We are sorry to announce that the Fire Day with MOHAI and Seattle Fire planned for this weekend is now postponed. Please stay tuned for a new date!
Ten years ago this month a deadly house fire in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle killed four children and a young woman – all were members of Seattle’s Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. This tragic fire was the deadliest fire in Seattle in over 30 years and greatly impacted members of the Seattle Fire Department and the wider community. This tragedy was especially difficult for Seattle’s East African communities.
Shortly after the fire, Seattle Fire Department members met with community leaders to begin gathering ideas on how to reach more East African communities with fire safety information. The Community Fire Safety Advocate (CFSA) program developed as a response to this tragic day. This program became the fire department’s primary outreach and educational program targeting East African community members within weeks of this devastating fire.
CFSA Outreach and Education
The CFSA program was modeled after community-based popular education programs such as Public Health promotoras and community health worker programs which utilize people from the communities trying to be reached as the primary outreach workers. The original cohort of four CFSAs were community leaders who spoke Somali, Amharic, Tigrinya, and Oromo. This group received training on the reality of fire, home fire safety, and how 911 and the fire department works. Classroom training included tours of fire stations and the Fire Alarm Center. One very important aspect of this training was the information the CFSAs shared with the fire department on some of their traditions and customs that could potentially be fire hazards. It was from this exchange of ideas that shaped the training and fire safety messaging.
After receiving the training, the CFSAs primarily set out to conduct outreach and education at community events to reach target populations. At these events, they utilized interactive activities to demonstrate important fire prevention and safety messaging. They also gave presentations in their native languages. The focus of their safety messaging was cooking fire safety, home fire evacuation, and calling 911 – the most common fire-related concerns. They also discussed how to be safe when burning incense or when roasting coffee at home.
Two of my favorite subjects to talk about are heaters and smoke alarms because when I go to a friends or relatives house, I see their furniture is against their baseboard heater or the smoke alarm is hanging open. I taught them about fire safety, and now they know how to keep their home safe. When I give a presentation, I give examples about my own family and the people in the audience tell me their houses are not safe. They tell me when they go home today; they are going to make a change in their own house. Every time I hear that, I feel that my team and I have done a great job.Maymuna – CFSA (first cohort)
CFSA outreach activities were often supported with firefighter visits at community events. Firefighter visits allow immigrant/refugee community members to interact with firefighters in a non-emergency situation which builds trust and strengthens relationships between the fire department and the communities it serves.
CFSAs after 10 years
Since 2010, the CFSA program expanded to include addional immigrant/refugee communities in Seattle. The program has been recognized nationally for being a successful community risk reduction program. Currently, there are 11 active community members who provide fire safety and CPR education in Oromo, Amharic, Tigrinya, Somali, Lao, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) and Spanish.
Over the past 10 years, educational messaging expanded to include CPR education, carbon monoxide poisoning prevention, and the importance of working smoke/CO alarms.
June 12, 2020 will mark 10 years since the tragic fire that took 5 lives. The CFSAs have made a positive impact in our communities, especially those most vulnerable to fires and other emergencies. Over the past 10 years, CFSAs have made over 34,000 community contacts. Because of their knowledge of the fire department and the communities in which they serve, the CFSAs have also been tasked with serving on focus groups and assisting with interpretation and translation needs. Their input has shaped how the Public Affairs Division conducts its outreach in immigrant/refugee communities. Beyond the numbers, their efforts not only make communities safer, they provide a vital link between the Seattle Fire Department and the communities it serves. CFSAs make it possible for the department to build stronger relationships with community-based organizations and establish trust among Seattle’s most vulnerable communities.
For me it’s been a very amazing and fruitful learning experience working with the CFSA program as a community outreach and educator advocate. This program really provides the basics and importance of fire safety at home for our community. And seeing the response from many people when we are out there providing the information and education is very meaningful to me because it shows that we are doing a very good job and also brings to life the awareness of fire safety.Paola F. – CFSA
I love it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted community outreach efforts but the department is preparing and planning to continue this important work in the near future.
