Board Passes Resolution Placing EMS Levy Renewal on Ballot

EMS Accounts for 64 Percent of All Emergencies

The Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners voted unanimously to place a levy renewal on the ballot for emergency medical service (EMS). Voters are being asked to renew the EMS levy during the August 3 Primary Election for the same rate and time period they previously approved in 2015.

“EMS is the emergency service our community relies on most,” said Fire Chief John Oliver. “Sixty-four percent of our emergency calls are for this service, and that number is increasing.”

In 2020, EMS accounted for 64 percent of all CKFR’s 8,827 emergency calls. The Fire District funds its emergency medical program through a 6-year EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property. Voters last approved the EMS levy in 2015 and it will expire at the end of the year. Since that time, call volumes have increased 24 percent for EMS-related incidents alone. 

The EMS levy funds both Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) care to residents. Basic Life Support (BLS) uses nationally certified Emergency Medical Technicians for non-critical calls, such as first aid, basic CPR, and administering some medications. ALS is the highest level of care available delivered in the field by Paramedics who are nationally certified through 1,800 hours of life-saving training. These medical professionals can start IVs, surgical procedures to clear airways and stop serious bleeding, and provide advanced cardiac life support.

CKFR runs one BLS and three ALS transport units 24-hours a day. This means residents receive the highest level of care possible from the time paramedics arrive on scene and all the way to the hospital. The total cost of the EMS levy for the owner of a $400,000 home (an average for the area) is $200 per year.

More information about the EMS levy renewal can be found on the Fire District’s website at www.ckfr.org. Fire Chief John Oliver also is available to answer questions at (360) 447-3566 or [email protected].

Board to Meet on Resolution Placing EMS Levy Renewal on Ballot

The Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners will meet to consider a resolution placing a levy renewal for emergency medical service (EMS) on the August 3 Primary Election ballot. The request would ask the Central Kitsap community to renew funding for the program at the same rate and time period as was approved in 2015.

The meeting will take place on Monday, April 26, 2021 at 4:00 p.m. Community members are welcome and encouraged to attend virtually. Meeting access information is available on CKFR’s website at www.ckfr.org.

The Fire District funds its emergency medical program through a 6-year EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property. Voters last approved the EMS levy in 2015 and it will expire at the end of the year. Since that time, call volumes have increased 24 percent for EMS-related incidents alone.  In 2020, EMS accounted for 64 percent of all CKFR’s 8,827 emergency calls.

The EMS levy funds both Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Life Support (ALS) care to residents. Basic Life Support (BLS) uses nationally certified Emergency Medical Technicians for non-critical calls, such as first aid, basic CPR, and administering some medications. ALS is the highest level of care available delivered in the field by Paramedics who are nationally certified through 1,800 hours of life-saving training. These medical professionals can start IVs, surgical procedures to clear airways and stop serious bleeding, and advanced cardiac life support.

CKFR runs one BLS and three ALS transport units 24-hours a day. This means residents receive the highest level of care possible when paramedics arrive on scene and all the way to the hospital. The total cost of the EMS levy for the owner of a $400,000 home (an average for the area) is $200 per year for a 24-hour paramedic response.

“It’s a fact that community support through the EMS levy makes saving lives possible,” said Fire Chief John Oliver. “We are grateful that our community sees the value of the program.”

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Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue (CKFR) has provided fire and emergency medical service (EMS) to residents and businesses since 1942. Today, the Fire District is one of the largest emergency providers in the county, responding to over 8,800 emergency calls per year. CKFR operates under a balanced budget, and has passed all its financial and accountability audits with the State of Washington. More information about CKFR is available at www.ckfr.org

Garage Fire

CKFR and the Bremerton Fire Department teamed up for a structure fire once again. This time in the 3000 block of Olympus Drive NE.
Dispatched at 12:22 pm, Bremerton was first on scene and discovered a room and its contents on fire.
It was quickly extinguished and the County Fire Marshal responded to investigate the cause. There were no injuries.

House Fire

CKFR and the Bremerton Fire Department responded to a residential fire in the 2600 block of NE Garinger Street. Upon arrival, firefighters observed smoke coming from the eaves. Homeowners were not present at the time. The fire is extinguished, but the structure suffered significant damage. The County Fire Marshal will investigate the cause.

Vehicle Rollover

CKFR responded to a single vehicle rollover off Perry Ave. The road was closed both directions at Perry and Riddell. The driver was ejected and was transported to be Airlifted. Bremerton Fire also responded and KCSO is investigating the cause. Drivers were asked to avoid the area.

Emergency Medical Service at Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue: An Overview

Most people know that “EMS” refers to emergency medical services provided by a local fire department. However, many don’t realize that their fire agency actually responds to more emergency medical calls than fires, and that there are different levels of care it can provide when doing so.

