Category Archives: Fire Department

Island fire department prepares to sell off land

Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran. (Kitsap Sun file photo)
Bainbridge Island Fire Chief Hank Teran. (Kitsap Sun file photo)

The Bainbridge Island Fire Department plans to sell .83 acres of undeveloped land on the south end of the island.

Fire commissioners unanimously voted to surplus the land, which is assessed at $130,000, on April 9.

The department is not using the land that is surrounded by a neighborhood and is zoned residential, said Chief Hank Terran. It was donated to the department for a “nominal amount” in the 1960s.

Although the Bainbridge Island voters recently passed a fire bond to build two new fire stations, the undeveloped property isn’t in the right location for a station, Terran said.

Money from the property sale will go into the department’s capital fund.

Bainbridge Island Fire opens its doors before February election

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The Bainbridge Island Fire Department will be asking voters for a levy and 20-year $16 million bond next month during the special election.

Before voters  head to the ballot boxes, the departments is looking to answer any questions residents have on the levy and bond.

The levy would increase the 2015 regular property tax to 95 cents per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation. Without the increase it is estimated to be 86 cents.

The levy would be used to hiring three more firefighters, and pay for three that have been recently hired.  Those firefighters would be used to open Fire Station 23 on Phelps Road, which is currently closed and unmanned.

The money will not be collected until 2016.

The 20-year $16 million bond would be to pay for rebuilding, remodeling and equipping the department’s fire stations.

You can read more about the bond and levy details in a previous story I did in the Kitsap Sun.

The open houses will be:

  • January 07, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 21 – 8895 Madison Avenue, NE
  • January 14, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 22 – 7934 NE Bucklin Hill Road
  • January 21, 2015  6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Station 23 – 12985 Phelps Road
  • January 24, 2015 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 21 – 8895 Madison Avenue, NE
  • January 24, 2015  2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Station 22 – 7934 NE Bucklin Hill Road

Residents can also attend the bi-monthly fire commissioner meetings.

Help us rank the top 10 Islander stories of 2014

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The tugboat Pacific Knight helps maneuver the state ferry Tacoma to the Bainbridge Island dock after it lost power while making the 12:20 p.m. sailing from Seattle to Bainbridge on July 29, 2014. MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN

We are asking readers to rank the top Bainbridge Islander stories from this past year in a survey. The top 10 will be posted on this blog.

You can take the survey here.

If you need to refresh your memory on a story,  they are listed below in no particular order with links:

 

Fire Commissioners to determine whether to place facilities levy at Oct. 9 meeting

Bainbridge Island Fire Commissioners will likely determine at their Oct. 9 meeting whether they will place a potential 20-year, $17 million facilities bond measure for a possible election in February. The bond would finance replacing the island’s two oldest fire stations and remodeling its newest.

The commissioners made the decision at Thursday’s night meeting after the Bainbridge Island City Council decided Tuesday at its meeting that they needed additional community input regarding a new police station that would possibly be co-located with the municipal court.

To accomplish this, the City Council will have a public comment period about the range of options regarding a new police station at its 7 p.m. Oct. 7 study session in the Council Chamber.

The city of Bainbridge Island is looking at various options, including a new stand-alone police facility in Winslow, either to the north or south near City Hall, as well as a combined police and fire facility located at the site of the current Bainbridge Island Fire Department (BIFD) Station 21.

A June report by an architect firm stated building a new combined police-fire facility would cost $2.3 million less at $15.3 million than the $17.6 million combined total it would take to build separate fire and police facilities.

A June phone poll indicated the support for a joint Bainbridge fire/police station was overwhelming with 87 percent of island residents out of 200 favoring a design for a new main fire station on Madison Avenue that included a new city police station.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Seattle architect firm Mackenzie delivered a report analyzing the feasibility of the preferred options on public safety and court facilities being considered by the City Council. This report is available on the city of Bainbridge Island website at: www.bainbridgewa.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3987. Additional information and background about this project can be found on the project page on the City’s website: www.bainbridgewa.gov/528/Police-Facility-Planning.

Bainbridge wildfire danger increases

Bainbridge Island Fire Marshal Luke Carpenter said rising summer temperatures have dramatically increased the danger of wildfires on the island.

Currently, the fire danger is “moderate” – which could be raised if temperatures stay high and rain continues to not fall in the near future.

Currently, only recreational fires are allowed on Bainbridge. Carpenter’s guidelines for recreational fires include:

– Fires may not be larger than 3 feet in diameter.

– Only dry, natural fire wood may be burned.

– Fires should not be closer than 25 feet to combustible structures such as houses, fences and sheds.

– A garden hose should be kept handy to extinguish a fire after people are done with it.

– Watch for sparks and embers blowing in the wind.

– An adult should be present at all times.

– Extinguish all fires before leaving a site.

“People don’t realize we have a potential wildfire problem on the island,” Bainbridge Fire Chief Hank Teran said recently. “If we have dry climate and proper fuel conditions we can have significant potential to have a wildfire. Since 1989, we average between 10-30 wildfires in a calendar year and we’ve been very fortunate they’ve been contained.”

