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Seattle City Council and Mayor approve funding for permanent operation of Ladder 13 and Medic 26 

SEATTLE – On Nov. 28, the Seattle City Council adopted the 2023 and endorsed the 2024 budget, which included funding to support the permanent operation of Ladder 13 and Medic 26. The two units were initially put in place in 2020 after the West Seattle Bridge closed for repairs; however, the fire department has had a long-time need to place an additional ladder truck and medic unit in this area of the City to more effectively provide fire and emergency medical services to the South Park and south West Seattle neighborhoods. The closure of the bridge had further emphasized this need and the process for beginning operations of the two units was expedited and prioritized.  

Ladder 13 is located at Fire Station 37

“I want to thank Mayor Bruce Harrell, Public Safety Chair Councilmember Lisa Herbold and the entire Seattle City Council for approving funding to permanently operate Ladder 13 and Medic 26,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “Placing these two units in the south end of the City will allow SFD to better serve the community by greatly improving our response times for fire suppression and serious medical emergencies that occur in South Park and south West Seattle.” 

About Medic 26 and Ladder 13 

Medic 26 is located at Fire Station 26 in South Park and Ladder 13 is located at Fire Station 37 in West Seattle. Both units will primarily serve the residents of South Park and south West Seattle, however, they can also respond City-wide to emergencies. Medic units respond to any incident that requires Advanced Life Support, which includes strokes, cardiac arrests, major traumas, shootings, stabbings and more. Before Medic 26 began operating, the only medic unit primarily serving the area was Medic 32 out of Fire Station 32. If Medic 32 was on another response, then the next closest medic unit would come from the Rainier Valley or downtown and pull those resources away from their primary response district.  

Medic 26 is located at Fire Station 26

Ladder trucks respond to fire incidents, vehicle extrications, rope rescues and medical emergencies. At fire incidents, ladder trucks are primarily responsible for conducting search and rescue efforts for possible victims and ventilating structures with special tools. The units also have aerial ladders to access victims from windows and have ladder pipes to apply water from a heightened position. Before Ladder 13 began operating, the only ladder truck primarily serving the area was Ladder 11 out of Fire Station 32. Similar to the medic unit, if Ladder 11 was on an aid or fire response and a second fire occurred simultaneously, then the next closest ladder truck would travel from the Rainier Valley or downtown. With the permanent operation of Medic 26 and Ladder 13, the department can provide enhanced coverage for a large geographical, populated and diverse area. 

Call volume 

Ladder 13 and Medic 26 were put into operation on June 1, 2020. From June 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020, Ladder 13 responded to 496 calls, and Medic 26 to 512 calls. From Jan. 1, 2021 – Dec. 31, 2021, Ladder 13 responded to 1,037 calls and Medic 26 to 975 calls. Year to date (Jan. 1, 2022 – Nov. 20), Ladder 13 has responded to 1,024 calls, and Medic 26 to 731 calls. 

Other budget items approved 

The Seattle City Council approved funding for additional SFD items in the 2023 adopted budget: 

  • Funding for 30 additional firefighter recruits in 2023, which will enable SFD to hire a total of 90 recruits to fill vacant position pockets and provide greater capacity for staffing units.  
  • Funding for additional paramedic students. These resources will allow the department to increase the number of firefighters to receive paramedic training.  
  • Proviso to dedicate $200,000 for consultant services provided to the Health One program by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP). ARNP services would complete field assessments, write prescriptions, develop plans for chronic disease management and establish ongoing primary-care resources for clients.