Opportunities — Join Our Team!
Frequently asked questions
Does NKF&R bill for services?
NKF&R only bills for ambulance transports. There is never a bill for emergency response. Revenue from the district’s emergency medical services property tax levy funds the cost of first response to medical incidents. But the levy doesn’t provide enough to fund the additional costs associated with ambulance transports. To provide transport services, we must purchase and maintain ambulances as well as stock and staff them. Although billing revenue doesn’t cover all of these additional expenses, we recover some of the costs by billing patients’ health insurers. Many fire departments don’t provide any ambulance transport at all and avoid the cost of operating ambulance by providing first response to medical incidents from fire engines. In those areas, for-profit ambulance companies provide transport services at much higher rates than ours. Furthermore, private companies’ collection policies are far more severe. At NKF&R, we don’t send anyone to collections and we work with patients to ensure that our efforts at cost-recovery don’t cause financial hardship.
Why does a fire truck and an ambulance go to a medical call?
You’re not alone in wondering about that; it’s a common question – and we’re glad to have the opportunity to answer it! There are several reasons why you might see both ambulances and fire engines at aid calls. First of all, it’s important to note that nearly all of our response personnel are certified at the emergency medical technician (EMT) level or higher. Even our fire engines carry essential medical equipment such as heart monitors and oxygen. In fact, there are only two things that an engine and its crew can’t provide: transport to the hospital and advanced life support (or paramedic) services. Since it’s our goal to get the closest available unit to an incident as quickly as possible, often times, that unit may be a fire engine. There’s another reason why an engine might respond on a medical call. Our ambulances carry a crew of two – an EMT and a paramedic, or two EMTs. Critical incidents – cardiac arrests, unconscious patients, many heart attacks, some strokes, uncontrolled bleeding, etc – may require more personnel than are provided with a single ambulance. Engines may respond to provide additional crew for critical or complicated calls.
What are the Washington state requirements for carbon monoxide detection?
The Washington State Building Code Council web site has a page containing links to the current laws and regulations governing carbon monoxide detection. For guidance on the precise location for installing carbon monoxide alarms, we suggest referring to the product manufacturer’s recommendations.
Do you accept used hypodermic needles and other medical waste?
We cannot accept sharps or other medical waste, but Kitsap County Public Works has an informative flyer to direct you to appropriate disposal sites.
Where can I dispose of unwanted medications?
This webpage allows you to find the closest disposal location. The site even offers the option to mail in unused medications.
How does NKF&R determine when to fly its fire station flags at half-staff?
There is no legal prohibition against lowering our fire station flags to half-staff when we wish to show respect or mourning. However, NKF&R has made it a policy to lower flags to half-staff only upon proclamation by the President of the United States or the Governor of the State of Washington, as outlined in the sources cited here. Should the Fire Chief choose to make an exception to this policy in an unusual circumstance such as a local line-of-duty death, the district will provide an explanation of the exception to both the traditional media as well as via social media.
How can I thank your crews for their help?
Our members cannot accept cash, cash-equivalents (such as gift cards) or other items of value for personal use in exchange for or in appreciation of services we provide. Although we’re truly grateful for the gestures, any cash or cash-equivalents received by our members are required to be forwarded to our Community Partnership Fund for redistribution to people who have suffered a loss or are otherwise in need.
To best express appreciation to our crews, consider the following alternatives (starting with our favorites):
- Tell your friends and family and/or write a letter to the editor about your experience
- Post a note on our Facebook page
- Schedule a visit to meet with the crew personally
- Send a letter or card
- Make a donation in honor of NKF&R Firefighters to your favorite local charity
- Make a donation to our Community Partnership Fund
- Make a donation to our Household Fund
- Make a donation to our General Fund