East Clark Professional Firefighters Union Sends Out Petition For More Personnel
The East Clark Professional Firefighters Union is promoting a petition among Camas and Washougal residents that urges the Camas City Council to find funds to hire more firefighters.
The petition states:
”The Camas and Washougal communities have only 2 firefighters on each fire engine. The science-based industry standard is 4 firefighters per engine. This standard creates a safer and more effective team for when time counts: fires, motor vehicle accidents, and high acuity medical calls.”
“Washington state law mandates a minimum of 3 firefighters be on the scene of a fire before entering into a burning structure for a known rescue of human life. The same law mandates a minimum of 4 firefighters present before entry into a burning building to fight fire and save property.”
“The East Clark Professional Fire Fighters union is asking your local government officials to provide us with more firefighters so we can do the job we are sworn to do: protect you and your property.”
“Will you join us in urging these officials to make this a reality?”
“Thank you for your support.”
The petition link:
City of Camas Response
“The Council realizes that we need additional firefighters/paramedics,” said Camas City Administrator, Pete Capell. “They also realize that we need additional personnel in most departments. We are in the process of doing a level of service analysis for all of our departments. Their intent is to add additional staff in the departments based on prioritized need and available revenue. The petition will not influence their decision. The final decisions will be based on the greatest need.”
The Camas Mayor also met with firefighter union representatives.
“I had what I believe was a very good meeting with Adam Brice and Kevin Bergstrom last Thursday,” said Camas Mayor, Scott Higgins. “I told them we are open to looking at ways to do our business differently in the future and to looking at staffing options. I also told them that with limited resources we will have to see what works best and we left the meeting with a commitment to meet again soon.”
The Camas City Council’s newest member, Deanna Rusch, also spent time speaking with firefighters after last week’s council meeting.
“When I interviewed for my council appointment I indicated public safety is a priority,” said Rusch. “It remains a priority. As the newest council member I’m enjoying getting educated on how Camas funds all of its departments. Funding fire and police is certainly a priority for me as I represent my constituents, but this priority is in concert with the overall needs of the City. I look forward to Chief Swinhart’s presentation on the level of service with regard to his department as we review the same from every department and develop our next biennial budget.”
“We all want a safe, thriving and positive Camas. We take citizen and employee concerns seriously. I look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with all of our departments on how we can deliver the best possible service to our citizens.”
I’m so happy to see this magazine bringing light to this issue. The fact that the Camas-Washougal Fire Department is so under staffed is information that needs to be discussed throughout the two communities impacted. I find it disappointing that after the firefighters have educated the Camas City council members about national standards in staffing in the past weeks that Pete Capell, and apparently other members, still shrug it off according to his statement. Comparing the need for more firefighters to the staffing needs of other departments in the city is irresponsible at best and shows there is no urgency in improving the level of its first response services.