Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the CWIFR Board of Fire Commissioners will not be able to hold their regular April board meeting in person. The board will participate in the meeting via videoconference with staff at the district's headquarters on Race Road. The public will be able to listen in (audio only) and submit public comment (text) via Facebook Live on the district's Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/cwfirerescue/).
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COVID-19 is spread widely across Island County. Stay home and stay healthy!
Residents should limit or combine essential activities and stay home to as great an extent possible to limit potential exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. Isolate at home if you are sick and do not call 911 or visit the emergency room unless your symptoms warrant this level of care.
Practice reasonable preparedness.
Central Whdibey Fire & Rescue (CWIFR) recently responded to a fire that resulted in loss of a number of baby chicks and significant damage to a barn that was caused by ignitiion of combustible materials by a heat lamp ussed for brooding baby chicks. Brooding baby chicks with a heat lamp presents a fire hazard. The extent of the risk depends on several factors that you can control!
Avoid the use of low-cost clamp lights. The clamps are weak, the screw holding the swivel together tends to come undone, the sockets may not rated for 250-watt heat lamps, and they frequently don’t have heavy-duty cords.
Use a high-quality brooder lamp has special features to make it safe for brooding:
Since 2008 Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue (CWIFR) and North Whidbey Fire and Rescue (NWFR) have partnered with the Whidbey Island Hospital District (WhidbeyHealth), staffing Basic Life Support (BLS) Ambulances for the hospital through an Interlocal Agreement. CWIFR has staffed one ambulance and NWFR has staffed two ambulances through this partnership.
This program was initially implemented to improve responses to medical emergencies. However, increased staffing with emergency personnel who can respond to medical and fire calls also improved the level of fire and rescue service. This increased efficiency for taxpayers and provided a higher level of service for a lower cost than any of the agencies could have done separately.
Initially the fire districts paid approximately 15% of the cost of staffing the BLS ambulances, but over time this cost share has increased to approximately 36%. In 2019, WhidbeyHealth will pay the fire districts $201,495 for staffing each ambulance. The two fire districts have approached staffing the BLS Ambulances differently, CWIFR has staffed one ambulance with a mix of full-time and part-time Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs). NWFR has used Part-Time Firefighter/EMTs to staff two ambulances.
Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue received the Government Finance Officer Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the fourth consecutive year. This award represents a significant achievement and reflects the commitment of the Board of Fire Commissioners and District staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the District had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the District’s budget serves as a policy document, a financial plan, and operations guide, and a communications device.
Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories to receive the award. In addition to being posted on the District’s web site, the District’s budget is also published on the GFOA web site as an example of a “best practice” governmental budget.
There is often confusion as to who provides fire & rescue service as zip code boundaries and fire district boundaries are not the same. There are three fire districts, a city fire department, and US Navy fire department serving different areas of Whidbey Island. CWIFR serves the 50 square miles between Libbey Road and Mutiny Bay Road.
Bond proposal to appear on November election ballot
COUPEVILLE, WASH. – The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue unanimously passed a resolution asking voters to approve a bond during the November General Election. Funding would be used to renovate a fire station to improve emergency response times, improve firefighter health and safety, and replace three fire engines that are approaching the end of their usable lives. The bond would cost $0.22 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or approximately $5.50 per month ($66 per year) for the owner of a $300,000 home.
Call volumes for the agency are up 14.43% from January to June of 2017 when compared to the same time last year. In the past seven years, call volumes have increased almost 31%. The plan is to use bond funding to increase the size of Station 53 from 5,000 to 10,000 square feet.
“Our call volumes have increased to the point where we need more space for daily operations,” said Fire Chief Ed Hartin. “Adding space to the station will ensure it’s adequate to meet the growing demand for service by our community.”
Improve response times and firefighter health and safety
COUPEVILLE, WASH. – Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue is considering asking voters to approve a bond this fall to renovate a fire station and replace three engines. Fire Chief Ed Hartin says the goal for the station renovation project is to improve response times as well as firefighter health and safety inside the facility.
Station 53 on Race Road in Coupeville was built 25 years ago when the fire district was a largely volunteer fire department serving 6,700 people and responding to 408 calls that year. Today Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue still has volunteer firefighters, but also full-time and part-time emergency personnel. The agency provides fire suppression and emergency medical services to 10,000 people and responded to 1,312 calls in 2016. (Emergency call volumes have increased 30.68% in the past seven years alone.)
Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue District (CWIFR) is partnering with the Whidbey Island Conservation District (WICD) and Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to pilot a Firewise program with funding from the WA State Conservation Commission (WSCC) to communities in Central Whidbey. To learn more about how you can keep your home and family safe from wildfires, join us for Firewise Day.
What: Firewise Day
When: Saturday May 20, 2016 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
At 7:59 PM on March 6, 2017, Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue (CWIFR) was dispatched to a reported residential fire at 399 South Ebey Road in Coupeville. Initial reports were for a barn and house on fire. Three engines, two water tenders, and two command officers were initially dispatched to this incident, but recognizing the size of the building and water supply challenges in this area of the community, the command duty officer requested an additional engine and water tender from North Whidbey Fire Rescue.
First arriving units encountered a large barn well involved in fire with some areas starting to collapse due to the effects of the fire. Water supply was established by laying 1000’ of 5” hose from South Ebey Road and shuttling water with water tenders from a hydrant near Coupeville High School (location with the best access to refill the water tenders). The fire was confined to the Barn and vehicles involved on arrival with no extension to the nearby home.
The fire was under control by 10:00 pm, but several units remained on-scene overnight extinguishing hot spots in the collapsed structure. The last units left the scene following preliminary fire investigation at 12:01 pm on March 7, 2017. There was no indication that this was an incendiary fire, but cause and origin remain under investigation.
COUPEVILLE, WASH. – The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue have reduced the size and scope of a potential bond measure to renovate facilities and replace apparatus. The proposed bond was originally presented in the fire district’s long range financial plan and 2017 budget. Fire Chief Ed Hartin says that the Board of Fire Commissioners wanted to reduce the impact on the taxpayers while addressing the emergency needs of the community. “We still need the three engines to protect our insurance rating,” said Chief Ed Hartin, “however, we’re planning on renovating just one station at this time.”
Fire Chief Ed Hartin says that the Board of Fire Commissioners wanted to reduce the impact on the taxpayers while addressing the emergency needs of the community. “We still need the three engines to protect our insurance rating,” said Chief Ed Hartin. “However, we’re planning on renovating just one station at this time.”
The Town of Coupeville and unincorporated areas of Island County served by Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue were recently evaluated by the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau (WSRB). The WSRB determines the Protection Class Grading of communities and the protection Class Ratings of properties. Fire protection and suppression capabilities are evaluated using a schedule approved by the WA Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Protection Class Ratings range from 10 (no fire protection) to 1 (the highest possible rating). Ratings are determined by evaluating specific factors related to the Fire Department, Water Supply, Emergency Communications System, and Fire Safety (fire prevention and public education). The Protection Class improved from 5 to 4 in the Town of Coupeville and from 7 to 6 in unincorporated areas for properties within 4 miles of a fire station and 1000’ of a fire hydrant. Properties beyond 1000’ from a fire hydrant, but within 4 miles of a fire station improved from Protection Class 8 to 7. This improvement reflects a concerted and collaborative effort between CWIFR, the Town of Coupeville, Island County and the District’s water systems.
For more information, see the Fire Insurance Ratings Page on the CWIFR Web Site,
With the goal of reducing home fire fatalities, the IAFC has developed this tool kit to provide fire service leaders with educational materials to assist them in promoting advanced smoke alarm education among their personnel and eventually their community.