Hoquiam Fire Department getting new equipment, consolidation report completed

The Hoquiam Fire Department is getting new equipment, and the cities of Aberdeen and Hoquiam are within days of getting their hands on a long-awaited study of the possibility of merging both departments into a regional fire authority.

Consolidation report

At Monday’s Hoquiam City Council meeting, Ward 3 Councilwoman Shannon Patterson asked about the progress of a study into the feasibility of merging the Aberdeen and Hoquiam fire departments into a regional fire authority. City Administrator Brian Shay said the study had been completed and was sent to the printer the previous week, and should be available to both councils, mayors and city staff in the next couple of weeks.

The $46,000 study by Emergency Services Consulting International, the firm that did the study prior to the formation of the South Beach Regional Fire Authority in 2017, was approved by both cities a year ago. The cost of the study was split equally between both cities.

Shay said the bulk of the study is a compilation of the data the firm pulled from both cities and fire departments. He said the study lists about four options and its preferred option as to whether it would be beneficial to combine both fire departments into one fire authority.

The cities have a lengthy history of cooperation between fire departments, and currently use the services of Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard, who splits Hoquiam duties with Assistant Fire Chief Rich Malizia. This has been the arrangement since Hoquiam Fire Chief Paul Dean retired last October.

While the options in the report are not known at this time, generally the study pulls together information about equipment, personnel, response times and other known numbers from each fire department to see if the merging of the two would be beneficial to the cities and their residents. Options could be to consolidate departments, creation of a new fire district or maintaining the status quo.

The report will be made public when available, and Shay said the city will be scheduling meetings with the Aberdeen City Council, mayor and staff to discuss the results. There will also be public meetings where comments will be accepted before a decision is made on the best option for both cities. Information on these public meetings, and copies of the report itself, will be made public once the cities have the reports in hand.

Power Load System

Hoquiam Mayor Jasmine Dickhoff announced the city had received a $50,000 grant from the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which will be used to purchase two new cardiac monitors, to replace the older models currently used. She thanked Hoquiam Fire Department Capt. Brandon Ray and others in the department who put together the winning grant evaluation.

Power Load Gurney System

The City Council approved the purchase of a power load system for the department’s Stryker Power Load gurneys. The system will be installed in the ambulance currently being re-chassised by Braun NW.

Aberdeen Fire Department Assistant Chief Rich Malizia told the council the system reduces the amount of strain on both patient and responder when loading patients into emergency vehicles. The system will be placed in the re-chassised ambulance to streamline the system’s installation process.

The cost of the system is $24,746.71. Only one bid was received for the system, as it’s compatible with the gurneys the department currently uses. The council unanimously approved the purchase.