In December of 2015, the City of Battle Ground entered into a contract with Clark County Fire District 3 to provide fire and emergency services within the city beginning January 1st of this year. The City of Battle Ground does not employ fire and emergency services personnel, but rather contracts with a professional fire agency to provide services within the city limits. While the city owns the Battle Ground Fire Station and the two fire engines in service there, it is Fire District 3 personnel who operate the station and the apparatus in order to respond to calls within the city.
The contract is new to the city and Fire District 3. Prior to this year, the city had contracted with another agency, Clark County Fire & Rescue (CCFR). At the 6-month mark of this new contract, a review of Fire District 3’s performance indicates the new partnership is not only meeting but exceeding expectations.
Clark County Fire District 3 serves an area bordering the City of Battle Ground that encompasses 80 square miles and includes 4 fire stations. The contract with the city adds an additional 7 square miles of service area, one fire station and apparatus owned by the city.
To meet the demands of the additional service area, Fire District 3 hired 13 new personnel using funding from their contract with the city. Seven of the new hires were laterals from CCFR, the contractor who had previously served the city. The new hires included 5 Firefighter/Paramedic positions, providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) out of the city’s station.
Fire District 3 provides 24/7 staffing at the Battle Ground station with a crew on-site 24 hours per day, and a second 12-hour per day crew that serves during peak call times. A Battalion Chief is assigned to be on-duty or on call at all times in the city. When necessary, Fire District 3 provides personnel and resources from their district outside the city to back up personnel responding from the Battle Ground station.
Since January 1st, Fire District 3 has responded to 1,003 emergency calls within the City of Battle Ground with an average response time of 4 minutes and 11 seconds.
To complement the two city-owned fire engines at the Battle Ground station, Fire District 3 has provided one Rescue and one Squad vehicle. The Rescue is an SUV that responds first-out on emergency medical response calls. The Squad, used in response to emergency medical calls and small fires, is a Ford F350 4x4 with water and fire pump, EMS equipment and other specialized equipment. Utilizing these smaller, yet fully equipped vehicles for medical calls reduces response times and improves the safety to the community by using lighter weight vehicles that can maneuver safely through city traffic and streets. It has also increased efficiencies by reducing the cost of using the larger, more expensive fire engines. Since January 1 there has been a dramatic reduction in use of and wear and tear on the city-owned fire engines, extending the service life of these apparatus and thereby protecting city taxpayers’ investment.
With funding from the city contract, Fire District 3 purchased additional tools and equipment necessary to their purpose of protecting life, property and the environment. Items include Edraulic Hurst Tools (Jaws of Life), new hose, fire nozzles and a complement of required tools to fully outfit the city-owned fire engines. They worked collaboratively with the previous contracted agency, CCFR, to purchase existing agency-owned equipment such as breathing apparatus.
Shortly after Fire District 3 moved in to the Battle Ground fire station, they chose to make several aesthetic improvements. The newly painted walls, the scrubbed bay, replaced carpets, and the flowers planted in pots in the front of the station demonstrates the district’s culture of pride, professionalism and respect for the public’s investment.
“The professionalism of Fire District 3 and their commitment to serve the City of Battle Ground is evident in everything they do”, said Battle Ground City Manager Jeff Swanson, “In the first 6 months of their service to the city we are seeing excellent emergency response times and the city’s resources being used more efficiently and effectively.”
Mr. Swanson added that Fire District 3 has developed excellent working relationships with the city, the police department and all departments of the city. Fire District 3 Chief Steve Wrightson meets and plans with city officials on a regular basis. He and Assistant Chief Scott Sorenson invest a minimum of 32 hours each week at the Battle Ground station.
Fire District 3 is building relationships with the Battle Ground community as well. They recently hosted the Harvest Days Pancake Breakfast to benefit a family in need and will be participating in an upcoming National Night Out event. The FLAME (Firefighter Lunch and Mentorship Experience) Program, initiated by CCFR, where firefighters meet with students to develop relationships and encourage them to keep working hard has continued with Fire District 3 personnel.
“Our goal is to make at least one new relationship each day”, explained Fire Chief Steve Wrightson, “The city and the community has welcomed us; our personnel are highly motivated to provide excellent service to City of Battle Ground and to the larger community.”
To learn more about contracted Fire and Emergency Services in the City of Battle Ground select the Fire-EMS link below or contact the City of Battle Ground at 360-342-5004.