RFA report shows good growth and met goals

Local firefighters are seeing more calls, higher ratings

Renton Fire Chief Rick Marshall

Renton Fire Chief Rick Marshall

Firefighters in Renton kept the fires back, and took some steps to improve their services last year.

Renton Regional Fire Authority (RFA) has released their 2018 report, detailing the numbers and ratings of the services they’ve offered to Renton, and what they accomplished with their $37.7 million operating budget.

The Public Protection Class rating was upgraded from a class three to a class two in 2018, putting the fire authority in the top 5 percent of fire and life safety agencies in the U.S.

This factors into insurance premiums and means property owners saw savings in their insurance premiums for 2019, according to the report.

Renton RFA credits the upgraded rating to its creation, when voters agreed to separate the fire authority from the city in 2016.

Being able to get the funding needed to improve their resources from the Renton RFA Governance Board helped offer higher property fire protections, Fire Chief Rick Marshall stated in the report.

The property tax rate for Renton homeowners increased when the Renton Regional Fire Authority separated its taxing from the city. In 2018, the fire authority tax rate was increased at $100 per $100,000 of assessed value, as well as a fire benefit charge related to the size of the building and hazards associated with it.

The Renton RFA also completely separated from the City of Renton finance department, and moved its offices out of city hall and into Fire Station 13, the final moves for the Renton RFA going out on its own.

“While leasing space was an option, how we utilize taxpayer funds to maximize our value to the community is always at the forefront,” Marshall stated in his message in the fire report. “By strategizing around out existing space, our long-term savings potential is significant.”

The 2018 year also included the fast construction, equipping and staffing of Fire Station 15, which will service the Kennydale area and parts of Interstate 405. Twelve new firefighters also started training for Renton RFA.

The numbers

Renton RFA responded to 22,840 calls in 2018.

The fire station had an almost 400 more responses over 2017, but the distribution between fire stations was roughly the same. This year, Fire Station 11, in downtown Renton handled 26 percent of the responses, with fire stations 12 and 13 coming in second both at around 20 percent.

About 5 percent of calls were responded to by someone out of the area.

Of those responses, 70 percent were emergency medical incidents, or 15,981 incidents. The second highest call was false alarms, at 11 percent, or 2,552 calls. Fires were only 6 percent of incidents, or 1,464.

Over half of the fires in 2018 were either structure fires, 37 percent, or brush fires, 24 percent.

Investigations of fires increased in 2018, and the report states this was due to training.

Fire Marshall Anjela Barton stated in an email that as three Deputy Fire Marshalls had just completed certification training, they wanted to provide more hands-on opportunities, which meant investigating fires they wouldn’t normally investigate.

About 13 new employees started with Renton RFA, one a public educator, and 16 employees either retired or separated.

More information on the 2018 annual report, as well as 2017 and 2016, is available at rentonrfa.com/annual-reports.

More in News

File photo
$30 car tab proposal returns to ballot in November

Tim Eyman-led initiative would restrict car tabs and transportation benefit districts in Washington.

File photo
King County alcohol production ordinance could be approved by year’s end

Update to county code has been more than a year in the making.

Bring Fido and a can of food to support local animal shelters

“You Lucky Dog!” is more than an expression, it’s an event in… Continue reading

Renton Schools Foundation to host gala

To celebrate 10 years and welcome a new executive director, the Renton… Continue reading

Carol Ann Witschi
Witschi’s seat to stay vacant till election

Renton City Council has decided to leave councilmember Carol Ann Witschi’s seat… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Faith-Maria, a third grader at St. Anthony Elementary School in Renton, asked Make-a-Wish to share her wish with her school, which resulted in two new smart boards. Faith-Maria with her family at the unveiling, Sept. 12.
A selfless wish for Renton schools

Faith-Maria Nguyen uses Make-A-Wish to provide school a smart board

Photo by Haley Ausbun. RESP union members attended the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting to make their story heard as they continue to negotiate for a new contract with the district.
Union leader: ‘Give us what we deserve’

Update: Paraprofessionals and staff have reached a tentative agreement with the Renton School District

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Photo left to right: David Rodriguez, Tony Ventrella, Rachel Chronister, Marla Veliz, Reagan Dunn, and Gavin Hunt at the Sept. 10 ribbon cutting for the New Horizon School van, gifted by King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn through the retired van program.
County van to increase New Horizon’s inclusivity

A vehicle gifted to a school for students with learning disabilities will support outreach

Photo by Haley Ausbun. Tiffany Park Elementary School teachers and parents hold up signs before the Sept. 11 Renton School Board meeting, over the loss of a fourth grade classroom that reorganized the fourth and fifth graders at the school.
Teacher changes shake up parents’ confidence in Renton schools

A quick staffing change and classroom switch has parents questioning Renton School District

Most Read