For more information about the CFSA program or to request participation in a community event or presentation, contact William Mace.
SEATTLE – Several intentionally set dumpster fires, bonfires and attempts at structure fires have occurred during recent demonstrations in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in the vicinity of 11th and Pine. Recognizing that the Seattle Police Department East Precinct is adjacent to residential and commercial buildings, the Seattle Fire Department has and will continue to upstaff resources near the area to ensure crews are appropriately equipped to respond when it’s safe to do so. With recent and predicted events near the Seattle Police Department East Precinct, the department is highly encouraging businesses and residents in the area to take the following steps to prevent arson fires:
BEFORE A FIRE:
- Secure business and garage area by locking doors and windows.
- Clean up wastepaper, grasses, weeds, litter, or any combustibles from around buildings.
- Do not allow dumpsters to become overfilled.
- Locate commercial dumpsters and containers at least five feet away from combustible walls and roof eave lines. Use only metal or metal-lined receptacles.
- Place locks on commercial dumpsters or keep in secured area.
- Install or activate motion-sensored lights.
- Test fire and life safety systems, including fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, to ensure they are working.
- Develop and practice a fire escape plan.
- Keep exit ways clear of boxes and other debris which could hamper evacuation.
DURING A FIRE:
- Implement your fire evacuation plan, and exit the building.
- Call 911 to report the location of the fire, and do not assume someone else has already called.
- Report to 911 and responding crews if anyone could still be inside.
Follow twitter.com/seattlefire for updates on significant incidents, and sign up for AlertSeattle at alert.seattle.gov to receive emergency notifications from the City of Seattle.
SEATTLE – The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) is partnering with Airlift NW and Seattle Parks to provide airlift transport of patients during the West Seattle Bridge closure under extreme circumstances. This is occurring in response to the anticipated traffic impacts during peak travel times, which could delay SFD’s ability to provide transport via the typical method of a medic unit for critical patients. The frequency of helicopter transports is expected to be very low (only a few times per year, if any) but is an added capability of the fire department to serve West Seattle residents. Additionally, as previously announced, the department is dedicating an extra medic unit (Medic 26) and ladder truck (Ladder 13) during the bridge closure.
To prepare for this added helicopter capability, the department is holding a drill at the Alki and Walt Hundley Playfields in early June. From 2-3 p.m. at the below dates and locations, neighbors in the area will hear and see a helicopter land at the playfield, and firefighters simulate a patient transport hand-off.
- June 8: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
- June 9: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
- June 10: Alki Playfield – 5817 SW Lander St.
- June 11: Walt Hundley Playfield – 6920 34th Ave. SW
The site will be secured by Seattle Fire and Police personnel. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, the fire department encourages residents to not gather at the site, but instead watch the activities from the livestream on Facebook on the first day of the drill June 8 (facebook.com/seattlefire), or from your doorstep.
City will lease two former emissions testing sites to provide up to 1,600 tests per day
PHSKC and Mayor Durkan encourages individuals protesting to be tested if you have been in contact with people who are ill with COVID-19, or you are experiencing symptoms
SEATTLE (June 4, 2020) – Following King County’s application to advance to a modified phase one in Governor Inslee’s updated “Safe Start Washington” plan, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today, the launch of free Citywide testing at two locations in north and south Seattle. As part of the announcement, Mayor Durkan and University of Washington President Ana Maria Cauce signed a memorandum of agreement solidifying the partnership between the City of Seattle and UW Medicine. The joint effort is expected to increase capacity by my more than 1,600 tests per day.
