As is true for everyone, this has been a challenging year for us. We greatly appreciate the care and concern that you have shown us as we all have coped with the COVID pandemic. We also appreciate the steps you have taken to protect yourselves, which makes our job easier.

We are planning for reopening to the public and transitioning staff back into the offices, all while being as safe as possible. We follow guidance from the State for reopening and hope to have in person Board of Commissioner meetings again soon. We are on track resolving many of the issues we raised in support of the levy lift you voted for. We anticipate hiring our first full-time firefighters this summer. We will convert our eight part-time firefighters to full-time and hire one additional Lieutenant and three firefighters. We are in the midst of our hiring process and hope to have our newest members in place by August 1st.

We have also applied for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER) through the federal government to help with the increased costs to the overall budget by hiring more employees. While our chances are good, these competitive grants are no sure thing. If unsuccessful, we will continue to find ways to reduce costs and reallocate funds to help cover these important needs. For information about our short and long term goals, and progress in our Strategic Plan, please visit our website at www.swfe.org. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress and appreciate hearing your ideas and concerns. Please visit our website to learn more, or contact me at 360-321-1533 or chief@swfe.org with questions.

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