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Board of Fire Commissioners Passes Resolution for Facilities Bond

Measure on the August 2 Primary Election Ballot

 [Gig Harbor, Wash.] –  The Board of Fire Commissioners for Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One (GHFMO) unanimously passed a resolution to place a facilities bond on the August 2, 2022 Primary Election ballot. The purpose of the facility improvements is to improve community safety, and improve the health and safety of emergency personnel.

Stations 53 (Fox Island), 57 (Crescent Valley), 58 (Swede Hill), and 59 (Artondale) are scheduled for improvements. Some stations do not meet ADA requirements, or current seismic standards. They also lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a diverse work force.

“Call volumes have increased to the point where we need more space for personnel. The Gig Harbor community has grown that much,” said Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “Adding space for current and future staffing will improve our ability to respond district-wide to emergencies.”

The Fire District recently completed a Standards of Cover report that identifies staffing needs based on the quantity and location of emergency calls. The Gig Harbor community has grown by more than 16% since 2010. Call volumes have increased 37% in the same time period.

Just as important for GHFMO is providing a healthier work environment for emergency personnel. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some of stations lack decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and smoke from firefighting gear. There is also a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment used at EMS calls.

“I may be a fire chief now, but I was a firefighter for most of my professional career. I’ve lost colleagues to work-related illnesses,” said Chief Doan. “We know so much more now about preventing this loss of life compared to when I started. I feel so strongly about this issue. I hope the community will recognize the importance of providing a safer work environment for the women and men who serve our community.”

Other bond projects include building a facility for regular live fire trainings. Currently, firefighters may only train on live fire once every three years and must leave the area to perfect these life and property-saving skills. The training facility would be constructed on land owned by the Fire District adjacent to Station 58 (Swede Hill).

“When you call 911 for a fire? It’s ‘go time’ for you and our people,” said Chief Doan. “We want our firefighters to have as much live fire training as possible. It’s not something you can simulate with a computer program.”

Station 51 in Gig Harbor is also slated for replacement. It’s the Fire District’s busiest station, and requires replacement to continue serving the heaviest call volume, including additional personnel and modern emergency apparatus that won’t fit into the current bays.

The bond would last for 20-years and is projected to cost $9.90 per month for the owner of a $500,000 home. The assessed value of a home is less than its market value. Interest rates are still low, and the financial health of the Fire District helps ensure a favorable finance rate.

The Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan in December of 2021 to identify needed facility improvements, and apparatus and equipment purchases. The Fire District recognized that it could not fund all items at the same time, and prioritized the project list.

More information on the facilities bond can be found at www.gigharborfire.org/about/bond. Fire Chief Dennis Doan also welcomes your questions at DDoan@gigharborfire.org.

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Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 5 (known as Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One) provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. The Fire District responded to a high of 6,685 calls in 2019. Emergency medical service accounts for 78% of all calls. Through community support, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Pierce County with highly-trained personnel and rescue programs.

Board of Fire Commissioners to Meet on Facilities Bond Resolution

Public Invited to Learn More and Provide Comment

 [Gig Harbor, Wash.] –  The Board of Fire Commissioners for Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One (GHFMO) will meet to discuss a resolution to place a facilities bond on the August 2, 2022 Primary Election ballot. There will be two meetings where the proposal is discussed, and the community is welcome and encouraged to attend the virtual meetings.

The meetings will be held at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 and Tuesday, April 12. Meetings are held via Zoom and accessed using a link on the District website www.gigharborfire.org. Community members unable to attend are encouraged to send input to Fire Chief Dennis Doan at DDoan@gigharborfire.org. All comments become part of the official record.

The Gig Harbor community has grown by more than 16% since 2010. Call volumes have increased 37% in the same time period. Emergency medical service accounts for 78% of all calls.

The Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan in December of 2021. Priority projects for the bond include building a training facility, and renovating or replacing fire stations.

The Fire District has no facility for regular live fire trainings. This means firefighters may only train on live fire once every three years and must leave the area to perfect these life and property-saving skills. The training facility would be constructed on land owned by the Fire District adjacent to Station 50 (Swede Hill).

Stations 53 (Fox Island), 57 (Crescent Valley), 58 (Swede Hill), and 59 (Artondale) are scheduled for improvements. Some stations do not meet ADA requirements, or current seismic standards. They also lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a diverse work force.

Just as important for GHFMO is providing a healthier work environment for emergency personnel. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some of stations lack decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and smoke from firefighting gear. There is also a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment used at EMS calls.

Station 51 in Gig Harbor is the Fire District’s busiest station. The Capital Facilities Plan calls for replacing the current station at the same location to accommodate additional personnel and modern emergency apparatus.