EMS accounted for 64 percent of all Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s 8,827 emergency calls in 2020. The Fire District funds its emergency medical program through a six-year EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Voters last approved the EMS levy in 2015. Since that time, call volumes have increased 24 percent for EMS-related incidents alone.  The CKFR Board of Fire Commissioners likely will ask the community to renew the EMS levy at the same voter-approved rate before it expires at the end of the year.

There are two levels of care for EMS programs that fire districts can provide. Most offer Basic Life Support (BLS) with emergency medical technicians who have completed 160 hours in first aid, CPR training, and administering some medications. This type of care is primarily for non-critical care cases.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) is the highest level of care available. ALS uses paramedics who have completed 1,800 hours of training and education on life-saving procedures such as starting IV’s, administering medications, surgical procedures to clear airways, treating injuries related to trauma emergencies, pediatric critical care and advanced cardiac life support.  

CKFR provides both BLS and ALS care to residents because of funding from a voter-approved EMS levy. It runs one BLS and three ALS transport units 24-hours a day. The Fire District also takes its EMS program one step further, says Medical Officer Eric Chamberlain, who is also a firefighter/paramedic for the community.

“It’s not just a matter of having trained paramedics,” said Chamberlain. “We’re constantly learning new things and adapting to be progressive in the care we provide and medical equipment we use for savings lives.”

CKFR introduced a mechanical CPR program in 2020. Traditional CPR programs use manual chest compressions, which are labor intensive and require as many as six trained professionals to do. CKFR purchased mechanical devices that are more efficient and provide a better outcome.

The agency also worked with other fire districts to secure a grant to replace four portable ventilators last year. Ventilators are used to mechanically breathe for patients who are struggling to do so on their own. These ventilators are lightweight – only 10 pounds, and allow Paramedics to provide precise and efficient respiratory treatment for patients while in the field.

Chamberlain also is proud of CKFR’s new pediatric critical care program that uses technology to identify correct dosing amounts of medicine for children. In the past, paramedics had to do manual calculations in the field, which delayed care and was stressful for both parents and the providers.

“I’ve lived here my entire life. My whole family lives here. It’s a good feeling to know that we are constantly changing and adapting to new technology that provides our residents with the best EMS care possible,” said Chamberlain.

Bathroom Fan Fire

CKFR was dispatched at 10:47 am to a possible residential structure fire in the 10000 block of Ashley Circle NW. Upon arrival, no smoke or flames were seen and the two story home was evacuated.
On investigation, crews discovered a bathroom fan had caught fire, but there was no extension and no major damage.

Call Volume Recap for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue in 2020

Emergency personnel for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue responded to 8,827 calls for help in 2020, 64 percent (5,644) of which were for emergency medical service (EMS). Total calls dipped slightly compared to 2019 (9,127), but the percentage of EMS calls has stayed the same.

Fire Chief John Oliver says that these statistics are likely due to the pandemic. More people were staying home in the early stages of the mandated “stay at home” orders which meant fewer emergencies. However, the percentage of emergency medical calls held constant due to COVID-19 concerns or responses.

CKFR provides the highest level of emergency medical care for residents. Highly-trained Paramedics offer Advanced Life Support (or “ALS”), which means residents get Emergency Room-like care when they call 911. CKFR Paramedics can perform lifesaving cardiac procedures, surgical airway techniques, and provide intravenous medications to save lives when time is a factor. The Fire District also has portable hospital-grade ventilators in medic units, which have been used to treat patients with respiratory issues associated with COVID-19.

“Our community has invested in an EMS program that provides a 24-hour Paramedic response,” said Chief Oliver. “That’s the highest level of care possible that a fire district can provide from the time we arrive on scene and all the way to a hospital.”

The community’s EMS program is funded through a 6-year levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Voters last renewed the levy in 2015, and it will expire at the end of the year. CKFR likely will ask voters to renew the EMS levy at the same rate sometime this fall.

dryer fire

At 1:00 pm, a call came in for a fire in the Griffin Glen Apartments in Bremerton. On arrival, crews noticed smoke coming from building 5117. The fire was located and contained in a dryer in one of the apartments. Two occupants were treated and released on scene. The apartment is uninhabitable and Red Cross was called to assist the occupants. The County Fire Marshal was also dispatched.

Vehicle Into Building

A traffic collision on Riddell this morning caused one car to careen off the road and land partially into the side of a self-storage office. CKFR crews extricated the driver and transported them to St. Michael’s Medical Center in Silverdale. The County Fire Marshal was dispatched to determine the structural stability of the building and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the collision. The other driver involved was not transported.