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Meet the Fire Chief
Oak Harbor City Council confirmed Ray Merrill as Fire Chief on March 20, 2012. Chief Merrill's message from the 2021 Annual Report (PDF):
The City of Oak Harbor is fortunate to have our dedicated staff. Your Fire Department is comprised of 11 career firefighters (including myself), 1 administrative assistant and approximately 32 paid on call firefighters. This type of combination staffing has saved the City's General Fund hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. All our members are dedicated, enthusiastic, and passionate about their involvement with the department.
2021 was a year of change and challenge for us. We continued to restructure and improve our methods of operation, changes in the way we responded to medical calls, canceling numerous activities, and revising our daily operations. We restricted CPR/First-Aid classes, but those are returning in 2022. We revised the annual Fire and Life Safety inspection procedures. We also continued to cancel large gatherings of our personnel. With all of that being done we were fortunate to have just a few confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the department.
During 2021, four recruit firefighters attended the fire department's internal fire academy. Three graduated from the spring academy, spending over 160 hours of classroom training and hands-on skills to become a Nationally certified firefighter. They continue to learn new skills, tasks and obtain required certifications.
Four members attended the Washington State Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and became Nationally Certified EMTs. This is a 180-hour course on emergency medical care.
2022 and beyond, as growth has taken place and the city has formulated a plan for a fire station in the southwest quadrant of the city. Parts of the plan include how to fund not just the construction costs but the ongoing cost to provide for 24-7 staffing. An element of the long-range plan also includes fire apparatus. Two of our fire engines are 23 years old and are due for replacement within the next 2 years. This plan includes a voter approved levy lid lift for maintenance and operations and an excess levy for capital improvements. Both will be on the November 2022 ballot. More information will be forthcoming via social media, outreach programs, and informational flyers.
The report also details our response times, incidents responded to, and general fire department information.
In closing I would be remised in not thanking all the members of this great fire department. They do an outstanding job and are available when required. We have a great team -here to serve, protect, and keep the citizens and visitors of Oak Harbor safe.
Please feel free to contact me at 360-279-4701 or stop by the fire station should you have any questions, concerns, or input. We are here to serve the public.