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Cowlitz County Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Commissioner Position 2

6-year term; No salary. A Fire and Rescue District is responsible for fire response and containment and for paramedic and emergency ambulance service. The commission sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional fire chief and fire district personnel. One of commission's main duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any fire levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget, whether for operations or capital items or public facility maintenance and improvements. The council also sets salaries for district employees.

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    Jeff Cameron

  • Patrick Shannon Ryan

Biographical Information

Why did you decide to run for this position?

What unique qualities do you bring to this job?

What do you think are the most important environmental issues your county will face due to changing climate?

What other issues face your district?

How do you intend to find a solution to your most urgent issues?

What part should your district play in your area’s environmental health?

Phone (360) 414-7017
Town where you live West of Longview
Experience (300 characters max) Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue commissioner since 2002, and chairperson since 2006.
I have served on the Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue Board of Commissioners since January 2002, and have been the chairperson since 2006. I have a great working relationship with other commissioners and Cowlitz 2 staff and believe continuing to serve as a commissioner is the best way for me to help the fire district in which I live.
My tenure on the Board of Commissioners and serving as its chairperson has provided me with extensive knowledge of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue. Through my career as a public works director, I have extensive public agency knowledge and experience and routinely deal with Washington state laws governing public agencies, budgeting, financing, taxes, fees for service, and personnel. I serve on two other boards related to my career and have a strong history of working with fellow board members and staff to adopt and implement appropriate policies, procedures, and budgets. I provide valuable guidance and support innovative suggestions from Cowlitz 2 staff, always striving to ensure Cowlitz 2 provides high quality and cost effective emergency response services to our community.
As the question pertains to the emergency response mission of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue, the state of Washington is experiencing increasing danger from wildfire. Wildfire seasons are starting earlier in the year, there are a greater number of fires, and the damage caused by wildfires is increasing. Even areas west of the Cascade Mountains are not safe from this increasing threat.
One issue affecting Cowlitz 2 is the increasing number of calls for service, many of which are not emergencies; and difficulty maintaining active participation from volunteers. The increasing number of non-emergency calls for service tie up Cowlitz 2 personnel and equipment, making them unavailable for other calls, and cost the fire district money to respond.

Additionally, Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue relies upon volunteers to supplement the capabilities of its paid personnel, multiplying the resources responding to an emergency. It is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteers due to their work and family commitments, and training requirements to perform safely, maintain skills, and comply with regulations.
Regarding non-emergency calls for service, Cowlitz 2 is working with other emergency service providers, law enforcement, hospitals and clinics, mental health providers, and others, looking for solutions and ways to mitigate the impacts on all emergency service providers. Alternative modes of transportation for non-emergency trips to the hospital, and providing more mental health assistance in a resident’s home, perhaps responding to calls along with the first responders, are ideas being explored. There are no easy solutions and funding for alternative programs is scarce, but Cowlitz 2 will continue looking for solutions.

Regarding recruiting and retaining volunteers, Cowlitz 2 continues to explore ways to provide incentives for volunteers to join and actively participate in providing Cowlitz 2 services. One program being considered is providing housing at a fire station for student interns, in exchange for their service to the fire district.
Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue participates with the state Department of Natural Resources to promote fire prevention in the urban/wildland interface, reducing the opportunities for fires and reducing the damage caused by wildfires. Cowlitz 2 is also very active sending mutual aid crews and equipment to fight wildfires around the state. Cowlitz 2 also maintains hazardous materials response expertise to advise local agencies and businesses how best to respond to a hazardous material spill incident.
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