Benton County Fire District 1 is considering asking the citizens who live or are served inside it's boundaries to pass a levy that would be used to purchase and staff two ambulance units.

According to information released Tuesday, officials say EMS response times are often too long because sometimes the District has to rely on what is called mutual aid. That means ambulance units from Kennewick or other areas have to handle a District 1 call.

By getting two of their own units, officials say response times, in some cases, would be within minutes. Officials say they've heard from a lot of constituents who support the idea. One of them is Dawn Senger, who lives with her husband in Finley. During the winter, she slipped on some ice, fell, and cracked some ribs. Due to mutual aid, she had to wait 20 minutes for a unit to arrive.

The cost of the levy would be $.50 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value of homes in the District.  There will be informational meetings coming up on the following dates:

  • March 20 at the Rancho Reata Fire station, 7704 S. Bermuda Road  6:30pm
  • April 3rd at the Finley Fire Station, 30004 Finley Road at 6:30pm
  • April 17th, 9am at the District headquarters, 7511 West Arrowhead Kennewick

Following public input, the District will decide at their meeting April 17th whether to place the levy on the August Primary Ballot.

Last year, the District responded to 1,516 emergency calls, of which 55% were EMS related. Officials say 90 percent of these require transportation of a patient to an area hospital.

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