Cowlitz County Fire District #6 serves the City of Castle Rock and northern Cowlitz County, a 100-square-mile area with a population of roughly 10,000 residents. The volunteer department also provides support to neighboring districts, which includes multiple visitor centers adjacent to active volcano Mount St. Helens.
The department responds to about 1,300 calls per year, similar to other departments of its size. But what makes it different? Cowlitz County FD is supported by 22 volunteers who staff an advanced life support ambulance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The district’s members are highly trained and specialized to deal with situations unique to the rural Washington state terrain. Castle Rock and the surrounding areas are popular spots for base jumping, hang gliding, parasailing and other extreme sports. The district also responds to two different race tracks popular with motorcycle riders and sprint car drivers. Firefighters and medical technicians must also be ready to assist when hunters and workers become lost or injured in the thousands of acres of timberland in the area.
Despite the steady call volume, Cowlitz County FD still finds the time to stay involved in the community, teaching the public about fire prevention, child and elderly trauma prevention, CPR/first aid and car seat safety.
Members are also active fundraisers, recently collaborating on a project to build a new water tender on a limited budget. Although the mobile water carrier was built strictly by volunteers, they didn’t sacrifice on quality and now other departments are replicating their designs. With all of these accomplishments and services, that’s why Cowlitz County Fire District #6 is the “Best of US.”