The bond would last for 20-years and is projected to cost $9.90 per month for the owner of a $500,000 home. Interest rates are still low, and the financial health of the Fire District helps ensure a favorable finance rate.

“It’s an exciting time for our community and Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One,” said Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “Our community has grown to the point it requires a modern emergency response. We’re putting plans in motion to deliver the level of service our community requires.”

More information on the facilities bond can be found at www.gigharborfire.org/about/bond.

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Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 5 (known as Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One) provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. The Fire District responded to a high of 6,685 calls in 2019. Through community support, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Pierce County with highly-trained personnel and rescue programs.

Call volumes continue to climb for Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One

EMS calls jump 8% in one year

[Gig Harbor, Wash.] – Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One shared 2021 call volumes for the Fire District that provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. Emergency medical service (EMS) calls in 2021 were up 8% compared to the year before (4,578 to 4,945). Emergency calls in general increased 3% over last year (from 6,136 to 6,316).

“We are making improvements in how we provide service to meet this demand,” said Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “I’m incredibly proud of the dedicated emergency personnel, who are rising to the challenge.”

The Fire District recently completed a Standards of Cover Report, which identifies staffing needs for the community. Emergency personnel is funded out of the agency’s operating levies, which are capped at $1.50 for fire suppression and $0.50 for EMS. (Amounts listed are per $1,000 of assessed property value.)

EMS accounts for 78% of all emergency calls, and the lid lift that maintains funding for the program will expire at the end of 2022. GHFMO anticipates asking the community to renew it at the same rate previously approved by voters. That ballot measure is likely to be on the November 2022 General Election ballot.

Another issue the agency is trying to address involves its outdated facilities. The Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan in December of 2021. The project list is long and the Fire District realizes it can’t do everything at once.

“Adequate facilities are important to the delivery of emergency services, and this plan has been needed for a long time,” said Chief Doan. “These projects will improve the health and safety of our community and its firefighters.”

Priority projects include building a training facility, replacing one station and renovating two to four others depending on the cost. Capital projects are too expensive to fund out of the Fire District’s operating levies without significantly cutting emergency service levels. The Fire District is discussing the potential for a bond request on the August Primary Election ballot.

The discussion is timely considering January is Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some of GHFMO’s stations lack appropriate decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and smoke from firefighting gear. There also is a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment after EMS calls.

“I feel strongly about providing a healthy and safe working environment for the women and men who put their lives on the line every day for our community,” said Chief Doan. “I hope our community feels the same and sees this as a top priority for facility improvements.”

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Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 5 (known as Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One) provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. The Fire District responded to a high of 6,685 calls in 2019. Calls for emergency responses have increased 42% since 2011. Through community support, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Pierce County with highly-trained personnel and rescue programs.

Gig Harbor Fire Board Adopts Capital Facilities Plan

Funding Measures Considered for 2022

[Gig Harbor, Wash.] – The Board of Fire Commissioners for Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) at its December 14, 2021 meeting. The CFP identifies projects, such as stations, apparatus and equipment, that need completing to improve emergency services for the Gig Harbor community.

Priority projects include building a training facility, replacing one station and renovating two others. The projects, driven by the need to improve public safety and firefighter health and safety, would require bond funding to complete.

Daily operations at Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One are funded by two levies for fire and emergency medical service. Capital needs are usually funded by voter-approved bonds.

“Saving lives and property comes down to three things: firefighters, facilities and apparatus. Some of our facilities don’t support the level of emergency response that our community requires,” said Chief Doan.

For example, the Fire District has no facility for regular live fire trainings. This means firefighters may only train on live fire once every three years and must leave the area to perfect these life and property-saving skills.  A training facility would provide a higher level of services for residents.

Replacing Station 51 in Gig Harbor, and renovating Stations 58 (Swede Hill) and 59 (Artondale) also made the list. The stations do not meet ADA requirements, or current seismic standards. The stations lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a more diverse work force.

Firefighter health and safety is also a concern. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. The stations lack appropriate decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and smoke from firefighting gear. There also is a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment after emergency medical service calls.

“We have an obligation to provide our firefighters with as safe a working environment as possible,” said Chief Doan. “We can, and must do better.”

The Gig Harbor community has grown by more than 16% since 2010. Call volumes have increased 50% in the same time period. Fire Chief Dennis Doan says that the fire district has needed to assess its facilities and coverage for some time now.

The Board of Fire Commissioners is considering placing two funding requests on the ballot in 2022. The bond for facility improvements is projected to be $0.24 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $120 per year ($10 per month) for the owner of a $500,000 home.

