Fire commissioners to hold joint meetings

By Jessica Keller, The Courier-Herald

Due to closer working relationships between the Pierce County Fire Protection Districts of 12, 20 and 22, the three will now conduct joint commissioner meetings.

Each board recently voted to have just one meeting, instead of continuing their regular separate sessions.

The District 12, 20 and 22 meeting will be at 7 p.m. the third Monday of each month. August's meeting will be Monday at District 12 headquarters, 10515 234th Ave. E, Buckley. The September meeting will be at the District 22 station, located at the Bonney Lake Public Safety Building, 18421 Old Buckley Highway, Bonney Lake. The meetings will alternate between those two stations.

Because of the growing consolidation efforts and joint operation agreements between the districts, District 12 Fire Chief Bill Steele said it made no sense to continue having the same consolidation and joint operation reports read at each separate meeting.

With one meeting, the chiefs from each of the districts will be able to give their reports to the three boards at the same time. Fire District 22 and 20 also share the same secretary, so minutes will only have to be recorded once.

"Most of the information that occurs at the board meetings are duplicated," Steele said. "This is an effort to be more effective and efficient and reduce the repeat information."

Steele said if any district has business that does not pertain to the others, the boards will most likely split up to conduct that business separately.

Steele also said the three districts have recently formed a jointly staffed engine company, where the districts joined together to hire three permanent firefighters and a paramedic, who would staff all three districts. Under the jointly staffed engine company agreement, Fire District 22 is the chief employer of the new staff, with Fire Districts 12 and 20 paying for the amount they pay their staff and Fire District 22 paying the rest.

Steele said the new firefighters and paramedic would be stationed predominantly at District 12 headquarters, but operationally they would spend two to three days at the District 12 station, District 20 South Prairie Station and District 22's station 44, which is between the District 12 and 20 stations.

By hiring four new staff, Steele said the districts will be able to provide constant coverage because 4.3 people is the equivalent of one staff person working 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This really improves the coverage to the residents in each district," Steele said.

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