“As the first major U.S. city to take on this public health crisis, we learned early on the impact of the illness as it spread quietly due to the lack of testing. Three-and-a-half months after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the region, life in the Pacific Northwest has entered a new normal where we all must remember to use appropriate hygiene, physical distancing and be tested when sick or exposed. The implementation of stringent mitigation measures have saved lives and slowed the spread of the virus, but the virus can quickly resurge if we don’t do testing, contact tracing and isolation. Without a vaccine, our behavior and testing are the most important factors to limiting COVID spread and moving into new phases of normal. For individuals who are gathering, please use physical distancing and facial coverings, stay home when sick, and be tested”
“The University of Washington is not only a state university, we are an integral part of the Seattle community. UW Medicine has been at the forefront of this pandemic and its virology lab developed one of the first COVID-19 tests in the country. This partnership is a great example of how we can amplify our impact through cooperation and collaboration. It is the right thing to do, and we are proud to be a part of this effort,” said Ana Mari Cauce, President of the University of Washington
“To rebuild our economy safely we need more testing capacity, and those with even mild symptoms or who have reason to believe they have been exposed need to get tested. This is an essential step in effective containment of the virus without strict stay-at-home requirements. That’s why we are working with healthcare providers across King County to create more testing options for anyone who may not have easy access, particularly in communities that have higher rates of infection,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine.
“Testing for COVID-19 is more widely available across King County, and everyone with COVID-19 symptoms – even if not severe – and people who’ve had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should be tested as soon as possible,” said King County Public Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin. “Early testing is important whether you are young or old to help prevent spread of the virus in households and the community. Please check with your healthcare provider right away if you develop a new cough, difficulty breathing or other symptoms of COVID-19. Other symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, new loss of taste or smell, vomiting or diarrhea, and sore throat. See our COVID-19 web page to find a testing location near you.”
“To ensure Seattle can safety open under Gov. Inslee’s phased plan, we must increase our testing capacity. Despite having insurance and primary care doctors, I’ve heard from many constituents who still can’t access or face increased barriers to COVID-19 tests,” said Councilmember Debora Juarez, District 5 North Seattle. “The City is utilizing its existing resources and relationships to expand available testing, so those diagnosed can self isolate and we can continue to slow the spread of coronavirus.”
“Seattle firefighters are committed to helping our region beat the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, we partnered with Seattle Police to set-up the first-in-the-nation testing site for first responders conducted by first responders. Shortly after, we implemented Mobile Assessment Teams to test residents and staff at long-term care facilities, who often suffer the worst consequences from COVID-19. We have adapted both of these models and are now ready to step into the new role of conducting widespread testing for members of the public,” said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “I am proud of the members on my team who are devoted to the overall health of our community.”
Earlier this week, Mayor Durkan signed an executive order and transmitted legislation to City Council to lease two former emissions testing sites for testing purposes. The facilities are located in north and south Seattle and will operate Monday thru Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and accommodate drive thru clients who book ahead through the website. These sites are designed and intended for drive-up testing and are not ADA compliant for pedestrians. If you need walk-up testing with ADA accommodations, don’t worry, there are many options for free COVID testing, please visit Public Health – Seattle King County’s website or call 206-477-3977 for more information. Most people can access testing through their regular health care provider The City is actively looking to add walk-up testing and additional capacity in West Seattle, another high-need area of the City.
Clients at the testing facilities will not be charged for testing and will not receive a bill, regardless of health insurance status. For insured clients, UW Medicine will handle the billing of an individuals’ private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare. Under Washington law, insurance companies cannot charge co-pays for COVID-19 testing. For uninsured clients, UW Medicine will seek reimbursement directly from the federal, Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test.
The Citywide testing program was quickly developed in a matter of weeks once difficult to secure testing kits were available. Operations, from leasing to staffing, including added technology enabling the scaling to 1,600 patients per day, made possible through a partnership with U.S. Digital Response and Solv Health. U.S. Digital Response surveyed tools and landed on Solv Health who dedicated engineering time to adapt their easy-to-use booking tool to meet the needs of the Seattle’s testing sites. The platform was created and ready to launch within a two week timeframe.
