From a March 31, 2020, Everett Fire Department news release.
Snohomish County fire service agencies are working together in their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Collaboration started more than a month ago with fire chiefs sharing information in daily video conference calls with key staff, Snohomish County 911 and Dr. Eric Cooper, Medical Program Director for Snohomish County Emergency Medical Services.
Now fire service agencies have taken the next step by establishing a Fire Coordination Center to provide unified tracking, planning and response to the outbreak.
Participating agencies are the Arlington Fire Department, Everett Fire Department, Marysville Fire District, Mukilteo Fire Department, North County Regional Fire Authority, Paine Field Airport Fire Department, Snohomish County Fire District 7, South County Fire, and Tulalip Bay Snohomish County Fire District 15.
Together, these departments serve about 680,000 residents, nearly 83% of the county’s population.
“Throughout this extraordinary response to COVID-19, the Snohomish County fire agencies have worked together to meet the evolving needs of our communities,” said Mukilteo Fire Chief Chris Alexander, president of the Snohomish County Fire Chiefs Association.
He went on to say, “From personal protective equipment to response protocols to data tracking, our departments are doing amazing work together as one. The Fire Coordination Center is the next step in that cooperative effort to work together and prepare for any eventualities this crisis may present.”
“The dedicated professionals from multiple departments will be evaluating all possible options to maintain the highest level of service possible throughout the county,” he added.
Other fire chiefs echoed this need for cooperation.
“This historic pandemic sweeping across the world and here locally has required historic cooperation and coordination of first responders. Everett Fire has proudly joined all our neighbors to collaborate on solutions to keep our firefighters and the public safe. Answering the call, even for a pandemic is part of our mission: We’re here for you,” said Everett Fire Chief Dave DeMarco.
“When Snohomish County residents dial 911, they look past the color of our uniforms, the patches on our shoulders and the logos on our apparatus. They just want help and they want it quickly. Our communities depend upon our essential fire and emergency medical services. Working together when we can just makes good sense,” said South County Fire Interim Chief Thad Hovis.
Marysville Fire Chief Martin McFalls said, “We know we can better serve all of our communities by working together and combining resources. We’re committed to doing everything it takes to keep firefighters and the public safe.”
“Given the response challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that we come together as a team to provide the best service to our citizens. I am encouraged by all of the agencies working together,” said Snohomish County Fire District 7 Chief Kevin O’Brien.
Arlington Fire Chief Dave Kraski and North County Regional Fire Authority Chief John Cermak said in a joint statement, “This disaster does not recognize governmental boundaries and we are taking the same approach. We couldn’t have been as successful addressing this event as individual agencies. We have joined together to support one another, reduce duplication and be most efficient in responding to this complex incident.”