By Heather Chadwick, Snohomish County Fire District 7 Public Information Officer, January 2, 2020.
On January 1, 2020, Lake Stevens Fire and Snohomish County Fire District 7 officially merged agencies. The new district serves over 162,000 people over 140 square miles and is dedicated to saving lives, protecting property, and taking care of people in a fiscally responsible manner.
We serve the cities of Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, and Monroe, along with the unincorporated areas surrounding these communities. In 2019, our emergency personnel responded to more than 17,000 emergency calls.
Through community support, we have built one of the most advanced emergency response systems in Snohomish County with highly-trained personnel, facilities, apparatus, and progressive rescue programs.
We appreciate your support and are grateful for the opportunity to serve our community.
During the August 2019 Primary Election, voters in Lake Stevens Fire approved merging with Snohomish County Fire District 7 by almost 80 percent. Merging two fire agencies involves several steps and officials from the combined fire agency want to make sure both communities stay informed.
Emergency Services – The most important thing to know is that emergency services will continue at the same level and quality. The merger will improve firefighter training. It will also better the fire district’s ability to respond to large-scale emergencies. All of which translate to better service for the public.
Agency Name – The newly formed agency is currently working on renaming the Fire District. The new name will be representative of the communities that it serves.
Finalizing the Merger – Election results were certified by Washington State on August 20, 2019. The Board of Fire Commissioners of both fire districts passed Resolution 2019-16. This resolution finalized the merger and became effective January 1, 2020.
Governance – Effective January 1st, members from both boards represent and serve as fire commissioners for the new Fire District 7. Through the election process, the number of fire commissioners will be reduced to five. Any resident who lives in former Lake Stevens Fire or Fire District 7 can run for these positions.
Tax Rate – Property owners in both fire districts will not see a change in their tax rate. On January 1, 2021, the tax rates will combine but will not exceed the legally allowed amount of $2.00 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
(Editor's note: City of Mill Creek property owners pay for fire and EMS through their City of Mill Creek property taxes, not a separate Fire District 7 tax.)
Personnel – The two District's started working to combine administrative functions in 2019. Fire District 7’s Fire Chief Gary Meek is retiring on January 15, 2020. Chief Kevin O’Brien from former Lake Stevens Fire will assume the role of Fire Chief of the merged agency. All firefighters and paramedics will continue their employment with Fire District 7. They will operate out of the local fire stations.
Facilities & Apparatus – All fire stations, apparatus and equipment owned by Lake Stevens Fire will continue to be used to respond to emergency calls for the community. The Administration Building for non-emergent public help is located at 953 Village Way, Monroe WA 98272. Office hours are from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The office closes for lunch. The main office can be reached during business hours at 360-794-7666 or 425-486-1217.
Fire Prevention, Life Safety & Community Events – Fire District 7 will continue to take part in community events in Lake Stevens. Our mission is to educate on fire prevention and life safety issues. These events include (but are not limited to) community events, (Fire Department Open Houses, National Night out against Crime, etc.), parades, and working with local schools and civic groups. Please visit the website to submit a request for Fire District 7 to present fire and life safety information or to take part in a community event.
New Fire Chief O’Brien also would like an opportunity to introduce himself to community service organizations or groups. Please contact the Public Information Officer, Heather Chadwick at (360) 282-3962 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a presentation.
Contact Information – In an emergency, please dial 911. The non-emergency number for Fire District 7 will be (360) 794-7666.