Offloading Everett Fire ineffective idea


To the Editor:
Everett’s structural budget deficit is a problem that will not be solved by joining a Regional Fire Authority (Jan. 17, Feb. 14 Tribune stories).
Everett Fire is not top heavy. Shifting taxpayer money out of town would only change administration around the margins. It won’t “enhance” staffing and response times. The wisest long-term solutions are permanent levy lid lifts and station bonds.
Everett Fire Chief DeMarco said “we can’t keep building” stations etc. but “keep” may be a Freudian slip, because Everett hasn’t built a new station in nearly 30 years (Station 7) and, in fact demolished Station 3 not long after that.
With fleet standardization largely completed, there remains a need for significant capital expenditure. The pre-pandemic Fitch report (relying on data now basically a decade old) got one thing VERY wrong. Everett Fire does need two additional stations and two additional full time companies at a minimum. Existing infrastructure was inadequate then. Everett stations are now bursting at the seams.
Despite daily heroics, Everett Fire cannot meet its own alarm load. Interminable waits at the ER keep aid and medic units unavailable for protracted periods.
Two-thirds of the city of Everett is geographically very poorly suited to receive *timely* automatic mutual aid. Neighboring agencies are already tapped out themselves.
The Nurse Navigation implementation at Sno911 will benefit first responders countywide. However, the program barely puts a dent in the current and future demands on emergency response resources.

Paul Keller
Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Aberdeen, formerly of Snohomish County