Northwest NEWS

July 19, 1999

Valley Special

Fire District 45 now staffed 24 hours a day

   On the 4th of July, Duvall-King County Fire District 45 entered into a new era. On that day, the fire district began staffing a 24-hour-a-day fire officer. This provides a qualified fire officer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

   The officer will be teamed with two career firefighters on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The rest of the time, the fire officer will be teamed with two volunteer firefighters to complete a three-person crew. The funding for the additional staffing is the result of the levy lid lift approved by voters last November.

   "We are very proud of this accomplishment, as it will increase the experience level of the first crew responding to alarms, all day-every day," said Chief Bud Backer. "It will provide a safer working environment for our firefighters and the public. Secondly, this allows the first out unit at the main station to comply with the Labor and Industries requirement of having a 'qualified' fire officer assigned to the unit. This was a primary concern as we did not have enough volunteer fire officers to staff all of the shifts."

   Fire District 45 volunteers fill approximately 76 12-hour shifts each month to staff the first out unit from the main station in Duvall. Approximately 23 volunteers take part in the staffing program. They work anywhere from two to seven shifts a month, requiring a huge time commitment on their part.

   Career firefighters Todd Light and Ken Burnside received promotions to the rank of Lieutenant to facilitate this improvement.