A contract for services between the Puget Sound RFA and King County Fire District 43 has been approved by both governing bodies. FD 43 Fire Commissioners unanimously approved the 20-year contract, with the RFA Governance Board doing the same.
The contract will add three more fire stations, 44 firefighters, and five civilian staff to the RFA. Both Fire Chief Aaron Tyerman and Deputy Chief Jeff Didonato of FD 43 will also take up new positions within the RFA. The contract will also almost double the size of the RFA’s response area and add the cities of Maple Valley and Hobart. The annual emergency call volume in FD 43 is approximately 3,000.
Fire Chief Aaron Tyerman and Fire Chief Matt Morris of Puget Sound Fire said that they expect a smooth transition because of the ongoing cooperation between the organizations and that fact that Maple Valley and Puget Sound Fire work and train together on a regular basis. Both are members of the South King County Fire Training Consortium, so the firefighters are trained to the same high level, which allows them to work seamlessly at incidents. This also means that the public will not see any change in emergency services to the area.
A contract for services benefits both departments, as well as the public. We can take advantage of “economies of scale” which allows per-unit cost savings, due to being part of a larger purchasing group – similar to the idea why people shop at big-box stores and buy in large quantities. FD 43 expects to save over $1 million the first year, which can be used to purchase much needed equipment.
Portions of the contract, including emergency response, will go into effect October 1, 2018. The completion date for fully integrating both departments is January 1, 2019.