ARLINGTON — Travis Hots, who already serves as fire chief for Snohomish County Fire District 22 in the Getchell area, has also stepped up to serve as fire chief of Snohomish County Fire District 21 in the rural Arlington area.
Hots was hired after the Arlington Rural Fire District 21 Board of Commissioners chose not to renew Rick Isler’s contract as chief, but Hots will not be seeing an increase in his salary of $110,000 a year.
“That was my choice, to show that the consolidation of the Arlington Rural and Getchell fire districts can work,” Hots said, noting that the two fire districts are now splitting the costs of his salary and benefits, which had previously been paid by Getchell Fire District 22. “We’ve all redistributed our duties a bit, so we’re all doing a little more than we were before. Everybody has to do a little with a lot during lean times, and our area fire service has yet to recover from the reductions in assessed property valuations. We’re not even close to being back to where we were before.”
While Hots pointed out that he’s still relatively new to his second fire captaincy, he’s currently reviewing procedures and familiarizing himself with personnel, with an eye toward ultimately improving both fire districts’ operations.
“I’m still in the evaluation stage right now,” Hots said. “But as I go through all the files and meet all the people at the Arlington Rural Fire District, I’ll be developing priorities for making changes.”
Hots comes to his new role with a wealth of experience, having served 20 years in the fire service and four years in search and rescue, in addition to his father’s multi-decade stint in the fire service.
“Ever since I was a young kid, I knew I was going to be working in the fire service,” Hots said. “It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 that I realized that I could make a full-time career out of it, though.”
Even after 15 years of full-time service in the field, Hots is still eager to go to work every morning, although he acknowledged that the significant amount of time spent away from his family has been taxing. With a resume that includes stints on the Marysville Fire District, the Lake Stevens Fire Department and Snohomish County Technical Rescue, as well as his role as vice president of the Snohomish County Fire Chiefs Association, Hots believes he has the know-how to help consolidate costs between the Arlington Rural and Getchell fire districts.
“We’ll see what jobs can be reassigned to spread the work around,” said Hots, who compared this to his other role, as the Snohomish County Fire Resource Coordinator. “When a large fire overwhelms the resources of one geographical area, we provide assistance from around the state. I muster up local personnel to assemble them on specialty and strike teams.”
Hots praised the hard work of the firefighters in both fire districts, adding that all but one of the Arlington Rural Fire District personnel are volunteers.
“They’re enthusiastic whether they called out at 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon,” Hots said. “We all care about the people in our communities, and will strive to provide enhanced levels of service.”