Clark County Fire District 3 recently welcomed four full-time and three volunteer resident firefighters to respond to calls by the end of the year. Additional personnel will allow the Fire District to go from four to five crews 24-hours a day and provide more capacity for the agency to respond to emergency calls district-wide.
“Our community needed more people to respond to calls, and we are grateful,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “This is possible due to approval of a fire levy lid lift and voters agreeing to annex Battle Ground to Fire District 3.”
Hiring emergency personnel can take up to a year or more, and COVID-19 has delayed the process. The process includes interviews, exams, physicals, psychological testing, background checks, and training in firefighting and emergency medical service before an individual is able to serve.
The old staffing model for the Fire District was to have a 24-hour crew at Stations 31 (Hockinson, Finn Hill, Brush Prairie), 33 (Battle Ground Lake, Heisson, Lucia Falls), and 35 (City of Battle Ground). A fourth crew split their time between Station 32 (Venersborg) and 35.
The Fire Levy lid lift provided funding for the Fire District to staff Station 32 24-hours day. The annexation guaranteed two crews for Station 35 in the city, which is the busiest for the Fire District.
“We could not have guaranteed these positions under a contract arrangement. Contracts are temporary,” said Chief Sorenson. “City residents are now part of the Fire District so we can invest in long-term plans for emergency services.”
Funds from the Fire Levy lid lift also improved Station 34 (Rawson Road, Elkhorn Mountain, Summer Hills) to accommodate the volunteer resident firefighters. Emergency personnel require sleeping and eating facilities to be able to staff a station 24-hours a day. Response times are longer if volunteers have to come from home to a fire station to get their gear and emergency apparatus needed for a call.
“Good things are happening,” said Chief Sorenson. “We want our taxpayers to know that we’re grateful and appreciate their support to help us save lives and property.”