Seattle fire chief reports high compliance with vaccine mandate, consistent response times

Oct 18, 2021, 1:16 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm
vaccine mandate...
(courtesy JvL via Flickr)
(courtesy JvL via Flickr)

Mayor Durkan, Fire Chief Scoggins, and King County Executive Constantine addressed concerns over potential non compliance with Washington state’s vaccine mandate for government employees..

The Monday news conference was advertised as a briefing on staffing contingency plans in the event that the Seattle Fire Department loses critical staff once the mandate takes effect today, Oct. 18.

Mayor Jenny Durkan allayed those concerns, referencing internal figures which suggest that compliance has been high.

Seattle mayor: ‘About two dozen’ SPD officers have yet to submit proof of vaccination

Durkan indicated that Seattle Fire Department is reporting 91% of its employees are vaccinated and 6% are exempted.

Seattle Police Department is reporting similar numbers: 91% are vaccinated and 7% are exempted.

The remaining employees have until 11:59 tonight to file the relevant vaccine mandate paperwork.

“Every decision we’ve made, we’ve grounded our decisions on public health and data,” Durkan said. “We tested corrections officers, but still had huge outbreaks in our jails and facilities.”

“I think the people of Seattle, when they dial 911, they want to know the person responding to that emergency is fully vaccinated and least likely to transmit COVID to them and their loved ones.”

Durkan was adamant that, while the city has a “wide range” of staffing contingency plans, their compliance has been high enough that calls to emergency services will remain consistent.

“Right now, a lot of the prognostication we’ve had has not turned out to be the case,” Durkan continued. “We believe if people call 911, there will not be significant impacts on the response.”

Scoggins echoed the idea that emergency services will continue uninterrupted.

“Generally we have a unit on scene 70% of the time in five minutes or less,” Scoggins said. “We may lose some folks, but we’re confident we’re going to be able to get a unit out the door and respond to the community’s needs.”

“I’m proud to lead the Seattle Fire Department. We have amazing people that serve the community each and every day. Every day we respond to between 250 and 260 calls. Our technical rescue team is one of the best in the nation. We have a lot of technical teams. We have a lot of talented people of our 1,000 firefighters.”

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Seattle fire chief reports high compliance with vaccine mandate, consistent response times