BRINNON — The Brinnon Fire Department has named career firefighter and paramedic Tim Manly as its full-time fire chief, and facility and equipment improvements are on his list of priorities.
Manly, 51, of Port Ludlow had been serving as part-time chief since 2016, splitting his time with Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue where he served as medical services officer.
During his 22 years in Port Ludlow, Manly taught the Community Emergency Response Team curriculum.
He has over 35 years of emergency medical service and 25 years of firefighting experience.
On Saturday, July 13, the department will hold an open house at the 272 Schoolhouse Road station from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in order for the community to welcome Manly. A barbecue and raffle is planned.
Manly said he was a volunteer firefighter when he was a high school student in Maine. He said he would listen to his scanner, and if there was a fire call he would wake up his mother so she could drive him to the station.
“When I could get my license, I was the first person in line to the delight of my mother,” he said.
Jefferson County Fire District 4 has three career staff and 28 active volunteers. The station is manned 24/7. One thing that keeps the program running so well is the relationships that have been established with neighbors in Mason County, Quilcene Fire Rescue and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue. They provide mutual aid, which is important in a rural area that has limited resources, Manly said.
“We combine resources that will support the 20 miles we cover,” he said. “It’s the wave of the future for small fire departments. We share resources and people, as you can never have enough people on scene.”
Manly said the Brinnon station needs upgrades to its aging vehicles and some work on the building.
In August, Manly plans to present a request to the fire commissioners for a $1.2 million bond measure to upgrade equipment.
He pointed out that a 1986 truck is older than some of his volunteers.
“This vehicle is not designed for a rural community,” he said. “It’s a Class A1 pumper, designed for Los Angeles or Las Vegas — cities that have hydrants. It carries 750 gallons, but this hose delivers 250 gallons per minute. That’s not enough for a rural department that handles locations with 1,000-foot or more driveways.”
Manly hopes to also get a pumper tender that can carry 2,500 gallons of water.
“That gives me 10 minutes worth of water if I’m pumping at 250 gallons per minute,” he said. “That’s plenty of time for other resources to get on scene and start supplying water. “
A 1992 aid car has exhausted its life expectancy and needs to be replaced, he said.
“It’s a matter of when it will stop,” he said. “It’s lived its life, it’s served us well.”
The pumper tender that holds 2,500 gallons of water has issues, too.
He said it works and does the job, but it is not NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) compliant.
“I want to send this to Chehalis for a retrofit so it meets the requirements for NFPA. Instead of purchasing something, we can do an upgrade.”
When the upgrade to the pumper tender is done it will require about $80,000 of equipment such as the jaws-of-life and a 4-inch diameter hose.
Manly’s command vehicle is a 2006 model which just recently had the engine replaced. He would like to upgrade to a more reliable model.
Although the building is sound, Manly would like to make some changes to the 20-year old station.
“If we put in a generator, we can put a lot of people in here and operate as a shelter during a winter storm or big disaster,” he said. “Even if we lose power for a long period of time, we can help people.”
Manly said the station has a Red Cross trailer that’s filled and ready if needed.
“I have the ability to care for 100 people with cots, first aid supplies, and the ability to turn bad water into good water. The only thing we need is water and food to make that happen.”
Manly knows disasters. He pointed to the natural disaster last August when the Maple Fire burned over 3,200 acres near the Hamma Hamma River. Over 100 firefighters and staff from around the nation descended upon the community and set up a command post. Firefighters camped in the field next to the station.
It worked well and convinced Manly that the Brinnon Fire Station is an important community resource.
The Brinnon fire district serves about 1,000 residents and covers 131 square miles along U.S. Highway 101. The department protects rural Jefferson County including Olympic National Forest and land managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources.
Jefferson County Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].