District Continues to Ask County Council for Impact Fees to Manage New Growth
BRUSH PRAIRIE, WASH.— Call volumes increased 12.6% for Clark County Fire District 3 from 4,155 in 2020 to 4,713 in 2021. Emergency medical service accounted for almost 77.2% of all calls received, or 3,637 calls last year.
Call volumes are highest during daylight hours. The top five reasons for emergency calls in 2021 are slips and falls (554), a sick person (475), breathing problems (398), motor vehicle accidents (319), and an unconscious person (278). Fire responses for structures, vehicles, electrical systems, and out-of-control burn piles accounted for 167 calls.
“It takes significantly more resources to respond to a fire than it does to help someone off the floor,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “Fire can do a significant amount of damage quickly, which is why we have multiple units that respond in an emergency.”
Call types are still influenced by the pandemic. For example, more people are getting out in the community as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. However, there were increases in EMS calls for illness and respiratory problems brought on by the virus. The Fire District has responded to almost 400 known COVID-19 cases in 2020 and 2021.
Station 35 in the city limits of Battle Ground is Fire District 3’s busiest station accounting for 59.8% of all emergency responses. Station 31 in Brush Prairie comes in second at 897 calls, or just over 19%.
Back-to-back calls are increasing for the Fire District, as well. These are calls that come in at the same time requiring a fire district to have multiple units available to respond if one is already dispatched. Fire District 3 credits their ability to respond to multiple calls because of community support for emergency services.
“People understand that growth is driving this need for increasing capacity on our system,” said Chief Sorenson. “One way to get ahead of this is to make sure that new development pays its fair share. We have asked the County to pass impact fees like the city of Battle Ground has. So far, no luck, and fire districts in Clark County will ask again.”
Chief Sorenson says that Fire District 3 is not planning to ask for a tax increase in 2022. With inflation at 7%, some families may be struggling. However, a fire levy lid lift is likely in the next few years as well as a possible bond measure for a new station.
“Impact fees would reduce the amount of a funding we need to ask from taxpayers,” said Chief Sorensen. “This small assessment on new development compounded over a few years could really make a difference to our taxpayers.”
A full copy of the year-end report for call volumes can be found on Fire District 3’s website www.fire3.org. Chief Scott Sorenson also is available to answer questions at (360) 892-2331 or email@example.com.