The Lakewood Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners voted in favor of merging with the University Place Fire Department at their meeting on Monday, January 25th. This vote comes after a joint Lakewood and University Place Fire Department committee unanimously recommended a merger of the two departments after a year long study of regionalization options. The joint committee included the Fire Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, and two members of the Board of Fire Commissioners from each department. During this study, the joint committee gained valuable insights from other local fire districts that have successfully regionalized operations, including Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, East Pierce Fire & Rescue and South King Fire & Rescue.
Currently, the Lakewood and University Place Fire Departments partner or share services in several areas, including firefighter recruitment, testing and training, vehicle maintenance, special operations and emergency call receiving/dispatching.
“We’ve had a great working relationship and the merger is a natural next step. This will allow us to provide more effective, efficient services by eliminating duplicated positions and programs, ultimately helping to contain costs,” stated Lakewood Fire Chief Ken Sharp. The Board of Fire Commissioners of the University Place Fire Department has been briefed on the merger proposal and plan to consider the issue at their Board meetings on February 2nd and February 16th.