SEATTLE – On May 16, 2019, the Seattle Fire Department held a promotional ceremony at Fire Station 10 to appoint six members to new positions. The event was emceed by Fire Chief Scoggins. The following employees were promoted:
At today’s Awards Luncheon, Seattle Fire recognized these people for their contributions to our community.
Employees of the Year Awards
These individuals have demonstrated incredible service to both our internal and external customers, performing above and beyond expectations.
Community Service Award: Firefighter Travis Stanley
Seattle Fire is a vital part of the community, and this award recognizes a member who has donated considerable time and effort voluntarily for the betterment of the community.
Customer Service Award: Margie Viall
In a service organization, great customer service is something that is expected of all employees; however, this individual continually exceeds everyone’s expectations.
Employee of the Year: Julie George
Employee of the Year is awarded to the non-uniform member who carries out responsibilities in an exemplary fashion, always promoting a can-do attitude.
Firefighter of the Year: Firefighter Andrew Finseth
The Firefighter of the Year is given to someone who has a high regard for customer service, dedication to excellence and innovation and serves as a role model for others.
Officer of the Year: Lieutenant Tobin Graves
Company Officers are responsible for providing support, guidance and direction to their crews every single day. They are the ones ensuring that the Department responds quickly and safely to each emergency. They are constantly serving the needs of their crew and the community.
Chief of the Year: Battalion Chief Matt Rogers
In much the same way that company officers support their crews, Chiefs are responsible for ensuring that their members, battalions and divisions are prepared for whatever comes their way.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Lieutenant Ed Peterson
The Seattle Fire Department is a place of incredible loyalty and dedication. This award recognizes the person who has devoted much of their life in service through the Seattle Fire Department.
Unit Citation (1) and associated Certificates of Recognition/Letters of Appreciation (3)
This next award recognizes actions performed by a unit or work group in both hazardous and non-hazardous conditions.
In January 2018, Deena Hernandez’s life was saved by actions of multiple local agencies.
For their parts in a water rescue in January 2018, Medic 32, Engine 32 and Engine 37 are receiving a unit citation.
We are also recognizing personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington State Ferries and Harborview Medical Center for their role.
The following administrative citation is for fire department units or work groups that performed with a degree of excellence or proficiency that sets the unit apart.
Our award is given to Lieutenant Jon Goins, Lieutenant Josh Pearson, Paramedic Michael Mann and Chief Warehouser Sundae Garner.
Over two months last summer, the Seattle Fire and Seattle Police departments trained together on responding to an active shooter situation.
As part of that, firefighters practiced using ballistic gear, an unfortunate reality of our time. The shared protocol with Seattle Police, the extensive investment of time to develop and conduct the training as well as the work to develop new policy and deploy the protective gear could not have happened without the contributions of these four.
Commendations (13 presentations)
Now we will recognize those receiving commendations, which honor individual actions performed with excellence.
Flow & Move Training
Leaning into his high level of technical knowledge and fire experience, Lieutenant Ian Bennett created and implemented the Seattle Fire Department’s Flow and Move training to better train firefighters in fire attack on the hose line.
Lieutenant Bennett developed curriculum, assembled and trained a cadre of instructors and delivered a block of instruction that is concise, fire science-based and well received.
Aerial Operators Academy
Lieutenants Steve Crothers and Tim Frank dedicated a significant amount of their time developing and delivering the Seattle Fire Department’s first aerial operator academy, which launched in 2018.
They took on this effort through their own initiative, which also represented a significant and positive shift in culture for the Operations division. This shift will improve truck company operational effectiveness throughout the city, resulting in a higher level of service to our community.
Elevator Rescue Class
Battalion Chief Geoff Wall and Firefighter Josh Materi partnered to develop and deliver an elevator rescue class for ladder companies, which is advancing the department’s skill set and safety of elevator operations.
Because of this class, 42 companies from Seattle Fire and another 27 from around King County have grown in their proficiency at elevator rescue. The fire department now has new, more effective elevator rescue techniques that will enhance safety for firefighters and members of the public they serve.
Battalion Chief Casey Phillips, Firefighter Matt Lujan (Loo-Hawn) and Firefighter Aaron Fields came up with a new way of configuring the hose bed layout on engines.
Because of their extensive understanding of hydraulics, hose deployment models and water flows required to fight all types of fires, the three of them could implement this highly-effective new layout. They also coordinated the necessary resources to update engines and delivered the necessary training for personnel.
