Two commissioner positions for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue will begin new six-year terms after the Nov. 5 Kitsap County general election. Kitsap News Group recently caught up with the candidates for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Board of Commissioners to discuss the important issues.
Guy Earle, has been serving as a CKF&R commissioner since 2017. Earle is running unopposed for the Position 2 seat on the board, while current commissioner Ken Erickson and Curtis Perdue are seeking voter support in their race for the Position 4 seat.
Erickson has been a fire commissioner since 2000 and started with CKF&R in 2003. He is a former federal government worker and has been an adjunct professor with Olympic College since 2000, teaching physics to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard apprentices. He graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Physical Metallurgy and currently volunteers as a CKF&R Chaplain.
Perdue currently manages the Trident Training Facility Fire Fighter Training program at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor for the United States Navy and Fidelity Technologies Corporation. He started as a seasonal firefighter for the Jackson County, Oregon Fire District before joining the U.S. Navy Submarine Force in 1980 as a Sonar Technician.
Both candidates agreed that improving department infrastructure is one of the first priorities for CKF&R.
“We have some aging structures,” Erickson said. “We need to look at those and try to come up with something that meets the 2019 vision of what a fire engine’s needs are in a building. The newest version has you drive the engine in from one side and you drive it out on the other side so it’s always pointed out ready to go.”
“There is some aging infrastructure that needs to be addressed,” Perdue said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but I think I’m up for the challenge. As the community gets larger, that need to expand services will become paramount.”
Erickson and Perdue also addressed the importance of continuing to strive for public safety and rapid response times.
“As the community grows, people move into different areas and then you have to come up with a new way of figuring out your response time based on where the people are currently at,” Erickson said. “We have a lot of people who are depending on us and we need to be responsive and be ready to help them.”
“We will be responsive to the needs of our citizens and visitors to our great community, providing rapid response, professional and humanitarian services essential to health,” Perdue said. “The knowledge base of our first responders is amazing, we will continue to educate our personnel on state-of-the-art techniques to accomplish our mission.”
Earle, who is running unopposed for Commissioner Position 2, has an extensive medical background that he applies to this position. The Michigan State University graduate spent his last 25 years of his career as an occupational medicine doctor, working with fire districts in Kitsap, Mason, and Jefferson County.
“In most districts, about 80 percent of the work is actually EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and about 20 percent is fire,” Earle said. “With the medical background, it really helps give some guidance on medical issues.”
Earle recently designed a program promoting health and wellness for firefighters that he’s presented statewide.
“The purpose being to try and improve the health and wellness of the firefighters since it is such a high-risk occupation,” he said. “Given that background, it was kind of a natural thing for me to go forward with that in the fire service.”
Over his last two years serving as a commissioner, Earle said he has been met with welcome learning curve.
“I’m glad to say that in Central Kitsap the organization is working very well,” Earle said. “I’ve had a chance to observe some very good people in leadership positions. That functionality of the organization has been a good learning experience.”
“We try very hard to make Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue as cost-effective as possible. We’re very aware of the fact that it is tax-supported by the citizens. We take that responsibility very seriously to manage those tax dollars as well as we possibly can.”