Tacoma Fire Department asking for more Funding as Call Volumes Increase


Kira Doss, Reporter

The Tacoma Fire Department answered almost 50,000 calls in 2022, about 80% of those calls were responded to for medical assistance. On average, Emergency Medical Services have increased 3.1% but this year the call volumes have increased by 14% in the course of this year.

The increase in calls has stopped the proper responses taking place and the resources for the fire department increasing due to high usage and requests. The population of Tacoma has increased over the past 16 years to 220,000 residents, all of whom need access to around-the-clock, lifesaving EMS services. Over time, levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire department to a 1% increase per year or any voter-approved increase.

The amount of money the fire department receives in EMS levy funding has not increased by the same percentage as property values. To keep up with this demand, the department is petitioning legislators and voters to allow a levy increase that would give the department $0.18 more per $1,000 of assessed property value than what they are currently receiving in EMS funding. This increase would bring the EMS funding, which is separate from the rest of the funding to the voter-approved levy capped at $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value.