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Introduction

In 2004, the Washington Fire Chiefs (WFC) led a legislative effort to provide fire districts, municipalities and tribal nations the ability to “formally” join together in the provision of fire and emergency services. This ability had formerly been available via mergers (between fire districts); annexations (by cities into fire districts, or by cities of unincorporated territory previously protected by fire districts); through interlocal agreements or contractual consolidations (between any set of entities related to specific operational items like “training”, “administrative services”, or for entire department operations); and joint powers agreements (basically an agreement allowing entities to share resources and authority via a contractual arrangement). All of these “tools” are still available to the fire service and used by many agencies. A new “tool” in the tool kit, adopted by the State Legislature in 2004, is the Regional Fire Authority (RFA).

 

The RFA, is a municipal corporation which allows fire districts, municipalities (city departments), or tribal nations to join together for the provision of fire and emergency services. The RFA can combine fire districts to fire district; city to city; fire district to city; or any combination one can think of. Organized under Title 52 of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington), the RFA operates very similar to that of a fire district (also organized under the auspices of Title 52 RCW. The RFA has its strengths built around the formation of a “planning committee”, who establishes the vision, operational aspects, and funding methodology for the RFA prior to taking it to the ballot for citizens in all affected areas to determine if the RFA is right for them. The RFA can combine entire fire departments (as stated earlier, in various combinations); or, it can be used to establish operational guidelines and a funding mechanism for subsets of fire departments such as “Hazardous Materials RFA”, “Paramedic/ALS Service RFA”, “Training RFA”, etc. While the RFA is still considered a new tool in the fire service tool kit, its advantages will be seen over the years as different methodologies and uses of the RFA come to pass.

 

In a joint venture, the Washington Fire Chiefs (WFC) and the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters (WSCFF) have developed this implementation guide to assist agencies in determining if the RFA is right for them; then, if that determination is made in the positive, how to initiate the RFA process.

RFA GUIDE COMMITTEE

Jim Walkowski, Fire Chief 
East Jefferson Fire & Rescue                

 Craig Soucy7th District
  Washington State Council of Fire Fighters

Rick Marshall, Fire Chief
Renton Regional Fire Authority  

Keven Rojecki, 9th District
Washington State Council of Fire Fighters

FAQ's

Where can I learn more about the law that allows the RFA?

Posted: Nov 27, 2018
Categories: FAQs
Comments: 0
Recent changes to state law now allow the process of forming an RFA, RCW 52.26 (http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=52.26)
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