The majority of requests for service of the Camas-Washougal Fire Department are for emergency medical services. This is not exclusive to CWFD, it mirrors Fire Department statistics nationally. In 2015, the northwest experienced a particularly long, dry summer which skewed the ratio a few points, but in 2016, we returned to our traditional ratio of EMS calls being over 80% of our call volume.

Revenue Sources

The department derives funding primarily from a few key sources: general fund subsidy, property taxes/EMS levies, and charges for ambulance service.
One thing to note is the large portion of revenues represented by shared costs. These are based on the partnership between the cities of Camas and Washougal to share a consolidated Fire Department. Washougal's sources of funding would be very similar to Camas.

Ambulance Billing

Nationally, ambulance revenues have varied drastically over the years due to changes in federal Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. When call volume and transports go up, the reasonable inference is that revenues should go up as well. While revenues will often trend upwards with increasing call volumes, write-offs increase at an even more substantial rate. Unfortunately we are forbidden by federal law, as are all ambulance providers, to bill a patient above and beyond what Medicare or Medicaid determine is their allowable rate. Since the majority of our patients are covered by one of these federal programs, over 90% of our write-offs signify money that can never be recovered.

Call Locations

CWFD provides ambulance transport primarily for the cities of Camas and Washougal and the fire district of East County Fire and Rescue. This is facilitated through written agreement between the stated entities. EMS services are also provided to the City of Vancouver, EMS District 2, North Country EMS, and Skamania County through mutual aid agreements. 96% of EMS calls were within the boundaries of Camas, Washougal and ECFR, while 4% of calls were mutual aid calls outside of this service area. 

What happens on a fire call?

In 2015, The Columbian reporter Emily Gillespie worked with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department on a training burn. Emily was able to see, firsthand, some of what our firefighters experience during a fire. Watch her experience here: