In the parlance of fire protection, they’re known as “standards of coverage,” but for representatives of the Spokane Valley Fire Department, the annual review of agency efficiency is the equivalent of a grade on a doctoral thesis.
At the Millwood City Council meeting on Monday night, Captain Jeff Bordwell of SVFD provided a dissertation on the efforts of the department over the past two years with a particular emphasis on coverage in Millwood, a city that began contracting with Valley Fire in 2004 after operating its own department for years.
“It’s a way we can state what we’re doing, prove what we do and talk about areas we need to improve upon,” Bordwell said.
The mandate to keep standards of coverage became state law in 2007 under RCW 35.103.040 which requires an annual evaluation and report involving response times for calls regarding fires, Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support.
Bordwell described how the fire personnel are expected to arrive on the scene of a fire or BLS call within 4.5 minutes or less to meet state standards. For an ALS incident, the baseline is six minutes.
Sometimes, good Samaritans can make the difference in critical situations. Deputy Chief Andy Hall told of a scenario in Millwood last year involving a citizen who initiated CPR prior to an ALS response. The resident, who had experienced cardiac arrest, was revived and rushed to the hospital by an American Medical Response crew.
Hall provided a written report to council members chronicling SVFD efforts throughout Millwood in 2009. A total of five structural fires requiring a dispatch of multiple units occurred in the city last year. The department also reported 32 motor vehicle accidents within municipal limits with 28 of those incidents taking place on the main thoroughfares of Argonne or Trent.
In 2008, SVFD achieved the response standard throughout its coverage area on 317 out of 403 code alarms, or just under 79 percent. In 2009, that percentage improved to 83 percent (289 out of 349).
ALS responses met the standard at an average of 95 percent in 2008 with the same percentage achieved in 2009.
Bordwell pointed out that of the 10 SVFD stations located in greater Spokane Valley, a total of six have ALS capability. He added that the department is expected to reach an agreement on a countywide ambulance contract soon.
In other council news:
- Shirene Young of the Inland Empire Paper Co. told council that the secretary of state determined that the 100-year observance of Millwood incorporation will be recognized in August of this year. Young said the Millwood Better for Business group will likely combine the centennial celebration with the second annual community fun run to be held on the weekend of Aug. 20 or Aug. 27
- Council members unanimously approved Ordinance 392, agreeing to join Spokane County and the city of Spokane in the Homelessness Prevention Program, a government funded resource to help area residents maintain adequate housing. The council heard a report from Spokane County on the program in December. Millwood Mayor Dan Mork said the project is part “of a 10-year plan to end homelessness.”
- Mork said the city continues to work with the Millwood Better for Business group on plans to install gateway signs at town entrances as well as period lighting in the downtown business district. Mork recently met with representatives of Avista to discuss the logistics of the traditional light fixtures.