People in Kittitas County will vote on annex decision

People in Kittitas County will vote on annex decision

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash.- Two measures will be on the Kittitas County election ballot that regard their local firefighters. People throughout Kittitas County will vote to decide if they want Kittitas County Fire and Rescue to annex the Kittitas Fire Department so that they respond to fires in that city.

"They have a seven person volunteer fire department. Which is not large enough to fuel the effective firefighting force in the event of a structure fire," said John Sinclair who is the Kittitas County Fire and Rescue Chief.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the minimum number of firefighters you can send out to a fire is four. If two firefighters are going in to a house fire, there has to be two firefighters outside. It also says fire departments should have at least 16 people in order to have an effective firefighting force during a fire.

"You can say well at a minimum they need to have two in and two out. But to be effective, they have to have 15 or so to be able to handle everything that needs to be done in a timely manner," said Sinclair.

There are 1,400 people living in the city of Kittitas. Sinclair says with their numbers being so small, there just aren't enough fire volunteers and they often request help from the rescue crew to assist with the city's fires.

"There are times when they have calls and no one is there in their community because they are completely volunteer," said Sinclair.

Right now it takes about six to ten minutes for the Kittitas County Fire Rescue Crew to receive a dispatch call if no fire volunteers from the city are able to respond, and in these kind of emergencies sometimes minutes can mean lives.

"Dispatch pages them, nobody responds, they page them again, nobody responds, so six to ten minutes later they get around to calling us and by that time disaster could have fallen," said Sinclair.

Sinclair says if county voters approve, this will help decrease the amount of time it takes for dispatch to call them for help.

"When a call comes out, rather than there be a delay, we will be able to respond promptly, quickly, with an effective firefighting force to take care of any problems that they may have," said Sinclair.

The city of Kittitas will be holding a town hall meeting tomorrow at 10 a.m. to hear the communities thoughts on the choices.

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