For many years, Firefighters Roger Bianchi and Scott Kallstrom have coordinated logistical support for all manner of Seattle Fire Department activities, including special events, large-scale training exercises, ceremonial events and memorials. As Senior Logisticians, Firefighters Bianchi and Kallstrom have become a valuable pair for procuring, delivering and deploying fire department equipment.
Off-Duty HWY 101 Rescue
While travelling near the summit of Mount Walker on Highway 101 last May, Firefighter Paul Guerra came upon the scene of a motorcyclist who had collided with a pickup truck pulling a large carnival trailer.
Firefighter Guerra provided medical assistance to this critically wounded individual until local first responders arrived. Even after they were on scene, Firefighter Guerra continued to help the crews prepare the patient for airlift.
Off-Duty CPR in Oahu
Lieutenant Spencer Nelson and his family were vacationing in Oahu in February of last year when he became aware of a woman being pulled from the surf at Shark’s Cove.
She wasn’t breathing.
He scrambled down two cliffs to the patient and performed CPR until local first responders were able to get to the scene.
Lt. Nelson continued to assist the crews with transporting the patient up the difficult trail path to the staged medic unit.
Off-Duty I-5 Motorcycle Accident
In late December, Firefighters Landon Lopez and Marissa Luchau (Lou-chow) were headed southbound on I-5 near Federal Way when they encountered the scene of a high-speed motorcycle accident.
The injured individual was found at the end of a debris field almost 200 yards long and had lost an arm and part of their leg. Together, the two of them quickly began helping the patient, providing assistance instrumental in saving the victim’s life.
Seafair Water Rescue
On August 3, while assigned to Seafair as one of Seattle Fire’s rescue swimmer team members, Firefighter John Gorman observed an adult man and two children in the water.
Rescue swimmers made contact with the man and were told several times that their assistance was unneeded.
Soon after, Firefighter Gorman saw the man and one child go underwater. He immediately went in the water, pulling the man and child out while a nearby boat pulled the second child to safety.
Off-Duty Snoqualmie Summit Rescue
Last April, Lieutenant Joshua McBride came upon a serious multi-vehicle accident near the Snoqualmie summit.
In assessing the scene, Lieutenant McBride found the most seriously injured patient in a van unconscious and not breathing.
He got into the van and adjusted the seat, which allowed the man to begin breathing. Once first responders arrived, Lieutenant McBride helped extricate the man and prepare him for medical transport.
Off-Duty I-5 Collision
Last February, during a winter morning commute to Seattle, Firefighter Chris Quinlan witnessed a pickup going the opposite direction crash into a section of jersey barrier on I-5 near Chehalis.
Firefighter Quinlan pulled over, called 9-1-1 and directed traffic as best he could with a flashlight. Despite his efforts, two semi-tractor trailers hit the pickup, causing it to burst into flames.
He leapt over the barrier, ran to the pickup and pulled the victim out to safety.
For this, the Chehalis Fire Department awarded Firefighter Quinlan with the Medal of Valor. And in case you are wondering, yes, he made it to his debit shift at Station 33.
This is not the only act of service Firefighter Quinlan is being recognized for today.
Off-Duty Tree Fall Incident
While at home last fall, he responded to an emergency happening right next door. A man had been topping a tree and fallen about 40 feet to the ground, with the top half of the tree falling on him.
Firefighter Quinlan cut the limbs and trunk of the tree, and with the help of his wife and two daughters, rolled the remaining pieces off of the victim. Firefighter Quinlan re-assessed the man and removed a rope that was around the man’s neck. He helped the Mossyrock volunteer fire crews in preparing the man for airlift.
Off-Duty Brush Fire
On August 19, Firefighter Paul Hansen and his family came upon a brush fire near his neighbor’s home. After alerting the neighbors and calling 9-1-1, Firefighter Hansen donned his Seattle Fire coveralls and drove his backhoe through the flames to clear brush, trees and objects ahead of the fire.
He continued to work his backhoe until it overheated.
At that point, he transitioned to help the responding firefighters with their hose line. In all, he continued to assist the local fire department for the next few days until all hot spots were extinguished.
This award recognizes a fire department member who has invested a significant amount of time or effort in activities outside their regular scope of work.
Firefighter Jonathan Helton is receiving the Meritorious Achievement Award for his initiative to develop a program to educate, train and provide coordination among the department’s pump operators.
Through this effort, Firefighter Helton has increased and elevated the operations of pump operators at fire scenes.
His vast knowledge and experience, coupled with a high level of initiative and commitment to excellence, has allowed him to create a training program that increases the department’s ability to save lives and protect property.
