For Immediate Release Contact: Don Waller
July 23, 2014 (509) 991-6959
Spokane Firefighters Union Gives Presentation
on the Declining State to the Spokane Fire Department
On Wednesday night Don Waller, president of the Spokane Firefighters Union gave a presentation at the Woman’s Club to a group of community leaders and concerned citizens. Waller’s presentation outlined the steady erosion of the Spokane Fire Department services due to declining staffing levels, inadequate funding and aging equipment.
Waller acknowledged that city leaders are aware that there are problems but said that the city is only able to come up with band aid solutions. For example a new program that staffs single person SUVs to go on lower priority calls does keep large fire engines in service, but it is only a short term fix. Waller also mentioned that one section of town, Eagle Ridge, has such poor fire protection that some residents were unable to even get insurance on their houses. The city’s remedy was an automatic aid agreement with Fire District 3. But again this was just another band aid. The city acknowledged that this did nothing to improve fire service to Eagle Ridge and was only implemented in order to help residents get fire insurance on their houses.
Don Waller stated that “the real long term solution to the department’s problems is a combination of increased staffing and a blending of regional services in order to capture efficiencies.” Waller explained “In the short term, the staffing issue can be addressed with a voter approved levy lid lift. In the long term, we need to seriously consider a Regional Fire Authority where the Fire Department separates itself from city government.”
In closing Waller said “the people of Spokane deserve much better, we all need to work together to solve what is becoming a public safety crisis.”
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