Edmonds City Council Oct. 5 set to address fire, EMS service imbalance

The Edmonds City Council at its Tuesday, Oct. 5 meeting is scheduled to discuss proposals for amending the city’s agreement with South County Fire and Rescue to address a long-term service imbalance that has resulted in non-Edmonds fire units responding more frequently to emergency medical service and fire calls in the city.

The City of Edmonds contracts with South County Fire to provide fire and emergency medical services.

The issue centers around a 2017 amendment to the interlocal agreement between South County Fire (formerly Fire District 1) and the city that changed the staffing model, with the idea of saving an estimated $1.4 million annually. The amendment reduced the total number of firefighters on duty at any given time from eleven to nine, with three at each station. (Since one of the three firefighters at each station is required to be a paramedic, the total number of paramedics increased from two to three.)

According to the council agenda memo for this item, during the negotiations leading up to the 2017 changes, the fire agency expressed concern about the reduction in the total number of Edmonds units that could respond at any given time and that it would result in the need for units from neighboring stations to respond into Edmonds — effectively amounting to a subsidy being provided by the neighboring fire stations in Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. To address those concerns, the parties agreed to a formula called the neighboring unit utilization factor (NUUF), which measures the amount of time that Edmonds units respond to calls for service outside of Edmonds and then compares that to the amount of time that non-Edmonds units respond to calls for service in Edmonds.

Under the agreement, balance is achieved when those two amounts of time are within ten percent of one another. The agenda memo notes that the NUUF “is quite far out of balance and has been for a while. In other words, the NUUF indicates that non-Edmonds units are responding into Edmonds significantly more than the other way around.”

The council will consider two options proposed by Mayor Mike Nelson for addressing the imbalance, either of which would cost the city an additional $1.5 million annually.

Other items on the Oct. 5 agenda include:

– A proclamation regarding Indigenous Peoples Day

– The Edmonds Arts Commission annual report

– An interview for the council student representative position

– A discussion about budget scheduling and coordination

This meeting will be held virtually using the Zoom meeting platform. To join, comment, view, or listen to the Edmonds City Council Meeting in its entirety, paste the following into a web browser using a computer or smart phone: https://zoom.us/j/95798484261
Or join by phone: US: +1 253 215 8782 Webinar ID: 957 9848 4261

Persons wishing to provide audience comments using a computer or smart phone are instructed to raise a virtual hand to be recognized. Those who want to provide audience comments by dial-up phone are instructed to press *9 to raise a hand. When prompted, press *6 to unmute.

In addition to Zoom, regular council meetings beginning at 7 p.m. are streamed live on the Council Meeting webpage, Comcast channel 21, and Ziply channel 39.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.