“Working closely with these incredible partners to increase testing capacity is perfectly aligned with our mission of making healthcare simple, affordable and more accessible,” said Heather Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Solv. “We’re excited to help the City test thousands of Seattleites”
Building off the success of ground breaking and national standard setting pilots, like the first responders testing site and mobile assesssment teams, the Seattle Fire Department (SFD) has developed a cadre of experienced personnel to lead the citywide testing effort by administering tests. Thus far, nearly 70 percent of COVID-19 related deaths in King County are associated with long-term care facilities. The City of Seattle has focused its limited resources on testing our most vulnerable residents in those facilities like nursing and adult care homes. The Mobile Assessment Teams have visited 24 facilities, provided 1,310 tests and uncovered numerous positive cases among residents and staff. The knowledge of positive results has allowed facilities to quarantine (asymptomatic) and isolate (symptomatic and positive cases) individuals to protect those living within the facilities and the surrounding community.
To help accommodate a safe and seamless testing process, the City highly-urges potential clients to pre-register for appointments at www.seattle.gov/covid-19-testing. SFD estimates pre-registration will allow the testing procedure to take fewer than 10 minutes per test. Friday, June 5 is the first day of testing at the SODO site and Monday, June 8 is the first day of testing at the Aurora site.
Early in the crisis, testing was limited, but we have entered a new phase. COVID-19 can appear similar to the common cold or seasonal flu, and we are urging anyone with any of the following symptoms to seek testing: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. Furthermore, if you have been in close contact with someone for 15 minutes or longer who has COVID-19 you should also be tested.
Testing results can be accessed by individuals online, and those who test positive will be contacted, given information on next steps, and a referral to Public Health – Seattle & King County. Public Health, in partnership with the State Department of Health, operates a contact tracing program to help prevent positive cases from spreading the virus to their families and the surrounding community.
As cities across the country transition to reopening, widespread testing is commonly considered one of the most important measures to provide the confidence residents and businesses need to feel safe. Testing is the critical component to slowing the spread of COVID-19, it allows public health personnel to implement contact tracing – notifying individuals who were exposed so they can quarantine, testing when needed, and helping positive cases to isolate which reduces virus spread within households, workplaces, and communities.
Increased capacity for Citywide testing will help increase community safety, trust and confidence as we take steps towards our new normal.
Post shared from the Office of the Mayor
You could save a life – take a few minutes to learn hands-only CPR
Even during this pandemic, with stay-at-home orders and physical distancing recommendations, it’s important to be prepared for sudden emergencies such as sudden cardiac arrest. Around 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home so it’s important to know what to do if this were to happen. A cardiac patient’s chance of becoming a long-term survivor are more than doubled if a someone on the scene administers prompt CPR.
Administering hands-only CPR (without breaths) is a simple technique that only takes a few minutes to learn. Watch this short video to learn the steps for performing hands-only CPR – you could save a life.
If you see someone collapse, follow these steps:
- Call 911 – Give specific information to the dispatcher, starting with the location. Is an AED available? If so, send someone to retrieve it and use it as soon as you can.
- Make sure the scene is safe
- Quickly determine if the person needs CPR – If the person is not responsive or not breathing normally – tap them on the shoulder and shout, “Are you ok. Are you ok?” If the person doesn’t move, speak, blink, or otherwise react, then he or she is not responding.
- Begin Chest Compressions – Use two hands, with straight arms, and push down hard and fast in the center of the chest. Make sure compressions are at least 2-inches deep, and are at the rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
- Don’t stop compressions until help arrives or take turns with someone if you get tired
Help us spread awareness during this year’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week by sharing this information with at least one family member or friend.
Our firefighters are out there working incredibly hard tonight to keep you safe. There have been many vehicle fires across the downtown core and injuries to both police officers and members of the public.
As I said yesterday before the demonstrations began, I support exercising the right to free speech and peaceful demonstrations, and the need to stand up for what is right. But this is not the way to do it, by causing unnecessary chaos and danger.
