Changes to Fire Service on Finn Hill

Changes to Fire Service on Finn Hill

FHNA has been working with the Kirkland Fire Department over the last few years to improve overall fire response times to our neighborhood, ever since  volunteer EMTs were re-established at Fire Station 24 (along 84th Avenue at NE 141st Street). We are very pleased to report the City has added one additional professional firefighter to Fire Station 25 (along Holmes Point Drive at its intersection with Juanita Drive) as of August 15th, bringing a total of 4 firefighters who staff the station on a 24-hour basis. Originally, the City’s 2013-2014 budget included approximately $600,000 to staff a firefighter for 12-hours each day from Station 24, supported by another firefighter from Northshore Fire District to respond to emergency medical calls to both the Kirkland and Kenmore sections of Finn Hill. Agreements with Northshore were unable to be worked out, so the City found an alternative solution, which provides better service because the additional firefighter can provide 24-hour coverage as opposed to 12-hour coverage.

This solution provides additional coverage and improved response time to Finn Hill for both fire and medical emergency calls. For instances when a medical emergency call is received, two firefighters can respond, with the other two firefighters remaining at the station to cover additional medical emergency calls that may occur. Such backup is critical for an area such as Finn Hill because most of the neighborhood does not overlap multiple fire station coverage areas, unlike most other areas of the City. In the past, when two medical emergency calls were received, firefighters from another station would need to respond to the second call, often adding a few more minutes to the response time.

In cases where a fire is reported, all 4 firefighters would respond, supported by additional firefighters from other stations. Firefighters are not allowed to enter structures to fight fires until at least 4 firefighters are on scene. This is what is referred to as the “two in, two out” rule and allows the team from Station 25 to begin working the fire or begin a rescue before other units arrive from more distant stations.

Unfortunately, the additional firefighter is an interim solution because the position is only funded through 2014. The Fire Department is using this as a test case to understand the benefits it provides the community. In the meantime, the City has re-started the Finn Hill Fire Station Siting Study, and plans to attend Dennyfest and our Fall neighborhood meetings to seek input on potential station locations which will likely help provide a more permanent solution to improved response times for Finn Hill.

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