Fire district in Brinnon seeks bond

November measure requested for equipment

PORT ANGELES — The Brinnon Fire Department is asking voters to consider a $1.2 million 10-year bond to purchase and upgrade equipment so firefighters can have reliable tools and more water to battle fires.

Voters in the Brinnon Fire Department’s district — which includes areas near U.S. Highway 101 from milepost 299 at the top of Mount Walker to milepost 314 — will consider the bond during the Nov. 5 general election, Fire Chief Tim Manly said.

It would increase property taxes by 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $7.50 per month. That would be $90 per year for a $200,000 home.

To purchase equipment

The bond would allow the Brinnon Fire Department to purchase two pumper tenders, among other equipment. One pumper tender would carry 2,500 gallons of water while the other would carry 1,500 gallons of water; they would become the district’s primary and secondary engines.

The current engines, class 1 pumpers that hold 750 gallons of water each — about three minutes worth of water — would no longer be used for emergencies. Those vehicles were built in 1986, before some of Brinnon’s present firefighters were born, Manly said.

“The average they can go is 20 years,” Manly said. “It’s getting to the point where every year we have to send out for pump tests.”

Last year, Engine 41 failed its pump test and required maintenance.

If the bond passes, the current Engine 41 would be used for training and Engine 42 would be sold, Manly said.

Manly said there have been instances when firefighters have run out of water before mutual aid from Quilcene, Port Ludlow, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue or Mason County could arrive.

“Just imagine [there’s a fire] at the top of the Duckabush,” Manly said. “I’m going to run out of water. If I’m going on a call with this truck, you better believe before I leave the station I’m calling other resources.”

Manly also is looking to purchase a new aid car.

The current primary aid vehicle, Aid 41, is from 2008. The secondary aid vehicle, Aid 42, was built in 1996.

The fire department averages about 400 calls per year, half of which require driving an aid car to and from Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton.

The new ambulance would take the place of Aid 41 and that vehicle would become Aid 42. The 1996 ambulance would be surplussed.

“The average aid car lasts about 10 years and we’re at about 23 years,” Manly said. “It has lived its life and needs to be upgraded. We need modern, reliable equipment.”

The fire district also would upgrade its 1986 water tender, Tender 41, to be able to pump water faster.

The 2,500-gallon water tender is currently fitted with a pump that is not compliant with National Fire Protection Association standards. It pumps at about 25 pounds per square inch (psi), but after the upgrade the tender would pump at about 100 psi.

The retrofitted tender paired with the new 2,500-gallon pumper tender the district hopes to purchase would give firefighters about 20 minutes worth of water if water were pumped at a steady 250 gallons per minute.

“That’s plenty of time for fire district neighbors to get on scene,” Manly said.

The bond would allow the district to purchase new extrication tools, which would be battery-powered and would not use hydraulics.

That difference means firefighters could begin cutting a vehicle in seconds rather than minutes, he said.

“The new technology is safer for firefighters, since they’re not working with cords,” he said.

The bond would allow the district to upgrade its command vehicle.

The current command vehicle is a 2006 Ford Expedition. If approved, the district would purchase a new vehicle and the Expedition would replace a 1996 GMC Suburban. The GMC would be surplussed.

The Expedition, which had its engine replaced two years ago, would be used on forest and back-country roads and in areas that other vehicles can’t access.

“[The GMC] is on its last legs,” Manly said. “It will go to the hardware store, but we don’t use it for emergencies.”

The district would purchase about 1,200 feet of supply hose, six new automated external defibrillators to replace its current 20-year-old models and would purchase more masks, self-contained breathing apparatus and extra tanks.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

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