PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — More firefighters in Pierce County could mean more money in people’s pockets.
In 2018, voters passed a four-year $4.3 million maintenance and operations levy that allowed Graham Fire and Rescue to hire 18 new firefighters.
The money also helped the department buy a second water tender and recruit and train 14 volunteer firefighters.
“We’re definitely providing a better level of service to our citizens. They’re seeing it on the streets. We're feeling it in the stations, so this has been a win for everybody,” said Capt. Shawn Prather, with Graham Fire and Rescue.
Graham Fire and Rescue serves residents in Graham, Kapowsin, Spanaway, Puyallup and South Hill.
This year, response times are quicker, which means residents are safer.
“The feeling is humbleness and the fact we have that support from our community,” said Graham Fire and Rescue Chief Pat Dale.
The state noticed the improvement. The Washington State Surveying and Rating Bureau gave Graham Fire and Rescue one of the top safety scores in the state.
“We were re-rated from a four to a three. That puts us in the top 10-percent of fire departments rated in our state,” said Dale.
The ranking will soon save people cash.
“Always good saving money, no matter what,” said Leo Harris.
Insurance companies use the scores to determine property insurance. A higher fire protection rating means lower fire insurance premiums on homes and businesses.
“Taxes are gnarly lately, everything is taxed, it’s almost like life is taxed, so, if it helps, that’s awesome,” said Lauren Orgill.
Dale said homeowners and business owners may save close to 10-percent this summer.
With many people struggling during the coronavirus crisis, the timing couldn’t be better.
“They trust us with their tax dollars, we’ve invested that wisely in personnel and staffing and equipment and, in the long run, everyone is benefiting from that,” said Prather.
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