Seattle Fire Statement On Employee COVID-19 Vaccination Status

Nov. 9 vaccine verification status update: As of 10 a.m. on Nov. 9, 94% of the Seattle Fire Department’s 1,086 employees are vaccinated. (total does not include employees who are on a long-term leave of absence). Forty-three employees are currently involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. Seven employees did not submit either a vaccine verification form or exemption form. Of the seven, five have been separated, one is in the separation process, and one is retiring (included in number below).

We have had also had many retirements and resignations occur since the mandate was announced. While employees who retire or resign are not required to tell the department the reason for doing so, since the mandate was announced (Aug. 9), the department has had 18 members retire and four members resign (does not include those who did not make it through the current drill school). An additional five retirements are pending.

*It is expected that some of these retirements would have occurred either way. For comparison, in 2019 from Aug. 9 to Nov. 1, we had seven retirements, and in 2020 during the same time frame, we had four retirements.  


Nov. 4 vaccine verification status update: As of 10 a.m. on Nov. 4, 94% of the Seattle Fire Department’s 1,086 employees are vaccinated. (total does not include employees who are on a long-term leave of absence)Forty-five employees are currently involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. Seven employees did not submit either a vaccine verification form or exemption form. Of the seven, five have been separated, one is in the separation process, and one is retiring (included in number below).

We have had also had many retirements and resignations occur since the mandate was announced. While employees who retire or resign are not required to tell the department the reason for doing so, since the mandate was announced (Aug. 9), the department has had 17 members retire and four members resign (does not include those who did not make it through the current drill school). An additional six retirements are pending.

*It is expected that some of these retirements would have occurred either way. For comparison, in 2019 from Aug. 9 to Nov. 1, we had seven retirements, and in 2020 during the same time frame, we had four retirements.  


Oct. 29 vaccine verification status update: As of 10 a.m. on Oct. 29, 94% of the Seattle Fire Department’s 1,086 employees are vaccinated. (total does not include employees who are on a long-term leave of absence). Fifty-five employees have submitted exemptions (48 religious, 7 medical) and are involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. Seven employees did not submit either a vaccine verification form or exemption form. Of the seven, three have been separated, three are in the separation process, and one is retiring.


Oct. 22 vaccine verification status update: As of 10 a.m. on Oct. 22, 94% of the Seattle Fire Department’s 1,081 employees are vaccinated (total does not include employees who are on a long-term leave of absence). Sixty-three employees have submitted exemptions (55 religious, 8 medical) and are involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. Seven employees did not submit either a vaccine verification form or exemption form. Of the seven, five have begun the separation process. The remaining two who did not submit either form recently took a leave of absence and will be required to submit either a vaccine verification or exemption form prior to returning to work.


Oct. 21 vaccine verification status update: As of 10 a.m. on Oct. 21, 93% of the Seattle Fire Department’s employees are vaccinated. Sixty-six employees have submitted exemptions (57 religious, 9 medical) and are involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. Seven employees did not submit either a vaccine verification form or exemption form. Of the seven, five have begun the separation process. The remaining two who did not submit either form are out on extended leave and will be required to submit either a vaccine verification or exemption form prior to returning to work.


As of 10 a.m. on Oct. 19, 93% of the Seattle Fire Department’s employees are vaccinated. Sixty-six employees have submitted exemptions (57 religious, 9 medical) and are involved in the City’s exemption and accommodation process. All but eleven employees submitted either a vaccine verification form or exemption form.  

For the eleven employees who did not submit either a verification or exemption form (and are not currently on disability leave), the separation process will begin tomorrow. For represented members, that legal process includes a voluntary Loudermill hearing (if a member requests it), in accordance with their collective bargaining agreements. A Loudermill is an opportunity for the represented employee to present their case to the department leadership and Human Resources.  

The sixty-six employees who have submitted an exemption will be on leave and unable to work until the accommodation process is complete or a member chooses to get fully vaccinated. The leave type is dependent on if their exemption has been approved, denied or is still being processed. If the exemption is denied or cannot be accommodated, the employee will have the option to seek a Loudermill or can choose to become vaccinated. The full process can take several weeks to complete for an individual employee.  

The fire department wants to assure the community that we do not expect significant response delays and 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. Additional updates on the department’s contingency plans were posted to the Fireline Blog last week. 

The Fire Chief wants every member of the SFD to know they are valued and hopes that members do not depart the organization as a result of this mandate.