Seattle Fire prepares contingency plans for staffing ahead of vaccine mandate deadline

The Seattle Fire Department is contingency planning for various staffing scenarios we may face on Oct. 19 as a result of the vaccine mandate deadline on Oct. 18. We are committed to the health and safety of our community, and will comply with the Mayor and Governor’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  

First and foremost, we want to assure the community we serve that we will continue to fulfill our mission of responding to all 9-1-1 calls for fire suppression and emergency medical services. Members of the public who need our help can make calls to 9-1-1 for life threatening emergencies and  firefighter/EMTs (and paramedics for more serious injuries) will arrive in personal protective equipment to provide patient treatment or to extinguish fires. The department’s Fire Prevention Division will continue to provide inspections, process permit applications and respond to investigate the cause of fires.  

Based on current data of vaccine verification forms submitted, we expect that we may lose some personnel as a result of the mandate. The department’s leadership is considering various options for how we can adjust our response model through this transition. While finalizing this information is dependent upon the number of personnel who depart from SFD, we are taking action now to plan ahead for the possibility of being below our standard staffing levels:  

  • Cancelling all non-essential training, community events and limiting our annual building inspection focus to schools 
  • Prioritizing which units could be placed out-of-service through analyzation of response routes to ensure City coverage by SFD remains in place  
  • Adjusting response models to various incident types to best serve our residents while below normal staffing levels 
  • Activating our Resource Management Center to monitor response data in real-time 

SFD is encouraging all of our members to get vaccinated and submit their forms, as we do not want to see any of our personnel depart from our organization.