LOCAL NEWS

Estimated 5% of Seattle Fire Department personnel haven’t submitted proof of vaccination

Oct 14, 2021, 11:40 AM | Updated: 11:51 am
Seattle Fire Department, vaccine mandate...
(Seattle Fire Department, Facebook)
(Seattle Fire Department, Facebook)

With a Seattle city employee COVID-19 vaccine mandate taking effect on Monday, Oct. 18, the latest data indicates that roughly 5% of uniformed Seattle Fire Department personnel have not yet submitted proof of vaccination.

Gov. Inslee confirms vaccination deadline for state workers won’t be extended

That’s according to numbers from KTTH’s Jason Rantz, who confirmed Thursday that 55 Seattle Fire Department employees have yet to send in their vaccine verification forms. Of those, 54 are uniformed, while one is a civilian.

According to SFD’s 2020 annual report, the department had 1,008 uniformed personnel by the end of last year, encompassing firefighters/EMTs, station chiefs, and paramedics. The department also has 77 civilian employees.

Should those 55 employees leave the department over the city’s vaccine mandate, SFD reportedly plans to cancel all nonessential training and community events, and limit its focus on annual building inspections to schools. Officials will also analyze response routes to prioritize units it can afford to place out of service, while working to ensure SFD can provide coverage for the rest of the city.

That will be in addition to “adjusting response models to various incident types to best serve residents while below normal staffing levels,” Rantz notes, as well as activating SFD’s Resource Management Center “to monitor response data in real-time.”

‘No reason to abandon a career’ over vaccine mandate, says Inslee

Currently, five units — three fire engines and two medic units — are out of service due to a lack of staffing.

Seattle Fire Fighters Union Local 27 was among the labor groups that came to a formal agreement with the city over the last month on terms surrounding the upcoming vaccine mandate.

The deal makes it so employees who submitted proof of vaccination by Oct. 5 get an extra eight hours of paid time off. Employees also get 40 hours of paid leave for COVID-related reasons, and an additional 40 if they can confirm their vaccination status by Oct. 18, totaling 80 hours.

Exceptions are carved out as well, allowing employees to keep their jobs if they begin the vaccination process by Oct. 18, and then go on leave until they are fully vaccinated. Frontline workers get an additional benefit in the form of a one-time $1,750 payment.

Seattle isn’t the only local city that may soon be losing fire department personnel, with an estimated 20 Redmond firefighters — comprising roughly 12% of the department — stating that they have no intention of getting vaccinated.

A handful of Redmond firefighters spoke at a recent city council meeting, asking that they not be fired over their vaccination status.

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Estimated 5% of Seattle Fire Department personnel haven’t submitted proof of vaccination