Certificate of Recognition
We would like to take a few minutes to acknowledge members of the community and other agencies for their contributions to the safety of others.
Vault Response Team
This first Certificate of Recognition is given to members of Seattle City Light. Seattle Fire and Seattle City Light formalized in June a first of its kind in the nation partnership for fighting electrical vault fires.
But the work between the department and Seattle City Light goes back several years.
Having the only true Vault Response Team in the nation would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of:
- Brian Belger
- Hamad Zadehgol
- Bernie Ziemianek
- Lester Eastlick,
- Charles Mahar
- Nhut Nguyen and
- Michelle Vargo
Their contribution continues to this day, and we thank each of you for your efforts.
Rotary Service Above Self
The Seattle Rotary Service Above Self Award recognizes community members who demonstrate care and concern for those in need, give selflessly of their time and resources to improve our community, and inspire others to take similar actions.
Harbor Island Rescue
Jason Maxwell was working on the dock of Terminal 18 at Harbor Island last August when his attention was directed to something floating in the water about 100 feet east of the dock. Realizing it was a person, he called for help, jumped into the water and swam over to the unconscious person. Jason assisted in getting him into a small boat and provided CPR until the boat could be lifted by crane onto Terminal 18 where the paramedics continued with the resuscitation. Jason put himself in great danger to make that rescue.
They are exemplars of the Rotary model of “Service Above Self” and the Seattle Fire Department’s mission of professional, effective and compassionate service. Congratulations to all the recipients of today’s awards!
Specially Trained Team of Firefighters and A Social Worker Will Help People Downtown with Behavioral Health or Substance Abuse Issues, Non-Emergency Medical Issues, and Access to Services
Team Will Provide Alternatives to Transport to Emergency Departments and Allow Fire Department Units to Focus on Emergencies Like Structure Fires and Vehicle Accidents
SEATTLE (May 7, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins announced the creation of the City’s new pilot program “Health One,” a team of specially trained Seattle Fire Department (SFD) firefighters and civilian specialists that will help people downtown with non-emergency 911 requests for issues like substance abuse, non-emergency medical issues, and a need to access services. This new SFD-sponsored pilot program will more appropriately address the needs of individuals with non-emergency 911 requests in and around downtown Seattle.
“As our city grows, our ability to deliver emergency and non-emergency responses must also grow. We pioneered Medic One, which became the gold standard in emergency health response. Non-emergency cases need a similar response in our growing urban environment,” said Mayor Durkan. “Thank you to Councilmember Sally Bagshaw for her vision and leadership in making this pilot a reality. And as always, thank you to the members of the Seattle Fire Department for all they do to serve our communities. We made Seattle the safest place in the world to suffer a heart attack. We will lead on new urban health responses.”
The department is designating a vehicle that can serve as the lead Health One response unit, and station it in downtown Seattle. The unit will respond during designated peak-time hours to incidents occurring in the downtown core and some adjacent residential neighborhoods. In the coming months, SFD will begin to staff the unit and undergo training, and prepare for placing the unit in service and ready to respond by late 2019.
On Wednesday at the City Council, Chief Scoggins will discuss the work that the Seattle Fire Department has done to design the pilot and help patients in and around downtown Seattle receive individually tailored services and diversion options. The designated unit will primarily respond to patients with the following incidents: behavioral crisis or substance abuse, chronic or low acuity medical complaints and/or social service needs.
“Many of the low acuity calls received by the fire department are related to homelessness, mental health, social needs, drug and alcohol use and chronic medical issues. These are healthcare needs that a typical emergency medical response unit is not well equipped to address. We can now look beyond the traditional method of transporting patients to an emergency room, and connect them with appropriate services,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
Councilmember Bagshaw allocated $475,000 to the Seattle Fire Department in the 2019 budget process to implement a mobile integrated health program like Health One. SFD is allocating an additional $25,000 dollars towards the program, bringing the total to $500,000 for the program, which is funded for a full year. In 2018, 42 percent of SFD’s medical calls were deemed “low acuity” calls. These calls dispatched an SFD unit and generally resulted in no action or a non-emergency transport by an ambulance provider to a hospital’s emergency department.
“Our hope is that this pilot program will improve the patient experience and the outcomes of individuals who access the City 911 system for non-emergency complaints, and lessen the impact of non-emergency requests for service on SFD operations units,” said Councilmember Bagshaw.
