structure Fire at Target.
En route, information was updated and it was learned that the fire was actually on roof of the strip mall adjacent to Target, above Down East Teriyaki.
Engine 52 was first on scene and confirmed fire on roof. Battalion 51 established command and crews were sent to roof to extinguish the fire and check inside restaurant and adjacent occupancies for fire extension.
The fire was confined to large rooftop HVAC unit and the roof itself. The restaurant did suffer water damage.
The Kitsap County Fire Marshal was called to investigate. PSE and Cascade Natural Gas also assisted.

Trailer Fire

Crews responded to a call for a trailer on fire, in close proximity to a house, this afternoon in the 2800 block of NE Spartacus Street.
The fire was contained to the trailer and there were no injuries.
A County Fire Marshal responded to investigate the cause and the Red Cross was dispatched to assist the individual who lives in the trailer.