COVID-19 Update April 3, 2020

posted Apr 3, 2020, 11:00 AM by Rod Topel   [ updated Apr 3, 2020, 11:11 AM ]

Currently we are still able to respond as normal to your requests for emergency services.  There has yet to occur any COVID related issues that decrease staffing levels or response ability here at SWFA.  We are continuing internal measures to maintain wellness of our responders, and our responders are equipped with all necessary personal protection equipment to protect them when they respond. 

Yesterday, SWFA experienced a new first and held our first public meeting in a virtual online format that was also available for our public to attend and listen.  During this meeting, our Commissioners took further steps to ensure that our operational abilities have the capability of continuing should this pandemic emergency worsen.  They adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency that allows for quick response actions should the need occur, a resolution that allows our continued ability to pay our bills and payroll should a normal commission meeting be unable to occur due to the pandemic, and they passed a resolution that allows them to sign their necessary public documents electronically which meets the Governor's orders for that all public meetings be held virtually.

I truly believe that these next few weeks are still very important towards minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please contribute to your community by following the Governor’s orders and requests as well as those from our State Department of Health that are put in place to slow the spread of the COVID 19 virus.  These actions are necessary to maintain essential services from being overwhelmed.  By flattening the curve, we can improve our outcome through this very stressful time for all.  I am placing a link to an article that I believe helps us all understand that these efforts have tangible results.  https://news.yahoo.com/flattening-the-curve-on-coronavirus-what-california-and-washington-can-teach-the-world-130405639.html

I still encourage everyone to visit https://whatcomcovid.com/ where you will find information from the Whatcom Unified Command efforts as well as links to Centers of Disease Control, State Health Department and Whatcom County Health Department as well as other COVID 19 related proclamations and updates.

These next weeks are very important in minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please contribute to your community by following the Governor’s orders and requests.

Rod Topel, Fire Chief South Whatcom Fire Authority

Special Board Meeting of the South Whatcom Board of Fire Commissioners

posted Mar 27, 2020, 10:08 AM by Rod Topel   [ updated Apr 2, 2020, 8:44 AM by Mitch Nolze ]

There will be a special board meeting held by the Board of Fire Commissioners of the South Whatcom Fire Authority (SWFA) to be held at 3:00 pm on Thursday, April 02, 2020.  By order of the Governor of the State of Washington, Jay Inslee, shall be in a virtual environment, and in-person meetings are now prohibited effective immediately.  

The purpose of the Special Meeting shall be to hear testimony to the COVID 19 Virus emergency and consider resolutions declaring an Emergency for the South Whatcom Fire Authority, and matters necessary to respond to the COVID 19 public health emergency and, matters that allow for the continued operation of necessary and routine matters that support SWFA operations. 

Public Comments can be entered at any time during the meeting in the "Q&A" section.  The comments will be reviewed and read to the commission and they will respond at their discretion.  These questions will become part of the public record.

A Web Link to Access the Public Meeting Shall be Made Available to the General Public on Thursday, April 02, prior to the start of the public meeting.



A Message from the Fire Chief

posted Mar 23, 2020, 1:57 PM by Rod Topel

I would like an opportunity to update you specifically to South Whatcom Fire Authority, their activities and their response during this COVID 19 pandemic.

First, the orders and requests from our Governor and our State Department of Health are critical to slowing the spread of the COVID 19 virus.  We echo their requests for you to take this pandemic seriously and to practice good physical distancing of a minimum of 6 feet, wash your hands frequently and routinely, and stay home as much as possible and definitely stay home if you are sick.  The events of the pandemic are stressing our County’s system, and we here at SWFA are having difficulty obtaining critical personal protective equipment for our personnel from our normal vendor channels and are relying on a unified response led by the County’s Unified Command to help us get the supplies we need to keep our first responders safe.

I want to ensure our citizens that we will make every effort to maintain our ability to respond to your requests for emergency services.  There has yet to occur any COVID related issues which decrease staffing levels or response ability here at SWFA.  I have instructed our dedicated staff of responders to put in place measures to maintain their wellness in the stations and on responses, as well as implored them to conduct themselves away from work as I asked you all earlier, limit their travel to only essential purposes, maintain physical distances, and practice good and routine hygiene.

Additionally, we have begun checking each responder for any early indication of illness with required temporal temperatures prior to them being allowed to stay within the building and reporting to shift.  Our decontamination practice within our facilities has increased frequencies, and we are having administrative staff work remotely at all possible opportunities.

Today, Monday, March 23, I also secured our facilities and restricted all public access with the exception of our legal requirements to be open for our public Fire Commissioner meetings.  We will still be here to answer questions and provide directions, but we are imposing the six-foot barrier and will assist people outside of the facility first, prior to access.  We request that if you need medical response that you please contact 9-1-1 for a response to your location.  We will still provide medical care to any and all who request and need. 

