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Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598

Date: November 23, 2005
Contact: Derrick Crawley, Kitsap County Fire Marshal
Phone: (360) 337-4442
No. 05-27

Local Board Seeks Funding to Jump-Start Fire Prevention Education Program

PORT ORCHARD, WA—Six years ago, Derrick Crawley, Kitsap County Fire Marshal, resolved to do more to prevent another disaster like the Kona Village apartment fire in Bremerton that claimed the lives of four elderly residents, left 150 people homeless and caused approximately $7.5 million in property damage in November 1997. Vowing to educate the public on how a large fire can devastate families and the community, Crawley set out to encourage the community to examine and identify fire safety conditions in existing apartment buildings that endanger the safety of citizens and firefighters beyond acceptable risk levels.

Based on a report prepared by Crawley, the Kitsap Board of County Commissioners established the Kitsap County Fire Safety Advisory Committee in 1999. The 21-member committee, including 13 board-appointment members and eight ex-officio and honorary members representing government and community groups throughout Kitsap County, set out on a mission to “promote and enhance the fire and life safety of our community in an efficient, accessible and effective manner.”

According to a county ordinance adopted by the commissioners, the group is charged with installing smoke detectors in apartment units, developing emergency evacuation plans, providing building floor plans to fire services to assist in incident planning, inspecting buildings, developing a classroom-type training program, providing lock-box access to fire services, providing recognition for buildings that are inspected and determined to be “fire safe” and enhancing public awareness of the importance of fire prevention and life safety using multiple outreach strategies. Other proposed initiatives include installing fire sprinklers and fire alarm systems.

“Since 1999, a number of community awareness activities have been underway that need to continue or to be enhanced, including fire safety events, activities for children, information booths at community events, developing and distributing fire safety handouts and fliers, visiting schools and talking to the kids, sending out household fire safety bulletins and establishing a website specifically dedicated to fire prevention and life safety,” said Fire Marshal Crawley. “However, to further enhance the community awareness program, additional funding is needed to generate the momentum necessary to ensure that the program becomes viable.”

In conjunction with Kitsap County, the committee would like to launch a “Spouty Fire Safety” website based on a proposed new mascot developed by Chris Britton, an advisory committee member. The proposed Spouty, the fire safety whale, will spread the word about fire safety. The website would provide basic information on fire safety and prevention in a user-friendly format for children. Information about community and school events would also be included, as well as black and white drawings of Spouty that parents and teachers could download for coloring. Funding is also needed to develop an advertising campaign, literature (i.e., posters, stickers, door hangers) and other communications vehicles. Procurement of a Spouty costume, which would be useful for public appearances, photo opportunities and parades, is also needed to heighten awareness among parents and children about fire safety and prevention.

“This program is expected to quickly grow beyond the committee’s ability to administrate it using volunteers,” said Crawley. “Funding is needed to hire a full-time program administrator to coordinate program activities, supplies and equipment, and to take the program to the next level.”

A part-time coordinator is also needed to ensure the countywide program can be initiated and to coordinate fundraising events to raise funding beyond grant awards. Other needs include a portable computer, software and audiovisual equipment for countywide presentations and event booth costs.

Currently, Kitsap County is seeking a $250,000 Fire Prevention and Safety Grant (FPSG) from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program of the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Domestic Preparedness. The purpose of these grants is to enhance the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. The grants are specifically focused on reaching high-risk target groups in order to mitigate the high incidences of death and injuries. There is no cost share requirement for the FY 2005 FPSG. In FY 2005, Congress appropriated $650 million to the AFG Program. The appropriated funds are available until September 20, 2006. No less than $32.5 million of the total appropriation has been reserved for the Fire Prevention and Safety Grants.

For more information about the Kitsap County Fire Safety Advisory Committee, or the FPSG grant request, contact Derrick Crowley, Kitsap County Fire Marshal, at 360-337-4442, or email:

To contact the Kitsap County Public Information Office, 
call PJ Callahan at 360-337-4481 or email:

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014