For more information, visit the Bainbridge Island Fire Department’s website at www.bifd.org or contact the fire marshal’s office at 206-451-2033.

Citizens’ Police Academy 3: Office procedures, Administration, fire department, counseling

This is the third of 9 entries in a column about reporter Ethan Fowler’s participation in the Bainbridge Island Police Department’s 10-week Citizens’ Police Academy.

Senior Police Clerk Barbara Seitz said her four plus years working at the Bainbridge Island P.D. has proven the “most interesting, engaging and fun” job she has ever held.

Seitz was one of three people who spoke at last Tuesday’s third class in the Citizens’ Police Academy. She was followed by Bainbridge Fire Marshall Luke Carpenter and psychologist Dr. Ted Rosenbaum closed the night by talking about the programs in place to help officers and firefighters cope with some of the grim sights they see as part of their work.

Seitz told the group she daily helps an average of 20 people who visit the police station. Concealed weapon permits, copies of incident reports, finger printing and dog licenses are some of things she handles.

Paper record retention ranges from five years for driving while license suspended arrests, 10 years for driving while intoxicated, 50 years for traffic fatalities and 75 years for missing person cases. Files that are saved electronically are never deleted, which helps officers in the field when they view a person’s record.

Sexual offenses or allegations, mental health and cases still under investigation are some of the incident reports that aren’t released to media outlets when people like me compile the weekly police blotter.

Carpenter said Bainbridge firefighters are all trained as emergency medical technicians and that each firefighter is required to take training classes for the rest of his career each Tuesday.

Station 21 on Madison Avenue always has a minimum staff of at least four firefighters, Station 22 on Bucklin Hill Road has two people on staff always and Station 23 on Phelps Road isn’t staffed. However, Station 23 is where Carpenter works from and it’s also where they assign firefighters when they have extra staff from the other two stations.

The Bainbridge Fire Department receives about 2,500 calls for service annually. These range from building fires to cat-in-the-tree calls. Carpenter said the department does hire some of its full-time staff from its volunteer resident program, which are provided with living accommodations and guaranteed shift assignments.

He said a volunteer from Olympia is able to pull off the long commute because firefighters work 48-hour shifts but then are off the next four days.

“It doesn’t happen often when we can sleep at night,” Carpenter said of a work shift.

The fire department treats about 12-16 heart attack victims a year.

Within 90 seconds of being alerted by dispatch about an emergency, firefighters try to have tires on the road. The average response time for the Bainbridge Fire Department is 6 1/2 minutes and “we like to be lower than that,” Carpenter added.

He suggested for homeowners to come by one of the island’s fire stations to get a blue and white reflective sign to help increase address visibility. The police department also provides the signs, Officer Carla Silas said.

With not a lot of time left in the scheduled two-hour class, Rosenbaum quickly went through a PowerPoint presentation on how they screen police applicants. They seek future officers who are dominant and not domineering.

“You want someone who can take control without being badge heavy,” Rosenbaum said. “People not too rigid of right and wrong.”

Applicants typically require 3-4 hours of writing for one of his tests. People who try to list themselves “too positively” tends to make his “radar” go up, Rosenbaum said.

Combating stress or strain is a key factor for both the well-being of police and fire staff, both of which Rosenbaum works for on the island. Responders who have long-term effects from stress often have declining work performance, deteriorating family relationships, increased health problems and other issues.

To help defuse a stressful or unsettling emergency call, Rosenbaum said within 24 hours of the incident he will discuss concerns that an officer or firefighter may have. The formal process of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing helps to reduce the amount of time a responder needs to recover. However, with a catastrophe like Sept. 11, 2001, such steps likely won’t be adequate enough.

“There’s not as much stigma as there used to be with these meetings,” said Rosenbaum, who also works with spouses of emergency personnel.

Next: Our class will learn about the municipal court process with new Bainbridge Island Municipal Court Judge Sara L. McCulloch, who took her oath of office in December.

Forum for BI fire commission candidates is tonight

Islanders can get to know an unusually crowded field of candidates for the Bainbridge Island Fire Department commission Thursday night.

Resident Jane Dunkel organized the forum, scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. at Station 21, 8895 Madison Ave. (Dunkel requested use of the meeting room, the fire department is not affiliated with the event). 

Dunkel said seven of the eight fire commission candidates are expected to attend. Current commissioner Dan Morrow is running unopposed for Position 3 and is not participating in the forum.

Dunkel said she is interested in promoting effective local government and organized the forum as a community service. It will include opening remarks from candidates, questions from the moderator (Dunkel) and an audience Q&A session.

Commission positions 2, 3, 4 and 5 are up for election. Position 2 has three contestants and will be the only commission position appearing on the August primary ballot.

Longtime commissioner and department booster Glen Tyrrell resigned from Position 5 prior to the candidate filing period. Tim Carey was sworn in Wednesday to fill Position 5 until an elected commissioner takes office.

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