South Whatcom Fire Authority is just one component of our overall community response to COVID 19.  We will work with the County’s Unified Command response to support their efforts and continue to be here for all our citizens, and we ask you to do the same.  Be understanding that this emergency is now more than just a health care related emergency as it is reaching the foundational components that make our society function.  Please be respectful to all by not hoarding, and only purchase what is necessary for your family.  Be kind to others and respect their space, and be understanding that all our community is feeling anxiety to the situation and have compassion and empathy.  Understand and be patient with our governmental institutions and private entities that are working hard to make better outcomes as all resources are currently very limited.  Lastly, verify what you read or hear about the virus against credible health information as provided by credible institutions.  You may visit WhatcomCOVID.com where you will find information from Centers of Disease Control, State Health Department and Whatcom County Health Department as well as COVID 19 related proclamations and updates.

Rod Topel, Fire Chief South Whatcom Fire Authority

Temporary Suspension of Public Meeting Room Use and Public Events

posted Mar 13, 2020, 10:19 AM by Rod Topel

The South Whatcom Fire Authority takes its mission of maintaining a state of readiness to protect our community through provision of effective and efficient fire and life safety services very seriously.  And it is the dedication to maintain our readiness that we find it necessary to temporarily suspend the openness of our facilities to the public during the public health emergency of the COVID 19 virus spread.  Effective today, Friday March 13, we are suspending indefinitely the use of our facilities to the public.  This decision is made both to protect the public and our first responders by limiting potential and unnecessary exposure to COVID 19.   

This suspension applies to the use of our community rooms for non essential community room use, station tours, public CPR classes, and large public events such as our spring pancake feed.

We further encourage you to follow CDC and Whatcom Department of Health best practices to mitigate the spread of virus:

1.     Wash your hands regularly throughout the day, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.  Wash hands with soap and water for minimum 20 seconds.  If no water/soap is available, use a minimum 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 20 seconds.

2.     Stay away (6 feet minimum) from anyone coughing or sneezing.

3.     Stay home if you are sick.

SWFA Email Addresses Change!

posted Mar 11, 2020, 5:27 PM by Mitch Nolze

Today, we transitioned to a new email and office suite system to be more consistent with best practices, and to make it easier to reach us.

Our new email addresses now match our website and end with "@swrfa.org".  

For more information or to obtain the email address of a frequent contact of yours, contact our office at info@swrfa.org or by phone (360-676-8080).

Volunteer Firefighter/EMT Process Now OPEN

posted Mar 9, 2020, 3:14 PM by Mitch Nolze

Come join our amazing team!  Our volunteer recruitment period is now OPEN for the fall fire academy and EMT class.

Visit our Employment & Volunteering page for more information, and to apply!

Free Community CPR Classes - Spring 2020 (Further Registrations are temporarily on Hold)

posted Feb 19, 2020, 1:25 PM by Mitch Nolze   [ updated Mar 12, 2020, 1:27 PM by Rod Topel ]

South Whatcom Fire Authority will continue to hold citizen CPR classes.  

The classes will be held on Monday, March 16; Wednesday, April 15; Monday, May 18.

Each class will be held in the Geneva Fire Station, 4518 Cable Street and will be 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  Class is free to residents in SWFA, and the class is $20.00 for non-residents on a space available basis.  Training includes CPR, use of AED, and relief of choking.  Certification card will be issued upon request, upon completion of the class.  To register, click on the register here link below.  For questions, contact Erica at elittlewood@whatcomes.org.

REGISTER HERE

Career Firefighter Hiring List Announcement

posted Feb 19, 2020, 7:07 AM by Mitch Nolze   [ updated Feb 19, 2020, 7:08 AM ]

South Whatcom Fire Authority will be opening an application process to establish an eligibility list for hiring entry level firefighters.


Visit our Career Firefighter Announcement Page for more information.

SWFA Board of Fire Commissioners January Work Session and Regular Meeting

posted Dec 16, 2019, 9:00 AM by Rod Topel

SOUTH WHATCOM FIRE AUTHORITY

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

 BOARD WORK SESSION and REGULAR MEETING

 NOTICE

 There will be a Board Work Session of the South Whatcom Fire Authority Board of Fire Commissioners Followed by the Board of Commissioners Regular Business Meeting

 Thursday, January 16, 2020

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Work Session

3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Regular Meeting

 Geneva Fire Station

4518 Cable Street

The purpose of the work session is to discuss the Capital Facility Planning.

 Regularly scheduled Board Meetings for 2020 shall be on the following dates and held at 4518 Cable Street, at 3:00 p.m.. 2020 Regular Board Meeting Dates:

Thursday, January 16

Thursday, February 13

Thursday, March 12

Thursday, April 16

Thursday, May 14

Thursday, June 11

Thursday, July 16

Thursday, August 13

Thursday, September 10

Thursday, October 15

Thursday, November 12

Thursday, December 10

Public CPR Courses Continuing through Winter Months

posted Nov 18, 2019, 8:29 AM by Rod Topel   [ updated Dec 2, 2019, 12:07 PM ]

Four new CPR Course offerings:

South Whatcom Fire Authority will be holding citizen CPR classes this fall and winter.  The classes will be held on Wednesday, December 04; Wednesday, January 15; Wednesday February 12 and Monday, March 16.   Each class will be held in the Geneva Fire Station, 4518 Cable Street and will be 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  Class is free to residents in SWFA, and the class is $20.00 for non residents on a space available basis.  Training includes CPR, use of AED, and relief of choking.  Certification card will be issued upon request upon completion of the class.  To register, click on the register here link below.  For questions, contact Erica at elittlewood@whatcomes.org.

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