Fire District 3’s Annual Pancake Breakfast is Back   

Proceeds will go to benefit several families in Ukraine

For over 30 years, Clark County Fire District 3 has hosted an annual pancake breakfast in June during Hockinson Fun Days.  After missing two years due to the pandemic, Fun Days and the pancake breakfast is back in-person!

Fire District 3 will host an Open House and Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 7:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  at the Hockinson Fire Station #31 (17718 NE 159th ST, Brush Prairie, WA 98606).

Tickets for the breakfast are available now for pre-sale at Station 31 (debit and credit cards accepted) or online at bit.ly/3yHhOrD (with a small convenience fee). The tickets are $7 per person, or $25 for a family.  

The pancake breakfast is a fundraiser to benefit families or individuals of our community that are in need. This year, the fire district is dedicating proceeds to several family members of Fire District 3 Captain Andrey Zalozh that are living in war-torn Ukraine. 

Zalozh’s multiple family members are living in fear with shelling and frequent air raid sirens, with adults and children alike wondering if they will get to see another day. According to one family member, “We are not living, we are surviving.” Funds raised will help Zalozh’s mother and extended family purchase the basics amidst escalating prices and supply challenges.  

Online donations to support the Ukrainian families can be made at GoFundMe bit.ly/3LkayES. Fire District 3 will accept donations until June 6, 2022. 

Fire Danger Sign

We’re listening! Thanks to outreach from several Venersborg neighbors, the first fire danger sign has been installed on NE Risto Rd near NE Lehto Rd. We appreciate all of our community members wanting to make our area safer and reduce fire risk!

The risk is LOW right now, but it is the perfect time to start thinking about yard clean-up to reduce wildland fire risk! Tips and additional resources are available on our website at https://fire3.org/wildland-preparedness-tips/.

Clark County Fire District 3 Welcome Five New Firefighters

Pictured left to right: James Clay, Taylor Nye, Billy Wherley, Andrey Kotov; Front: Kirk Meller

District Says Thank You for Fire Levy Lid Lift

BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA— Clark County Fire District 3 is sending a huge thank you to residents and business for personally and financially supporting the agency. Community support means five firefighters and paramedics are currently in training and will help to maintain and improve emergency service levels for the Fire District, including Hockinson, Brush Prairie, Heisson, Venersborg, and the City of Battle Ground. Three are new positions, and two will replace retiring employees.

“Our community is growing rapidly, and call volumes are increasing as a result,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “These positions are important to meet that demand for emergency services, and we are grateful our community recognizes this.”

Call volumes increased 12.6% for Clark County Fire District 3 in 2021. Emergency medical service accounted for almost 77.2% of all calls received.

Station 35 in the city limits of Battle Ground is Fire District 3’s busiest station accounting for 59.8% of all emergency responses in 2021. 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.

Growth is driving this issue, and the Fire District is concerned that new development pays its fair share.

“Historically, existing taxpayers have invested in one of the best emergency service programs in the county,” said Chief Sorenson. “New growth is driving up the need for service, and we’re working hard to keep up with this demand. Maintaining our fire levy covers daily operations. Bonds will be necessary for capital items, like fire stations and emergency apparatus.”

Fire District 3 and other agencies in Clark County have approached the Clark County Council to pass modest impact fees to help fund these capital costs. The Council voted down the measure in 2021.

Impact fees are a charge paid to a local government by developers for new housing or commercial developments to help offset the imbedded cost of services that are required. Ultimately, impact fees help reduce the amount of funding required from taxpayers.

Call Volumes Increase 12.6% for Clark County Fire District 3

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 scott@fire3.org.

Clark County Fire District 3 Promotes Drone and Zalozh, Shoup as Fire Inspector

Clark County Fire District 3 promoted two staff members and introduced a new Fire Inspector this month. Chris Drone is the new Division Chief for Community Risk Reduction. Andrey Zalozh earned the title of Captain in addition to Firefighter/Paramedic. Dawson Shoup had a lateral move from Firefighter/EMT to Fire Inspector.“Fire District 3 is expected to grow by 46 percent in the next 20 years,” said Chief Scott Sorenson. “These positions are important for community safety, and we were pleased to fill them with internal candidates.”

