This year is bringing some new developments for Benton County Fire District #1. The biggest issue facing our fire district is how we can improve patient care and be a better partner to other agencies in the region.
Currently, 90 percent of our calls for emergency medical service require ambulance transport to area hospitals. However, Benton #1 doesn’t own any ambulances, which means we rely on mutual aid from neighboring departments. We are grateful for this assistance, but it can take longer to reach our residents during an emergency. It also takes away resources that neighboring agencies have to respond to calls in their area.
Our fire district has grown to the point that we should consider having our own EMS ambulance transport program. This would be funded by an EMS levy of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to purchase our own ambulances and reduce response times for our citizens.
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Lonnie Click, Fire Chief, Benton County FD #1, Kennewick