The City of Elma and Grays Harbor Fire District 5 with support from members of the Elma Fire Department signed an agreement on December 18th, 2018 bringing Grays Harbor Fire District 5 operational staff back into staffing at the Elma Fire Station in Elma, a more central location for the fire districts Firefighter/EMT/Paramedics to respond from than the headquarters of the current district on Stamper Road, northeast of Elma.
In January 2017 the fire district started staffing an office at the Elma station with a Battalion Chief, Adam Fulbright to establish a single paramedic rapid intervention non-transport (Sprint) response as well as a joint Fire/EMS training program that involved the Elma Fire Department. This then combined several areas of training programs and joint recruitment for volunteers and staff between the 2 agencies in 2018.
On top of the joint recruitment and training opportunities the changes brought us, we were able to also gain additional emergency responders through mutual aid agreements for calls in and out of the City of Elma and the county for EMS, and emergency calls.
Through out 2018 City of Elma officials along with the Fire District 5 leadership, discussions were underway in regards to looking at the feasibility and sustainability to bringing the Fire District 5 staff back into cohabitation using the Elma Fire Station facilities. Items discussed included things such as crew quarters, apparatus (ambulances and fire suppression response vehicles) as well as who was to pay for the items needed to make necessary changes for the cohabitation to work.
Fire District #5 Chief Prater says “Staffing the Elma Fire Station will help us improve emergency medical service responses to all areas of our district and the City of McCleary as well as improve our Fire Response”.
Fire District 5 provides EMS services to its unincorporated areas of the county including Satsop, Elma, Porter, Malone and McCleary. It also provides EMS response by contract to the City of Elma and McCleary. With our staff stationed at the Elma Fire Station they will now be located closer to the highway (State Route 12 and 8) on and off ramps giving us an easier, safer and quicker route to respond to all areas of the district. They will also be closer to the Satsop Development Park that has continued to grow adding additional responses for the agencies.
Elma Fire Chief Tyson Boling says, “I see this working great for all parties. The citizens of the city will get a better ambulance response and have better access to fire personnel at the station to answer questions and do things like blood pressure checks. Elma Firefighters will get much needed assistance from District 5 career staff in daily equipment checks, pre-fire plans, and business fire code checks”.
Changes are currently underway to the facilities at the Elma Fire Station to accommodate the Fire District staff with expected completion and move in, in March. In the meantime members of the public may see some construction work in and around the station. Administrators said that volunteers and apparatus that are assigned to the Stamper Road station will remain to respond out of that station.
Those instrumental in bringing the two entities together are, but not limited to Elma Mayor Jim Sorenson, Elma Fire Chief Boling, District 5 Battalion Chief Adam Fulbright, City Council Members (Pat Miller, David Blackett, Tom Boling, Charles Butterfield, Jim Taylor), Fire District 5 Commissioners (Eric Patton, Jim Crisp, Tyrone Green) and Fire District 5 Chief Prater.