Benton County Fire District 4 reminds voters of the importance o - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton County Fire District 4 reminds voters of the importance of the EMS levy renewal

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WEST RICHLAND, WA- As everyone starts to retrieve their ballots from their mailboxes, Fire Chief Bill Whealan and his fire crew want to remind everyone of the importance of renewing the levy. 

They tell us the percentage of calls for EMS last year was 63 percent and this year's call number stands at 77.5 percent for EMS. Whealan tells us, the levy has been in place since 2010 and ends in December of 2016, your vote would continue the levy, there would be no financial changes, "we're not changing anything, the only thing we need is a super-majority, because what we're trying to accomplish is to remove the expiration date so we can spend the money correctly". 

He continues to tell us, if the levy isn't continued, "the ambulance service would probably have to go away, we would lose over half of our staff and we've already proven we've reduced response times by 3 minutes on average". 

Along with the fire chief who is asking for support, we met up with a man who thanks the fire department everyday for saving his life and he owes it all to the levy. Kai Nielsen tells us, "I live out in rural West Richland, three months before they fully staffed the fire station on Harrington because of levy money and it was three or four minutes to my house, as opposed to 10 or 15 if they had to come from town". 

For more information on the levy visit their information site here. Remember, ballots need to be sent in or dropped off by August 2.