Letter: Robust fire department crucial on the North End

Letter to the Editor


New North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief John Clark brought with him the useful concept of a citizens advisory committee.

Chief Clark advertised and implemented NWFR’s first citizens advisory committee for the fire district — which is separate from the Oak Harbor fire department that does not service Island County. The advisory committee consists of seven volunteers, who were all interviewed before being accepted to help advise NWFR on near- and long-term fire and rescue issues.

The current committee members volunteered to serve for at least one year. The committee consists of four men and three women. Four of the members have fire department experience, ranging from five to 32 years, serving from volunteer to chief.

Committee members are Patty Cole, Chris Geiger, Cathy Lemon, Teri Jo Summer-Reiger, Richard Rivers, Steve Schwalbe and Richard Svendsen.

The committee meets once a week to discuss issues assigned by Chief Clark. His top priority now is the upcoming vote on the fire levy lid lift, an increase in Island County property taxes to fund critical fire district equipment. Given the annual fires, such as the recent ones in Eastern Washington, ensuring we have a robust fire department in North Whidbey is critical, especially given the amount of forest area involved.

The committee will brief Chief Clark monthly on near-term issues, such as the needed levy lid lift and longer-term issues such as fire station locations.

Any insights or questions for the citizen committee, please email to Steve Schwalbe at ColSchwalbe@gmail.com.

Please also visit the NWFR/CAC website on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Citizen -Advisory-Committee-for-North-Whidbey-Fire-Rescue-103886318129295.

Steve Schwalbe

Oak Harbor

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