By Catherine Breault
PIO Eastside Fire & Rescue
The partnership between Eastside Fire and Rescue (EF&R) and Woodinville Fire and Rescue (WF&R) solidified on Friday, Oct. 1, as EF&R officially began providing emergency services to the Woodinville Community. The 10-year contract for service was approved in July by both agencies’ governing bodies and labor organizations.
“This is an exciting opportunity for the men and women of our fire departments as well as our residents,” said EF&R Fire Chief Jeff Clark. “Together, we can reduce costs to taxpayers while expanding the resources and equipment available to our employees.”
WF&R will continue to be an operational Fire District with locally elected fire commissioners and will retain all capital assets. The WF&R Board of Commissioners will continue to set Woodinville’s service level and oversee the Districts’ budget and policy decisions. The WF&R Board of Commissioners will not be a participating member of the EF&R governing body.
“We want people to know all current WF&R firefighters were offered positions at EF&R,” said WF&R fire Commissioner Mike Millman. “All the stations within the District will remain open and fully staffed, so there will be no change in 911 service or response.”
The efficiencies created by the 10-year agreement are expected to bring operational cost savings to WF&R. The cost savings is attributed to reduced overhead and elimination of redundancies between the two organizations.
Eastside Fire & Rescue provides fire and emergency medical services to Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, Carnation, Preston, May Valley, Wilderness Rim, Tiger Mountain, and Woodinville. EF&R averages 9,000 calls per year and employs 189 sworn personnel.