The agency also needs to renew its levy for emergency medical service by the end of the year. EMS accounts for 78% of all emergency calls for the agency. Voters will be asked to renew that at the same previously-approved rate of $0.50 per $1,000. The EMS levy provides a 24-hour Paramedic response, and ambulance transport service for Gig Harbor residents.

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Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 5 (known as Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One) provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. The Fire District responded to a high of 6,685 calls in 2020 – a 33.4% increase compared to 10 years ago. Through community support, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Pierce County with highly-trained personnel and rescue programs.

The public is encouraged to attend the upcoming Capital Facilities Plan Meetings. These virtual meetings can be accessed through our website at: www.gigharborfire.org/commissioners-meetings.

Community members who are unable to attend are encouraged to send comments via email to:
Fire Chief Dennis Doan
ddoan@gigharborfire.org

Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One to Introduce Draft Capital Facilities Plan

Public invited to learn more and comment

[Gig Harbor, Wash.] – Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One will introduce its draft Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) to the community at two upcoming meetings. The CFP identifies capital projects, such as stations, apparatus and equipment, that need completing to improve emergency services for the Gig Harbor community.

The draft CFP will be presented during the Board of Fire Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 5 p.m. The Board will meet to adopt the plan with changes on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 5 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend these meetings to learn more.

The virtual meetings can be accessed through the Fire District’s website at www.gigharborfire.org/commissioners-meetings. Community members who are unable to attend are encouraged to send comments to Fire Chief Dennis Doan at DDoan@gigharborfire.org.

The Gig Harbor community has grown by more than 16% since 2010. Call volumes have increased 50% in the same time period.

“Planning for emergency services is a critical part of what we do,” said Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “This plan has identified two key areas in need of improvement: public safety and firefighter health and safety.”

Many of the Fire District’s stations are more than 30 years old, and do not meet current ADA or seismic standards.  The structures lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a diverse work force. The inability to adequately staff these stations can make response times longer to 911 calls.

The Fire District also has no facility for regular live fire trainings. This means firefighters may only train on live fire once every three years and must leave the area to perfect these life and property-saving skills.

“This is a real concern for public safety,” said Fire Chief Doan. “We don’t want the first time a firefighter fights fire to be on your home. These are skills that need to be regularly practiced and perfected to improve the outcome for our community.”

Firefighter health and safety is also an issue. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some stations lack decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and smoke from firefighting gear, which are known carcinogens. Adding specialized areas also means emergency personnel can decontaminate medical equipment after emergency medical service calls. 

Daily operations at Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One are funded by two levies for fire and emergency medical service. Capital needs (such as stations, apparatus and some equipment) are usually funded by voter-approved bonds, which some of these projects will require.

“Saving lives and property depends on three things equally,” said Fire Chief Doan. “Adequate facilities, modern apparatus and equipment, and enough emergency personnel to respond. The CFP is a blueprint to show what we need to do for the first two. We will address staffing issues in a Standards of Cover report in the near future, as well.”

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Pierce County Fire Protection District No. 5 (known as Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One) provides fire and life safety services to 53,000 people over 54 square miles. The Fire District responded to a high of 6,685 calls in 2019 – a 50% increase compared to 10 years ago. Through community support, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Pierce County with highly-trained personnel and rescue programs.

Please be aware Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One does not allow residential yard debris burning from June 16 thru October 14, more information about the allowable burn period can be found by clicking here.

The county-wide fire safety burn ban for unincorporated Pierce County will be lifted at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 21. This decision was made due to recent rains, the forecast of continued precipitation and moderate temperatures.

Lifting the ban does not affect those areas in Pierce County where burning is prohibited because of environmental or pollution laws, nor in areas where the local fire district limits or prohibits burning. Burning in those areas is still not allowed.

Burning is restricted to natural vegetation from the burn site only. The burning of garbage, paper or other refuse is strictly prohibited at all times. Contact your local fire department to see if you are required to obtain a burning permit.

For more information on outdoor burning, click here.

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®)—the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years—to promote this year’s Fire Prevention WeekTM campaign, “Learn the Sounds of Fire SafetyTM.” This year’s campaign, October 3-9th,  works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.  

“What do the sounds mean? Is there a beep or a chirp coming out of your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm? Knowing the difference can save you, your home, and your family,” said Lorraine Carli, vice-president of outreach and advocacy at NFPA.

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One encourages all residents to embrace the 2021 Fire Prevention Week theme.

Learn the Sounds!

