How will RFA use the funds?

Passage of Proposition 1 will enable RFA’s revenue to keep up with inflation and ever-increasing demands for service. That revenue will also fund innovative recruiting, prevention, and community healthcare programs.

Proposition 1 will ensure RFA can meet these critical needs:

Career Staffing

RFA needs to maintain current and develop increased emergency response capabilities by investing in personnel. Proposition 1 funding will restore career FF/EMS responder staffing to 2013-era levels. This staffing level was lost due to the loss of funding from the devaluation of TransAlta. 28 total career FF/EMS responders will staff RFA's 4-shift system. Responders are divided into 4 shifts. Each shift lasts 24 hours. Therefore, it takes 28 responders in total to staff 7 responders to each of the 4 shifts. In 2013, the RFA responded to 4105 emergencies, which is 15% less than the 4879 responses of 2023.

Volunteer Staffing

RFA relies on a cadre of highly trained volunteer FF/EMS responders to maintain service levels throughout the community. 6 out of the RFA’s 8 stations are staffed exclusively by volunteers. The RFA received a federal grant to improve its ability to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters. That funding will expire in 2025. Proposition 1 will allow this program to continue and expand to assure an adequate number of volunteer firefighters and support personnel are recruited and retained. Since this recruitment & retention program was initiated, 25 new recruits have been added to its pool of volunteer firefighters.

Funding will continue to support a full-time administrative position to manage all recruiting and retention aspects of the program. This includes outreach, coordination of the application process, initial and ongoing training, communications, and program logistics.

Other volunteer program needs include equipping volunteer FF/EMS responders with personal protective equipment, costs to provide training, and volunteer participation incentives, such as education reimbursements and participation stipends. RFA’s service area spans more than 180 square miles. A robust volunteer staff is critical to providing adequate and timely incident response and tempering property owners’ hazard insurance costs.

Support Ongoing Operations

These funds will let RFA keep pace with current and evolving community needs by providing adequate financial support for both existing operations and program expansions.

Fire Prevention Programs

Fire prevention and safety programs enhanced by Proposition 1 funding can improve community livability by reducing fires and property loss throughout the RFA service area. Devastating fires continue to plague the communities we serve. Since 2018, RFA has responded to over 240 serious fire incidents that tragically caused 4 deaths, over 20 civilian injuries and more than $9M in property damage.

Enhanced public education programs can reach more people and prevent these tragedies. Absent or non-working smoke alarms are a common contributing factor in fire deaths and injuries. RFA firefighters see proof of this all too often. For example, in one two-week period, RFA responded to two house fires just a few blocks from each other. One fire resulted in six smoke inhalation victims, two of them very seriously injured. The second fire resulted in no victims. The difference? The first house had no working smoke alarms. The second house did. The residents were all healthy and safely outside when firefighters arrived. Smoke alarms are one of the most critical pieces of safety equipment in the home.

Sleeping with closed doors can slow the growth of a fire. Closed doors also help keep smoke and carbon monoxide from entering bedroom where family members are sleeping. This creates valuable time for families to escape safely as soon they hear smoke alarms sounding. These messages and others aimed at reducing injuries, loss of life, and property loss, need to be more aggressively spread throughout our community.

Proposition 1 funding will restore a third chief officer position to the RFA administration team. This chief will be assigned the duties of the fire marshal, which are currently being managed by the Fire Chief. The fire marshal will provide additional oversight and intensify daily prevention program operations. Proposition 1 funding would also support adding a part-time risk reduction specialist to assist. This position will coordinate outreach and messaging opportunities throughout the community. Primary audiences will include children in local schools and their families at community events.

Various residential, commercial, and industrial developments are planned throughout our community. Our obligation to assure buildings are being used safely creates a volume of work that requires adding a part-time inspector to support and augment the fire marshal’s duties.

This comprehensive approach to prevention is aimed at creating a safer environment throughout the community by reducing the occurrence and severity of incidents that occur.

Community Assistance Referral & Education Services (CARES)

To meet the challenges of an expanding community and associated call volume, RFA began a Community Assistance Referral & Education Services (CARES) program this year. CARES identifies the root causes why people call 9-1-1 for primary medical care. Options are designed to improve their quality of life while reducing their impact on the 9-1-1 system. The University of Washington awarded a 2-year grant to RFA to establish CARES in this area. Proposition 1 will sustain funding to continue CARES from 2026 onward. CARES programs have been implemented with great success by fire departments all across Washington. RFA is excited to offer this program that will improve people’s lives while reducing the impact and cost of high frequency medical service users.

Health & Wellness

Cancer affects a disproportionate number of firefighters every year. Comprehensive health screening for all personnel, career and volunteer, can help prevent cancer-related and other common health issues. Proposition 1 will help fund this screening.

Mental health is another ongoing focus area. Responders will have access to the tools necessary to adequately process and cope with stress caused by their work. Programs to provide resources for confidential and anonymous support are an important part of creating a healthy environment and well-being for responders.


Training is the bedrock of the fire service. Fire and EMS responses are inherently dangerous. Quality training improves firefighter safety and reduces injuries ranging from minor to fatal. Well-trained responders provide high-performing service delivery to our public. Proposition 1 will fund program enhancements to improve the delivery and quality of training to career and volunteer responders. It will maximize their efficiency when preparing for and responding to incidents. RFA has built a training facility behind our headquarters station. Proposition 1 funds will help maximize the use of this new resource by all personnel, career and volunteer. They will have new and expanded opportunities to hone their skills and practice their craft.

Funding Stability

Proposition 1 will ensure stable funding to address the challenges of increasing expenses due to inflation and equipment advancements that are evident throughout the fire service industry.


Every year the cost of maintaining eight stations, a comprehensive fleet of vehicles, equipment, and responders rises. Fuel, utilities, preventive maintenance, tires, repairs, tools, personal protective equipment, medical supplies and machines – all of these tangible necessities have increased in cost with time and inflation. Maintenance deferred means higher repair costs later and can impact the reliability of response across the service area. Proposition 1 will fund robust systems to ensure RFA resources are ready for any emergency in any area. Funds will continue to be set aside to pay for expensive capital projects like vehicle replacement and major maintenance on aging stations.