EXCLUSIVE: Seattle fire operating in 'Emergency Staffing Mode' for New Year's Eve due to staff shortages

Since before Christmas, the department has been on "Emergency Staffing Mode" due to "projected staffing falling well below the daily minimum staffing of 200."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
The Seattle Fire Department is so short-staffed that they are begging staff to work 72-hour shifts just to have minimal coverage during the holidays.

According to internal documents exclusively obtained by The Post Millennial, there are not enough units to cover regular service and special events for New Year’s Eve in the Emerald City due to staffing shortages. As such, units on duty may be shifted over to those events, possibly leaving their coverage areas with no available units for service.

Units would have to come longer distances from other parts of the city to service calls.

Since before Christmas, the department has been on "Emergency Staffing Mode" due to "projected staffing falling well below the daily minimum staffing of 200."

Internal documents obtained by The Post Millennial revealed that, as of July, there were "more than 110 vacant positions for uniformed SFD members" in the SFD and that the shortfall was expected to last a minimum of "12-18 months."

A department whistleblower previously stated that the staffing crisis is so dire that "someone is going to get killed," and is worried the city will not take action to solve the problem, even if the victim is a firefighter.

As a result of the shortage of staff, units are taken offline, which used to be called a "brown out" before the term was deemed racist. The number of units that were browned out has jumped in the past 2 years.

Additionally, the city has a shortage of functional fire trucks. According to sources, "Any mechanical issue and the city doesn't have the resources to replace it." As such, the dept is advising crews in the event of a malfunction to shuffle trucks between stations, leaving others short on equipment.

It has previously been reported that firefighters have had to deal with ongoing thefts of equipment as well as vandalism, even attempting to steal firetrucks on top of an ongoing staffing crisis.

The department has even reported an uptick in fires that were intentionally set in areas where some of the thefts and assaults have occurred.

A new policy was instituted, due to these incidents, that two crew members are now required to stay with the unit while on non-emergency work, even though the department is dangerously short-staffed.

The city fired many firefighters for refusing to take the COVID jab, despite being granted exemptions from the department. Some of them who remain, who haven't transferred or moved, would take their jobs back. However, the city refuses to hire them back, claiming they were terminated because of "disciplinary" issues. The city does not rehire staff that were fired for disciplinary issues.

Seattle will, however, re-hire staff that transferred or retired to avoid the vax mandate.

During a recent meeting, the dept had the chance to change the policy, but HR director Sarah Lee refused to do so, claiming it could affect a lawsuit, likely referring to the ongoing case the terminated firefighters have against the Emerald City.

One former firefighter previously told The Post Millennial"They could start solving their staffing crisis tomorrow, if they wanted to, by hiring us back. Instead, guys are going to other departments that don't have the mandate."

Things are so bad in Seattle that firefighters are also dealing with assaults while on calls and have had objects thrown at vehicles while rushing to emergencies.

Sources within SFD previously said that there is growing frustration that firefighters are being targeted by criminals, and the city, along with department management, are not doing enough to protect them.

A firefighter previously told The Post Millennial that recruits do not have as much "life experience" and are rushed through training, which has become a safety concern. The example given was if a recruit doesn’t know much about how a structure is built, they can "cut into an area which can compromise the integrity of the building," adding that a supervisor told them to "keep their heads on a swivel" for their safety due to the inexperience of recruits.

The firefighter added that "people could die" and they do not believe that the shortages will be addressed until someone does.
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