Additional staffing needed to meet growing demand for emergency services

Medical emergencies account for majority of calls; fire levy lid lift would fund a second paramedic per shift

Emergency medical service (EMS) accounts for 66 percent of all calls, but Camano Island Fire & Rescue has just one paramedic per shift to provide Advanced Life Support, which is the highest level of care a person can receive outside of a hospital setting.

Paramedics can start intravenous lines and administer lifesaving medication, provide advanced airway management to help patients breathe, and perform other lifesaving care for trauma, heart attack, stroke, and critical infections.

Having only one paramedic per shift can lead to longer response times, particularly in cases where a patient is being transported to a hospital. These transport trips can take an ambulance and its personnel out of service for as long as five hours. The additional personnel would allow Camano Fire to provide another medic unit staffed by a second paramedic per shift.

“We’re asking voters for a fire levy lid lift because our call volumes have increased 28 percent since 2017 and overlapping calls are happening more frequently, 20 percent of the time,” Fire Chief Levon Yengoyan said. “We need additional staffing to respond and reduce response times.”

If voters approve Proposition 1 in the November 7 general election, the fire levy lid lift will fund:

  • Up to six additional firefighter/EMTs or firefighter/paramedics
  • Another medic unit staffed by a second paramedic
  • Renovation of the Mabana station to allow for round-the-clock emergency response

Together these improvements will help reduce response times and improve service reliability across the island.

“Our funding comes from our fire and EMS levies,” Chief Yengoyan said. “Our levies – which people pay through their property taxes – are the only property taxes paid by residents that 100 percent stay on the island to benefit island residents.”

Camano Fire is asking voters to change the fire levy from $0.83 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.25. The $0.42 lid lift would cost the owner of a home with an assessed value of $500,000 an additional $17.50 per month or $210 per year.

Find more information about Camano Island Fire & Rescue at Chief Yengoyan also welcomes your questions at or 360-387-1512.