Benton County Fire District 1 Voters Reject EMS Levy (Additional Ambulance Units)
Despite getting 52% yes votes, the Benton County Fire District 1 levy was rejected by voters during the primary election this week. A 60% majority was required to pass.
Fire District 1, which has stations in El Rancho Reata, Finley, and headquarters on Arrowhead in Kennewick, serves 320 square miles of the county, including Rancho Reata, Finley, and south Kennewick. They cover unincorporated areas, and those not served by the city itself.
The levy would have provided 2 new ambulance units, which officials said would greatly speed up EMS (non-fire medical issues) response times. Of the 1,516 emergency calls they received in 2017, 55% were EMS related. And of those, 90% required transport of a person or persons to an area hospital.
These units would have greatly decreased response times throughout the district, sometimes when a unit is on a call, and another one comes in, people had have to wait for a Kennewick unit to respond.
Fire District Chief Lonnie E. Click issued the following statement: