Klickitat County Fire Protection District No. 3’s board of commissioners has appointed a 12-member community task force to look at the services the district is currently providing and to make recommendations for improvements, if any are needed.
The Fire District Board, by resolution, commissioned the citizen task force Monday night during a regular Fire District Board meeting at the Husum Fire Station. The task force comprises residents of the district’s three main service areas: the Snowden-Mt. Brook area, the White Salmon Urban Growth Area, and the Husum-BZ Corner corridor. The project its members agreed to take on — with the help of consultant Bob Merritt of mHc Associates — is called “a community effort to enhance Emergency Services.”
What the Fire District Board hopes to gain from this strategic planning process is a “vision” for Fire District No. 3, as well as some concrete recommendations for moving the district forward, said Fire Board Chairman Mark Zoller.
“We’ll hear the end product,” Zoller said in an address to the task force. “My encouragement to you is, don’t hold anything back. Look to the future, because that’s where we’re going.”
The task force is expected to meet five to six times, starting with its next meeting on Monday, May 20, at the Husum Fire Station, before issuing a final report to the Fire District Board this summer. The purpose of the task force, according to material presented at Monday’s subsequent orientation meeting, is “to provide independent analysis, research, and recommendations to the board through a series of informative consultations to determine and recommend: 1) a desired level of emergency preparedness and services for the community; and 2) the level at which these services should be provided.”
Merritt thanked the task force members for agreeing to be part of Fire District No. 3’s strategic planning process, who noted this effort, like many he had worked on throughout the state during his 18 years as a consultant, represented “a breakthrough for the fire service,” whose members traditionally “are poor planners” stemming from the nature of their field work — “Assess the situation, come up with a plan, then get to work.”
“Having a small, rural fire district take this level of planning on is huge, and wonderful to see,” Merritt said in his introductory remarks to the task force. “By the time we’re finished, you will know as much about how the Fire District operates as the chief and the commissioners” with the knowledge to make educated and informed recommendations on the services and levels of service the Fire District provides to its community.
Actions taken by the task force included the appointment of a chairman (Darren Nichols of White Salmon) and a vice chairman (Ann Anderson of Snowden), and setting of dates and times for the group’s remaining meetings.