Councilmember Herbold: Budget Must Preserve Necessary D1 Resources Firefighters Need to Save Lives

“As our population grows, it’s critical that we provide new resources, especially in historically underserved areas,” says Herbold

Seattle, WA – Councilmember Lisa Herbold (District 1, West Seattle & South Park) and Chair of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, responded to Mayor Bruce Harrell’s address, with a focus on ensuring firefighters receive needed resources in this year’s budget

“As we move into the first budget season with the Harrell administration, among my areas of focus is ensuring firefighters get the resources they need to perform their life-saving duties. 

“As soon as the Bridge closed in March of 2020, I asked Chief Scoggins whether another ladder truck was needed for the peninsula. I was grateful then that Chief Scoggins’ championed the safety of District 1 with his decision to place a ladder truck for the peninsula at Fire Station 37, in the Highpoint neighborhood, and a medic unit at Fire Station 26 in South Park.   

“However, with the release of the proposed budget on Tuesday, it appears that those resources are proposed to be removed at the end of 2022 and used instead for training more recruits to SFD.  Last year I successfully championed an amendment to grow the recruit class for SFD by 20 recruits above the number that was in then-Mayor Durkan’s budget, for a total of 80 recruits funded in 2022. I support the staffing needs of SFD and Mayor Harrell’s proposal to fund an additional 10 recruits than in the Council’s 2022 adopted budget. 

“Just like we did in the 2022 budget, we must fund both life-saving investments in the Council’s 2023 budget. 

“The historically underserved areas that receive life-saving assistance from our first responders at Fire Station 37 and Fire Station 26 need these resources in 2023.  Without the ladder truck at Station 37 there is only one ladder truck to serve all of West Seattle. The nearest medic units are Medic 28 in Rainer Valley and Medic 32 in the Junction, far away from the Delridge neighborhoods, Arbor Heights, and South Park. As our population continues to grow it’s critical that we reevaluate the need for new resources, especially in historically underserved areas.    

“As I reported last week in my newsletter, many people have written to me to support the life-saving services of Ladder Truck 37 and Medic Unit 26.  One of my constituents who is a tenured firefighter on E37, contacted Council to make a strong case for keeping this in place: 

…Both units provide coverage to areas of West Seattle that when the unit (L11 or M32) assigned is out of service on a call, it creates a delayed response of specialty skill and task to our area that cannot be performed by an Engine company. This delay potentially can be outside of life-saving minutes. This delay can also risk firefighter safety. 

…Without the ladder truck at Station 37 there is only one ladder truck to serve all of West Seattle – if it’s not already dispatched on a call. This means that responses requiring extrication, fire-related search and rescue, fire ventilation and other ‘truck’ abilities which are unable to be performed by an engine company [leading to] a delay of approx.14-20mins.  Respectively, a 6-8 min response using L13. Our ability to perform life saving measures are limited as firefighters. We are trained to the level of EMT’s. Traumatic injuries, CPR, severe stroke, allergic reactions, birth complications, drug overdoses; all require the skills of a paramedic. With only one medic unit to the West Seattle area, this leads to delays of approx. 12-18 mins if not more. 

“With this constituent’s lived experience, professionalism, and comments in mind, I will be working to fund L13 and M26 to provide continued service in District 1.”