“A low-acuity mobile response team is a key strategy and investment for the City of Seattle to meet the less serious but emergent healthcare needs of people in crises, including the elderly, isolated and/or people experiencing homelessness,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide). “Rather than sending an entire aid care or fire engine, the Seattle Fire Department will now be more nimble by dispatching response teams equipped with a social worker and a Firefighter/EMT to meet the emergent needs of some of our most vulnerable residents while saving taxpayer dollars for other critical public safety services.”
“This program will allow the Seattle Fire Department to work efficiently and focus our limited resources on true emergencies – including structure fires, vehicle accidents, gas leaks, hazardous materials spills, urban search and rescue, and life-threatening medical emergencies, just to name a few. At the same time, it will also allow our firefighters to work in partnership with social service agencies to provide the best care possible for all the residents of Seattle,” said Seattle Firefighters Local 27 President Kenny Stuart.
The Seattle Fire Department has worked extensively with other City and County partners to research and complement existing programs already in place, such as the Seattle Police Mobile Crisis Unit and County-supported Mobile Crisis Team. The City’s Emergency Response Interdepartmental Team, which consists of SFD, Human Services Department, Seattle Police Department and Public Health Seattle-King County, continues to assess how the City can best address the needs of the people who most frequently utilize the City’s emergency response system, and how interventions might mitigate challenges faced by emergency responders when engaging with frequent utilizers.
Mark Prentice, Office of the Mayor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Tinsley, Seattle Fire Department, email@example.com
Saturday, May 4th at 10 a.m.
Montlake Cut (finish line is 300 yards west of Montlake bridge)
Come cheer on your Seattle Fire Department Crew at Opening Day as we race against the Seattle Police Department in the 4th annual “Battle of the Brave” First Responders Crew Race. This will be the first race down the course, set to begin immediately after the National Anthem at 10:00 am sharp. SFD Crew will be looking to improve our 2-1 record, and we could use some fan support!
Viewing is available from either side of the Montlake Cut, but the finish line is the best place to be: about 300 meters west of the Montlake Bridge. There will also be much to see after our race as over 100 crews are set to compete in the 32nd Annual Windermere Cup Races. The races are followed by the Seattle Yacht Club’s Opening Day Boat Parade.
With boating season officially underway, Seattle Fire wants to ensure you have a fun and safe adventure. Please follow these safety tips:
- Ensure your boat has a working smoke alarm. Test alarms monthly.
- Have a U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher on board and know how to use it. Mount the extinguisher near an exit to prevent being trapped.
- Dispose of oily rags in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Fuel portable tanks on the dock, not on your vessel.
- State law requires personal flotation devices for each person aboard a vessel.
- Never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
- Have your boat inspected by a certified electrician.
- Boats with AC systems should have isolation transformers or equipment leakage circuit interrupter protection.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while boating:
- Gas vapors will accumulate in low spots – before fueling, close all hatches, compartments and covers.
- After fueling, open everything up and ventilate.
- Swim and play away from areas where engines vent their exhaust.
- Educate all passengers about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning (irritated eyes, headache, nausea, dizziness).
- Never block exhaust outlets. Blocking outlets can cause CO to build up in the cabin and cockpit areas – even when hatches, windows, portholes, and doors are closed.
- Dock, beach, or anchor at least 20-feet away from the nearest boat that is running a generator or engine. Exhaust from a nearby vessel can send CO into the cabin and cockpit of a boat.
The Seattle Fire Department will train new firefighter recruits at a vacant home in the West Woodland neighborhood from May 8-10 at 919 and 923 NW 51st St. Live-fire training is an opportunity for our new fire recruits to work with our officers and face real fire scenarios in a controlled setting. This experience is vital to the development of new recruits as these fires act as a final evaluation of what they have learned over the past 12 weeks of training and focus on fire attack, teamwork and communication.
We conduct this training exercise twice a year in the city and make every effort to minimize the impact on the neighborhood. Local streets will be closed to ensure the safety of the community as well as the firefighters in training. NW 51st St. between 9th Ave. and 11th Ave. will be closed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking along the curbs of both sides of NW 51st St. 100-feet east and west of the houses will be coned off. Firefighters will help direct access to that block for residents in the immediate area. We recognize that this training exercise may present inconveniences to your daily schedules and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Our firefighters are among the best in the nation because of the training we are able to provide and because of the support we receive from our community.
