emergency services

Kenai Peninsula Borough

This fall, voters in the Anchor Point and Ninilchik areas will consider whether to join forces on their emergency services.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly approved an ordinance last Tuesday that will ask voters on the Oct. 6 ballot whether they want to become a single service area for fire and emergency medical services. The move has had several public meetings and has been in the works since earlier this spring.

Residents of the Ninilchik and Anchor Point areas may soon get to decide whether they want to band together for fire and emergency medical services. The borough assembly is due to decide on whether to place a question for it on the ballot this fall.

Anchor Point has a formal service area, funded by property taxes and with about five professional staff. Ninilchik, on the other hand, has a nonprofit that runs its fire and EMS service, paid for by community donations and grants. In February, an upheaval in the nonprofit gave the community a scare about not having services at all, spurring a conversation with the borough about formalizing the fire and EMS department there.

CES and KPB

If you call 911 on the Kenai Peninsula right now, chances are that your call goes to a big building in Soldotna just down the street from Safeway. From there, the emergency call center dispatchers determine who to send to help.  

Kenai, Seward and Homer handle their own dispatching, but the staff at the emergency dispatch center serve the Alaska State Troopers, CES and the Soldotna Police Department, among other services, which covers a big chunk of the central peninsula. Last year, the center processed more than 24,000 calls.

Borough looks to combine Anchor Point, Ninilchik EMS

May 21, 2020

Earlier this year, the board of directors for the nonprofit organization that runs Ninilchik Emergency Services decided to restructure, resulting in confusion as the chief and assistant chief were fired and local service lapsed. After a community meeting, the borough established a task force to decide what to do for the future so Ninilchik’s residents don’t go without fire and emergency medical services. 

The task force determined Ninilchik should join Anchor Point’s fire and emergency service area, which will spread out costs across residents of the two communities.

“These service areas would be larger than the existing Ninilchik area. It would go all the way out on the east side until it abutted central peninsula emergency medical service area,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman Brent Johnson, reporting on the task force in Tuesday’s assembly meeting. “So there would be no no-man's land. Whether you have an accident here or there — you’re out in the Caribou Hills in that area, and, of course, Tustumena Lake — you’re going to be in somebody’s service area.”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is considering establishing a fire and medical service area in Ninilchik.

The area has been covered by Ninilchik Emergency Services, which is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors. But NES has been in turmoil since early this month when the board suddenly dismissed its chief, Dave Bear. Bear notified department volunteers of his departure in an email and stated that the board intended to shut down the department for a few days.

In the following days, due to community pressure and a public meeting, the entire board of directors resigned and Bear was reinstated. The old board has been replaced by a seven-member interim board.