  • A continuous set of three loud beeps—beep, beep, beep—means smoke or fire. Get out, call 9-1-1, and stay out.
  • A single chirp every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery is low and must be changed.
  • All smoke alarms must be replaced after 10 years.
  • Chirping that continues after the battery has been replaced means the alarm is at the end of its life and the unit must be replaced.
  • Make sure your smoke and CO alarms meet the needs of all your family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.  Making sure there are two ways out of every room is essential for fire escape planning.  We encourage all residents to create and escape plan.  Taking just 15 minutes to complete the task could save your life.

Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One has engaged the services of Dynamix Consulting Group, a consulting firm specializing in assisting local governments and public safety agencies, to facilitate Community Risk Assessment: Standards of Cover. This involves assessing the fire department’s current staffing, organization, and delivery of services, as well as identifying existing strengths, weaknesses, and costs in these areas. Ultimately, Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One will be presented with potential options, recommendations, and implementation strategies for structural and procedural improvements in these areas.

Community input is a critical component of evaluating the services provided by the fire department. Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One is encouraging all residents and business owners to provide their opinions on the services offered by the fire department. All individual responses will be held in strict confidence, characterized only as part of the global feedback.

This survey is now closed.

Please join us on Saturday, September 11, 2021, as we honor the lives lost 20 years ago during the 9/11 Terrorist Attack on America.  Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One will be hosting a public ceremony in the 911 Memorial Garden at Station 50 (10222 Bujacich Rd. NW) at 9:00 am. that morning.

From a historical perspective, the “911 Memorial Garden” provides an opportunity in Gig Harbor to pay tribute to those who died on 9/11, to the acts of bravery that brought us together as a nation, and to those who put themselves in harm’s way in the service of others. The treasured piece of steel salvaged from one of the World Trade Center’s twin towers now has a permanent home, not just in landscape, but in the hearts of our community as well.

The Red Flag Event has been lifted.  The Pierce County Fire Marshal is allowing recreational burning again, more information can be found at this link: https://www.piercecountywa.org/982/Outdoor-Burning  or by visiting our website: https://www.gigharborfire.org/education-and-events/services-offered/burn-permits/

Please be aware that the fire safety burn ban that went into effect on June 25, 2021 is still active.

This burn ban applies to all land clearing and yard debris outdoor burning.  This ban does not apply to small recreational fires in established fire pits at approved campgrounds or private property with the owner’s permission.  The use of gas and propane self-contained stoves and barbecues is allowed under the ban.

Recreational fires must: 

  • Be built in a metal or concrete fire pit, such as those typically found in designated campgrounds; and not used as debris disposal.
  • Grow no larger than three feet in diameter.
  • Be in a clear spot free from any vegetation for at least 10 feet in a horizontal direction, including at least 25 feet away from any structure and allow 20-foot vertical clearance from overhanging branches.
  • Be attended at all times by an alert individual and equipment capable of extinguishing the fire like hand tools and a garden hose attached to a water faucet that is on, or not less than two five-gallon buckets of water.
  • No burning when winds exceed 5 mph.

ALL outdoor burning including recreational and cooking fires (except a gas grill) during this Red Flag event is prohibited until the Red Flag event is over as determined by the National Weather Service.  More information can be found by clicking here.

 

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One facilities have been closed to the public for non-essential business since early in the COVID-19 pandemic. This was done out of an abundance of caution for our citizens, visitors and employees.  Based on current guidance from local and State health authorities, we believe it is safe to re-open our facilities to non-essential business.

Our 24hr Staffed Fire Stations (see list below) will be open for walk-up EMERGENCY requests:

  • Station 51 – 6711 Kimball Dr.
  • Station 52 – 2217 Pt. Fosdick Dr NW
  • Station 56 – 5210 144th ST NW
  • Station 58 – 10302 Bujacich Rd NW
  • Station 59 – 3828 62nd Ave Ct NW

NOTE: Response crews may be out of the fire station for alarms or department business. It is ALWAYS better to call 911 from your current location instead of driving to one of our station locations.

Our headquarters facility located at 10222 Bujacich Rd NW is open Monday-Friday from 8AM to 5PM, excluding Holidays. This facility will be open for general business inquiries, deliveries, and address sign pick-up.

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One facilities are currently unable to accommodate non-emergent blood pressure checks, bicycle helmet fittings or public education classes (CPR, BLS-Healthcare Provider, Safe Sitter, etc.). These programs will be re-evaluated at a later date or as health and safety guidance changes. 

Based on current health guidance, if you are experiencing symptoms of an illness please refrain from coming to our facilities for non-essential business.  We also ask that visitors follow all current local, state and federal masking requirements.

Sincerely,

Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One

A fire safety burn ban went into effect for our service area at 8 a.m. on June 25, 2021, until further notice (This does not effect recreational fires).  More information can be found by clicking here.

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