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Taking fire protection seriously in Kitsap County

"POULSBO - They've been years in the making, but plans for a new Kitsap County Fire District 18 satellite station are finally off the back burner and getting some steady heat. The attention, according to proponents, is coming at just the right time because the region encompassed in the district is preparing for additional population and construction - both of which will need fire protection. Tuesday night, KCFD commissioners, officials and representatives from AIA engineering hosted an open house for a sparse crowd to explain the logic behind the planned creation of a new satellite station on Pioneer Hill. We made up our minds to do it even if one person showed up, said fire commissioner Jack Webb, who explained that improved service to the western reaches of North Kitsap was the primary goal of the proposal. The number of emergency calls to the district, which was formed in 1962, has grown significantly over the years, Chief Jim Shields pointed out. So far in 2001, the KCFD 18 has responded 1,137 times. Call activity is usually where the most people are, Chief Shields said, adding that approximately 50 percent of the calls originated from within the city limits. But in an emergency, response time is everything, and while local units can reach most sites in the city within four and half minutes, calls outside Poulsbo average about seven minutes. Fire District 18 wants to reduce this. The whole idea is to find an area that will serve the greatest amount of people in the shortest amount of time, said Dave Fergus of AIA. The Pioneer Hill site just made good sense. (The road connections are) like a spider web and it will give a very good response. With new development slated at Olhava and beyond though, this spider web is necessary, Chief Shields said. It's kind of a dream for a location, Webb remarked. We're very excited about this. We are really trying to spend your money in a way that gives you the best service. Kitsap County Fire District 18 is trying to do all this with minimal impact to the surrounding neighborhood as well. While the location of the satellite will reduce the need to clear cut trees for the planned structure the building itself will be pleasing to the eye, said Jonathan Wood of AIA. We understand it's residential, he explained. We'd like to put something there that doesn't shock the community. Noise was the primary concern of those who attended the meeting, but Chief Shields addressed this issue, noting, We're not going to be out there all hours of the night making a lot of racket. Webb agreed that the station personnel would go above and beyond the call to be good neighbors to the surrounding community. Kitsap County Fire District 18 hopes to bid the project early next year, begin construction in spring of 2002 and commence operations at the new station by that fall. Once this is built it won't just be a great addition for the next two or three years but the next 10 to 20 years as well, said Randy Odden, who serves on the planning advisory board. "

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