On each day, we plan to have 4-5 fires spread throughout the day lasting 15-20 minutes. Residents will see smoke as controlled burns are set at the vacant structures. All carpet, plastics and toxic synthetic materials have been removed along with required asbestos abatement. The training officers will set wood fires in a controlled method with safety officers on hand during the exercises. This training is conducted under the strict regulations and rules of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. The smoke coming from the buildings during the live-fire is equivalent to smoke from a fireplace. After the fires are out, most of what you see coming from the structure is steam.
Neighbors are welcome to come and watch the live-fire training. Typical training days begin around 7 a.m. with the life-fire training starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until 5 p.m.
At 3:28pm on Saturday, April 27th Seattle Fire responded to a crane collapse at Fairview Ave. and Mercer St. which fell from the roof of a building and damaged a total of six vehicles. Crews immediately began stabilizing the crane and vehicles involved while triaging the victims of the crash. Firefighters searched the building and evacuated the people in the building and impacted area.
There were four fatalities:
- 3 male, 1 female
- Two were in crane, two were in separate vehicles
Four patients total were evaluated by medics, of those, three were transported with non-life threatening injuries to Harborview:
- 27 year-old male
- 25 year-old female
- 4-month female infant
A full and thorough investigation into the cause of the crane failure is being conducted by Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
SEATTLE – On April 24, just after 5 a.m., the Fire Alarm Center received multiple calls about a house fire in the U-District at the 4500 Block of 9th Avenue NE. Firefighters from Station 17 arrived first on scene and reported a fully-involved fire in a vacant house. Flames were shooting 30-feet in the air, and coming from all floors of the structure.
Crews quickly put a strategy in place of fighting the fire defensively from the outside, applying water first with hand lines, and then primarily from a ladder pipe. The roof had begun to collapse on both sides, creating the need for a 50-foot collapse zone on all sides of the structure.
Firefighters learned the house was scheduled for demolition, and actively worked to protect a nearby excavator from sustaining fire damage. Due to clear safety concerns, firefighters were unable to go in and search the house, however, there were no reports from any witnesses on scene of anyone inside.
Fire investigators responded to the scene and have begun their investigation into the cause, estimated damage, and origin. Information will be updated as it becomes available.
SEATTLE – On April 11 around 12:00 p.m., the Fire Alarm Center received a 911 call reporting smoke coming from a house located on the 9200 Blk. of 25 Ave NW. The first arriving engine company reported smoke coming from the roof of a house with fire on floor two. Crews responded with a quick and coordinated fire attack while simultaneously searching the house for any occupants but none were home. The fire was under control within 30 minutes and extinguished within two hours. At the height of the fire there were six engine and three ladder companies. There were no injuries to any firefighters.
Fire Investigators ruled the fire as accidental caused by electrical wiring igniting combustibles in the void space between floors one and two. Estimated loss is $100,000 to contents and $300,000 to structure.
SEATTLE – On April 3, 2019, the Seattle Fire Department held a promotional ceremony at Headquarters to appoint five members to new positions. The event was hosted by Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. The following employees were promoted:
- Captain – Kevin Flanagan
- Lieutenant – Amina Bakke
- Lieutenant – Pierre Gauleiler
- Lieutenant – Matthew Reilly
- Lieutenant – Christianson Dockter
Chief Scoggins also welcomed 8 new civilian employees:
- Daniel Flores, Permit Tech Supervisor
- Jesica DiCione, Actg Tech III, Payroll
- Erik Bennigson, Sr. MSA
- Peter Otusanya, Actg Tech II, Payroll
- Ann-Maree Tedaldi, Occupational Health and Fitness Coordinator
- Will Mak, Actg Tech II, Payroll
- Kevin Korver, Fire Prevention Engineer
- Melisa Fan, Actg Tech II, A/P
In addition to promotions, the Fire Chief commended The Public Affairs Office and Services Division for their excellent work during the historic snow storm earlier this year.
Congratulations to all!
SEATTLE – On March 30 around 3:45 a.m., the Fire Alarm Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a fire at a duplex, but later determined to be a commercial building, located on the 700 Blk of 23 Ave. Engine 6 arrived first and reported fire on the outside of the structure. Crews knocked the fire down before transitioning to an interior attack. There were no occupants inside the building and no injuries to any firefighters. The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes. At the height of the fire there were four engine and three ladder companies.
Fire Investigators have determined that this fire was intentionally set and is ruling it as arson. The estimated damage to the structure is $150,000 and $50,000 to contents.
The Seattle Police Department is conducting the follow-up investigation. Anyone with information about this fire should contact SPD’s Arson and Bomb Squad at (206) 684-8980. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.
Photos courtesy of John Odegard