Fire district mulls joining forces with CK and Bremerton

South Kitsap Fire and Rescue agreed last month to hire consultants that will study the feasibility of sharing resources — or merging altogether — with two neighboring fire districts.

At their last meeting, the SKFR Board of Commissioners approved paying Emergency Services Consulting inc.(ESCi) approximately $11,000 to include its fire district in the merger feasibility study already launched by Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and the Bremerton Fire Department.

SKFR Chief Wayne Senter said the study will look at the possible advantages of the different fire departments sharing resources such as a computer network, to perhaps actual merging of the districts.

Senter said although ESCi will require his district staff to supply a significant amount of information on their operations, much of what they will need is already prepared.

“I really think we can wrap this up in a matter of weeks, since most of the information we need to provide was already complied for the accreditation process (we completed last year),” Senter said.

Prior to SKFR’s decision to join the study, Bremerton City Council President Cecil McConnell sent a letter to CKFR’s Board of Commissioners requesting that the third district be involved in the study.

“Given the existing jurisdictional boundaries it is obvious that it would be a tremendous oversight to exclude SKFR from such discussions,” McConnell stated. “Bremerton Fire Department and SKFR administrations, the SKFR commissioners, and both bargaining units (IAFF locals 437 and 2876) agree that the study should be expanded to include SKFR.”

CKFR Chief Ken Burdette agreed.

“It’s obvious it would be a tremendous oversight to exclude (SKFR),” Burdette said, explaining that there are many areas in which the borders of the three departments meet.

“These three districts are probably more convoluted than most, there are places where we intertwine,” he said, and pointed out that the districts have discussed increasing the amount of cooperation between them in the past.

“South Kitsap and Bremerton were having some discussion in regard to areas where they overlap,” Burdette said.

Those areas include Rocky Point and Navy Yard City, where SKFR serves as the primary responder.

-- Central Kitsap Reporter staff writer Kassie Korich contributed to this report.

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