Chris Drone started as the first Fire Marshal for Fire District 3 in 2017 before being promoted to Division Chief for Community Risk Reduction this year. The Fire Marshal’s office is part of the Community Risk Reduction Division, which works to prevent fires and injury for residents. Drone was a Plans Examiner and Lead Deputy Fire Marshal with the city of Vancouver before joining the Fire District. Drone also spent several years in Colorado in a number of fire prevention and community development positions. He is a Marine Corps Veteran, licensed Fire Protection Engineer, has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Washington State University, and two Associate Degrees. 

Captain Andrey Zalozh join the fire cadet program with a neighboring agency while in high school. He interned with Fire District 3 in 2004 then served as a resident firefighter, volunteer, and was hired full-time in 2014. Zalozh is originally from the Ukraine, and emigrated as a teenager with his family to Clark County in 1998. He earned his Associates Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University and is a certified Firefighter/Paramedic.

Fire Inspector Dawson Shoup started as a fire cadet with Fire District 3 while at Union High School in Camas, Wash. He worked his way up to intern and then a volunteer firefighter by 2019. Fire District 3 hired Shoup as a full-time firefighter in 2020, and he is transferring to the Fire Marshal’s office as the Fire Inspector. Shoup has his Associates Degree in Fire Science from Portland Community College.

Fireworks

If you choose to ring in the New Year with fireworks, please use and dispose of them safely, and be considerate of your neighbors. Even though the fire risk is much lower at this time of year, vegetation and structures can still catch fire! Please keep a charged hose nearby, and a bucket of water to soak spent fireworks. And fireworks can cause serious injuries, so please follow instructions, use legal fireworks, and always have a responsible adult supervising.

For information about where and when fireworks are legal, please visit the County’s page: https://clark.wa.gov/code-administration/fireworks.

Also, Vancouver Police Department’s East Precinct will accept unused fireworks for safe disposal Monday-Friday 8:00a to 5:00 p.m. (except on New Year’s Eve) at 520 SE 155th Ave, Vancouver, WA 98684.

Clark County Fire District 3 and City of Battle Ground Tackle Growth Through Impact Fees

Clark County Fire District 3 is thanking the City of Battle Ground for approving a requested increase in the amount it collects in impact fees. These funds are used to offset capital costs, such as fire stations and emergency apparatus, associated with population growth and new development in the city limits.

Fire District 3 is expected to grow by 46% in the next 20 years. Impact fees are a charge placed on new development, and must be paid before a building or home can be occupied.

“We want to make sure that new growth pays for itself,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “Growth triggers the need for additional facilities and apparatus to respond to 911 calls. It’s fair that new development helps pay for the imbedded costs associated with providing emergency services through impact fees.”

The city has collected an average of $187,000 per year in impact fees. The total amount collected depends on the amount of new development in the city. In 2022, the fee for a single-family home is $696. Multi-family dwellings are $327 per unit. New non-residential space is charged $0.85 per square foot.

The fire district has up to 10 years to spend the money on capital items in its Capital Facilities Plan. A copy of Fire District 3’s plan can be found on the fire district’s website at www.fire3.org

Past impact fees from the city have been used to replace a fire engine for a half million dollars. Fire District 3 is now planning for a new fire station that would start serving the community in approximately 10 years. Impact fees can be used to pay upfront for things like land acquisition, design or architectural services, engineering, and site development work. Paying cash for these items helps reduce the amount Fire District 3 will need to finance through voter-approved bonds.

The state gave local communities the ability to pass impact fees to help pay for new growth. But while the city has approved and even increased them, the Clark County Council is reluctant to do so. The fire district has teamed up with other agencies in the county to ask the Clark County Council to pass impact fees in the county, but has been unsuccessful to date. “Impact fees mean our taxpayers pay less in property taxes and interest payments by reducing what we need to borrow to build a new station,” said Chief Sorenson. “We are grateful to the city for its support, and will continue to reach out to the County Councilmembers for help. Our taxpayers and their constituents are the same people.”

2021 Annual Toy & Food Drive

Through December 14

This holiday season, Fire District 3 is collecting non-perishable food items, toys, and gift cards for area families in need.

If you’d like to donate, please drop off (or mail gift cards) to the Fire District by December 14. Cash donations can be made through GoFundMe.

Drop-off/Mail: Station 31 in Hockinson – 17718 NE 159th St., Brush Prairie, WA  98606

Drop-off: Station 35 in Battle Ground – 505 SW 1st St., Battle Ground, WA 98604