South Whidbey fire district changes name

The fire district that serves South Whidbey is now named South Whidbey Fire/EMS.

Fire commissioners of the previously named Island County Fire District 3 approved the new name in July 2011, though it continued to operate as ICFD3 through the end of 2011.

The department’s leadership wanted to clarify where the district operates and unify the various names it’s known by on the South End.

“Part of the problem is we’re known by about four different names, both internally and externally,” said South Whidbey Fire/EMS Chief Rusty Palmer.

On the wall at the fire district’s headquarters in Freeland, formal paperwork identifies several unique names for the same organization.

“We’ve got two documents side by side on our wall here in the office. One is the volunteer bill of rights and the other one is our vision and mission statement,” Palmer said. “We have four different names on those two documents.”

The name change is expected to cost between $20,000 and $25,000. Included in that cost are new logos, legal fees to review changes in formal paperwork, uniform patches and jackets. Filing the name changes will mostly be done internally, with little or no cost. Also, printing new business cards and stationery will be done in the Freeland office.

“It should be a fairly easy process,” Palmer said.

Changing from the bulky ICFD3 acronym to South Whidbey Fire/EMS stemmed from the district’s desire to better state where it serves. The logo — a ferry heading toward South Whidbey with the Olympic mountains looming behind it and the firefighters and medical services symbols — is the same, but has the new name on top and “Since 1950” on the bottom.

“This whole process is for us to become better unified with our community and for them to identify with us as their fire department,” Palmer said.

The district spent three months gathering name suggestions from its volunteers and staff. Forty-two names were turned in, which were cut to three that were submitted to the fire commissioners, who voted on South Whidbey Fire/EMS.


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