Northshore Fire to contract for services from Shoreline Fire

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Northshore still owns its assets
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
By Diane Hettrick

As previously announced, (see previous article) the board of the Northshore Fire Department, which serves Kenmore and Lake Forest Park, has voted to contract with Shoreline Fire to provide services.

So what does this mean? Some people are looking at it as a merger, which it is not.

I asked Chief Matt Cowan of Shoreline Fire to explain the difference between a merger and a contract for services.

"Under a contract for services the NFD will still remain as a fire department. They will have a Board of Commissioners, be able to levy taxes, and will maintain ownership of their assets. 

"All of their employees, except their Board Secretary, will transfer to SFD and they will pay us to manage and deliver full services to the Lake Forest Park and Kenmore communities. This will allow for a great amount of efficiency, cost savings, and a higher level of services.

"A merger would be a complete absorption of the NFD, where the fire department would no longer exist.  There would be one Board, one owner of assets, one taxing authority, and a complete blending of all aspects of the fire department. This would also result in some additional efficiencies above a contract and requires a vote of the citizens.

Shoreline Fire photo by Steven H. Robinson
"The NFD Board has voted to contract with SFD, so our next steps are to develop an Inter-Local Agreement (ILA) and a plan on integrating services and personnel.

"We are actively working collaboratively to accomplish these tasks and hope that most of this work can occur in the next couple of months. Some work, of course, will take a bit longer such as an evaluation of programs and non-critical policies.  

"While it is a lot of hard work, everyone in both Departments is very excited about the positive benefits that we can achieve together."

All local fire departments work collaboratively. There are no turf wars when there is an emergency call. The closest unit responds. If two different department respond, the first one to reach the scene will immediately begin action. Past the emergency stage, the department whose territory it is will take over and the other department will leave.

Local department, including Bothell, train together, taking advantage of empty building which are going to be torn down.

Medic One is a regional program which is administered by Shoreline Fire, and was already serving the Northshore district.


Art V. February 13, 2022 at 8:16 AM  

So, they did this without a vote of the people?

Last time, when the board wanted to join with Woodenville, the board got spanked big time.

I guess the lesson learned is, "Don't give the people a choice."

It doesn't really matter to me. I live on the Kenmore side of Finn Hill, but all our fire and medic one services come from Kirkland.

But - our taxes will go down because of this merger, right?

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