Since May of 2015, the Fire Departments for the cities of Camas and Washougal have been functionally consolidated through an inter-local agreement between the two cities. Under this agreement, both departments operate under one chief and combine all operational staffing in an effort to improve efficiency and lower expenditures.
There are currently forty-eight firefighters, one chief, two division chiefs, one deputy fire marshal, four battalion chiefs, and two administrative assistants at CWFD. All line firefighters are either EMT/IV Technicians or EMT/Paramedics and have high levels of training in fire suppression. The department is also supported by 16 trained volunteer firefighters.
Under current labor contract language, minimum staffing levels for the department are 11 personnel per shift. When a scheduled staff member is unable to work a shift, the department must pull in unscheduled personnel. The unscheduled staff coverage often results in overtime for the personnel who fill the empty slot.
These overtime costs represent approximately 8% of the total Fire and EMS budgets. Staffing costs in total represent 84% of the Fire/EMS budget.
Cross-staffing of Station 42 in the Grass Valley area has presented one of the largest challenges since it was built in 2001. This station responds to medical calls more than 80% of the time, leaving the Station 42 fire engine without staffing for the duration of the medical call.
With medical calls growing, this is requiring other units from Camas, Washougal, and Vancouver to cover fire calls or other medical calls with increasing frequency.