South Whidbey Fire/EMS (SWFE) is an all-hazards fire and rescue department serving all people on Whidbey Island south of Mutiny Bay Rd. Our organization is driven by the values of INTEGRITY, SERVICE, and TRUST. We are a combination full-time and volunteer department covering an average of 2,800 calls a year over 66 square miles. The area has a permanent population of 15,000, however the daily effective population is approximately 25,000. In 2018 the city of Langley received a fire insurance rating of 6, while the unincorporated area of our district was rated at 7.
On December 4, 1950, Island County Fire Protection District #3 was established. Later becoming South Whidbey Fire Rescue, the types of incidents began to change, and increase. In the early 2000s, vehicle accidents required the establishment of a rescue team, that worked regionally with other teams to improve skills and develop modern techniques. By 2014, South Whidbey Fire/EMS responded to more than 2,000 calls a year, mostly medical. In July 2016, the increase in call volume caused the department to hire the first part time firefighters for weekday daytime coverage. In May 2019, the International Association of Firefighters established Local #5212, the first part-time local in the United States or Canada.
In 2021, South Whidbey Fire/EMS answered 2,800 calls for service including EMS, fires, marine and technical rescues.