WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — Fire Captain Ed Dunbar from Benton County District 4 said his team is the first line of defense for almost 20,000 of their neighbors, with another 9,000 expected over the next few years.
He said more neighbors means more calls for help.
These days he said it takes 17 minutes just to get to callers at the far corners of their district.
That's why Dunbar said this bond is important.
17 minutes is a long time to wait for help, whether your house is on fire or your child isn't breathing: it can make or break the outcome.
"But if we had a station in the area, if we could get there in five minutes," said Capt. Dunbar. "We could start that treatment 12 minutes sooner. That's 12 minutes of damage that's not occurring."
Authorities admit they just asked for a levy last November.
But back then, voters were electing to keep the firehouse's bills paid.
Levies are for short-term and day-to-day expenses.
Bonds are for buildings or other, one-time expenses Dunbar said they don't have extra funds for.
The District's newest station was built 20 years ago to keep up with growth.
Since then, Dunbar said their call volume has doubled as folks continue building west of the Tri-Cities.
"It's not about the fire department growing for its own sake," he said. "We're growing because the community is growing."
And that's why they're asking voters to support the bond.
Dunbar said in the long run it's worth it, even though most folks only call 911 a few times in their life.
"You really want us to be the best prepared, best trained, best equipped fire department for that one bad day that you have in your life," he said.
Capt. Dunbar said if the bond passes, property owners can expect to pay an additional $2 and some change each month for every $100 thousand of assessed property value.
Because they want feedback, a special commissioner meeting is happening and questions are welcome.
This in addition to their 6 p.m. meetings on the first and third Thursday of the month in Prosser.