WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — After the August election, Benton County Fire District (BCFD) #4’s EMT levy was approved. They were looking to lift the lid on their levy rate to 50-cents per one thousand dollars.
In the past, Chief Paul Carlyle said if it was successful, they would hire additional crew in order to adjust to the higher call volume. He said they’ve seen the volume increasing every year.
“This year, we are going to supersede last year’s numbers. We’re already on track for that,” explained Chief Carlyle. “As we finish out the year, we expect to see the numbers much higher than last year.”
More firefights to adjust to the call volume increase
“We’re trying to stay ahead of the call volume curve by reaching out, getting this EMS Levy lid lift, which allowed us to hire additional staffing,” explained Chief Carlyle.
He said it was going to allow BCFD #4 to put another 24-hour ambulance into service. The call volumes are increasing around West Richland, the community where BCFD #4 serves. Carlyle explained that the district is seeing a lot of back to back, or simultaneous calls.
This levy lid lift goes into place in January, and they’re starting a recruitment push soon to get those positions staffed. They’re looking to hire three new EMTs cross-trained as firefighters.
“Right now it is pretty hard to recruit people because a lot of agencies are hiring. We’re going to get ahead of this,” said Chief Carlyle.
Carlyle cited community support when it came to getting this levy approved.
“Every time we go out and reach for something they’re always supportive of us, and we’re here for a lot of good feedback from them so we appreciate their support they continuously give us,” he said.
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