This situation has escalated quickly and has become dangerous. I want the public to know that our firefighters are doing everything we can to keep you safe. I have called in additional resources on my team and from out of the area in case we need to utilize them. I want to thank our partner agencies for sending in their personnel and resources to assist.
You may have seen us waiting to respond in to fight vehicle fires. I have a duty to keep my firefighters safe, and we are waiting until its safe to enter to extinguish fires, to avoid unnecessary harm.
I want to end with reminding those who are starting fires downtown that fires can have very unintended consequences. Fires can spread quickly and put members of the public in danger and our responding crews.
Additionally, when you block streets, you are blocking EMS emergency vehicles from being able to respond to hospitals for patient care.
We are in this together Seattle and will get through this. Seattle Fire is here for you and we will continue to work to monitor the situation and deploy our resources.
We have responded to a few fires recently that were caused by smoking materials left unattended or discarded improperly. With warm and dryer weather in the forecast, more such fires will likely occur.
Steps to help reduce the chance of such fires include the following:
- Carelessly discarded cigarettes and other smoking materials can easily start a fire in dry conditions. Extinguish smoking materials before you leave the room or area
- Douse smoking materials in water before tossing out
- Make sure proper cigarette disposal canisters are available in areas where smoking is allowed
Even though smoking is not allowed on rooftops, Fire Investigators frequently find cigarette butts in planter boxes and in garbage cans. It is important to never discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily. A small cigarette butt in dry conditions can turn into a major fire.
To make sure your home is safe also consider:
- Removing long grass, weeds or anything that can burn from around buildings. This includes limbs that touch buildings or hang near the roof
- Removing dead plants or bushes as soon as possible
- Clearing roof and gutters of needles and leaves
The following information is updated as of 5 p.m. on May 26:
Quarantine and Isolation:
- Members currently in quarantine or isolation: 0 members
- Total number of SFD personnel impacted since the beginning of tracking COVID-19: 127 members
- Total number of SFD personnel who have completed their 14-day quarantine and returned to work: 127 members
This includes those who have received testing at the site designated for first responders and those who have shared their results from testing conducted with a private physician.
- Total number of known SFD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19: 18 members
(note: a previous positive test has now been ruled negative)
- Total number of SFD personnel with a negative test results at first responder testing site: 103 members
- Total number of SFD personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered: 18 members
Highlight of the Week:
The fight against cancer does not stop during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many activities, including the March 2020 Firefighter Stairclimb in Seattle to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, have been cancelled due to COVID-19. Fellow firefighters from Mercer Island and the Port of Seattle, who had planned to do the New Zealand Climb on May 22 before it was cancelled, arranged to do a socially distanced climb of the Space Needle instead. Pictured below are Seattle Lt. Frank Brennan and Firefighter Tyler Sell, who were invited to join. We are proud of our many members who have still made the climb to join the fight against blood cancers. #FirefighterStairclimb #LLS
Seattle Parks, including pools and beaches remain closed as our county remains in phase one of Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan. However, first responders throughout King County are responding to more preventable drownings as summer approaches.
If you plan to be in or near water, follow these recommendations:
Know the risks — Washington waters are often cold enough to cause muscles to not work, even on the hottest summer day. Cold water can weaken even the strongest swimmer.
Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills — To enjoy the water safely, learn swim strokes, water safety, survival skills, and becoming comfortable in the water.
Wear a lifejacket — Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket when boating, tubing, rafting, swimming or other activities in or on lakes, rivers, salt water, or pools without a lifeguard.
Swim where there is a lifeguard — Swim in areas with lifeguards when possible. Wear a lifejacket while swimming in unguarded waters or until the guards start their service.
Supervise children in or near water — Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Stay within touching distance of young children at all times.
Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities — Never use alcohol or other impairing drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children around the water. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. Exposure to sun and heat worsen these effects.
Learn first aid and CPR — Learn first aid and CPR. Seconds count—the more quickly lifesaving CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. Dial 911 in an emergency.