Due to high fire risk, fireworks are strongly discouraged
Clark County Fire District 3 is encouraging residents to celebrate without fireworks this year. The hot weather and dry vegetation make it much riskier to light off fireworks this year.
Fire potential forecasts indicate that with the upcoming heatwave, most of Fire District 3 will be at an extremely high-risk level. This is very rare for this time of year and occurs when extreme dry conditions exist that pose a significant threat for a large fire to occur with the introduction of an ignition source.
“We ask that you keep this in mind when celebrating this particular Independence Day,” said Fire Marshal Chris Drone. “Fireworks may very well provide the ignition source of a catastrophic wildfire.”
Fire District 3 will be providing additional staffing levels during this year’s upcoming fire season, but is asking the community to help out with fire prevention. Even if they are legal in your area, fireworks are not recommended this year. If you do choose to celebrate the holiday with fireworks, please do so as safely as possible.
Information about fireworks can be found on the fire district’s website at www.fire3.org, including links to the regulations in Clark County and the City of Battle Ground.
To wrap up EMS Week, Firefighter/EMT Zane will be demonstrating hands-only CPR Live on Facebook!
Saturday May 22, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.
This is a valuable skill to know, in place of certified CPR. It helps an bystander provide immediate chest compressions when they witness a person collapse – AFTER calling 911!! Performing compression-only CPR until first responders arrive increases the likelihood of surviving breathing and cardiac emergencies.
Clark County Fire District 3 launched its new website last week at www.fire3.org. The purpose of redoing the site was to make it a more “user friendly” experience for residents and businesses looking for information about the Fire District, wildland fire preparedness and other safety tips, burning information, and how to volunteer.
“It’s a clearinghouse of information for the public,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “We wanted to make sure what people used and needed was front and center.”
The new website is just one project in a series that Fire District 3 has implemented over the past few years to improve communication with taxpayers. It sends regular content to the local news media, and increased its presence on social media with Facebook, Twitter (/Firedistrict3) and Instagram (/firedistrict3).
One of its most successful communication tools is a short newsletter mailed to all households. The number of people in the Fire District doubled to 40,000 after Battle Ground annexed last year.
“Different people like to receive information different ways. It’s incumbent upon us to learn what those ways are and meet them there,” said Chief Sorenson. “Every time we reach another person, it means that we’re doing a better job serving our community, preventing fires and saving lives.”
Chief Sorenson said that he wishes more people would participate in monthly Board of Fire Commissioner meetings. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 6:00 p.m. Community members can find information on how to access the meetings at www.fire3.org/board-of-fire-commissioners.
“Our meetings are the best way to learn about Fire District business,” he says. “All meetings are open to the public, and we would love more people to attend.”
Do you have an idea as to how Fire District 3 can improve communication with the community? Contact Chief Scott Sorenson personally at (360) 892-2331 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA— Clark County Fire District 3 held a virtual awards ceremony presenting 11 employees with awards this week. Staff and personnel were recognized for high achievement and years of service.
Fire Chief Scott Sorenson has spent his 40-year career in emergency services with Fire District 3. He says that he is grateful to lead an organization of people who are so committed to the community.
“I’ve stayed with Fire District 3 because of the people working here and the community we serve,” he said. “This is more than a job for our employees – it’s a vocation, a calling, to help others at their darkest moment. This kind of care and compassion is why Fire District 3 is such a strong agency.”
Emergency Response Times Improve with Additional Personnel
BRUSH PRAIRIE, WA— Clark County Fire District 3 reports that call volumes dipped slightly from 4,381 calls in 2019 to 4,155 in 2020. However, the number of calls for emergency medical service increased from 3,010 to 3,196.
Both statistics are likely due to the pandemic. For example, more people stayed home leading to fewer fires and car accidents, but there were increases in calls for respiratory illness and other underlying medical conditions aggravated by the virus.
Call data also shows that two voter-approved ballot measures – a fire levy lid lift in 2017 and annexation of the City of Battle Ground to the Fire District in 2020 – can be credited with improving emergency response times and helping the Fire District meet its Standards of Cover. Standards of Cover are time limits set by an agency to ensure a safe and effective response to fires, medical calls, and situations requiring technical rescue.
This community support meant that Fire District 3 could hire additional personnel to form a full-time crew at its station in Venersborg and add another 24-hour crew at Station 35 in Battle Ground. Increasing capacity in these two areas means there are additional emergency resources available to respond district-wide, which has improved response times as well.
Fire Chief Scott Sorenson says response times will continue to improve in 2021 because data will reflect a full year of staffing level improvements. Chief Sorenson says that everyone at Fire District 3 is grateful for the community’s support to make this happen.
“These improvements are possible because our community values quality emergency services,” he said. “Everything we do is possible because of our taxpayers.”
Clark County Fire District 3 is collecting gift cards and cash donations for area families in need. Cash donations will be used to purchase gift cards.
“This annual event is one that our ‘fire family’ looks forward to volunteering at each year,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “We’re so thankful for our community’s support and appreciate the opportunity to do something positive to help those in need this holiday season.”
In previous years, Fire District 3 would collect toys and deliver them to families in need before the holidays. This year, to be able to provide gifts safely, and reduce risks for volunteers as well, Fire District 3 is collecting gift cards to distribute to families.
Gift cards can be dropped off at Station 31 in Hockinson (17718 NE 159th St., Brush Prairie, WA 98606) and Station 35 in Battle Ground (505 SW 1st St., Battle Ground, WA 98604). Cards can also be mailed to Fire District 3 at Station 31.
Please have your gift cards or cash donations to the Fire District by December 15 to give families time to shop. Cash donations can be made through GoFundMe at gf.me/u/y862d8.
If you would like to sign up children to receive gifts, please contact your child’s school counselor throughout Fire District 3’s services area, including Battle Ground.
“This has been a difficult year for many,” said Chief Sorenson. “We hope that it can be made a little brighter for some local kids with help from our community.”
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.
“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.”