Seattle Fire Department
|Seattle Fire Department|
|Motto: Dedicated to saving lives and protecting property|
|Annual Calls||81,733 (2012)|
|EMS Units||7 Medic + 4 Aid|
|Fire chief||Gregory M. Dean|
The Seattle Fire Department is the medical, rescue, and fire protection force of Seattle, Washington and it is the largest metropolitan fire department in the Pacific Northwest. It is also a part of Medic One.
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Operations
- 4 Fire Station Locations and Apparatus
- 5 Communications
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Seattle's Fire Department was established by City Charter in 1883. The charter provided for equipment purchases, but not for hiring of firefighters. Following the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, a professional fire department was created with five district fire stations. A fire boat was also purchased. The first Fire Chief of the professional department was Gardner Kellogg, who served from 1890 to 1892 and again from 1895 to 1901. A Board of Fire Commissioners was established by the 1890 City Charter to prescribe rules and regulations for the Department. The Board's responsibilities included enforcing rules violations and appointing the Fire Chief and all subordinate officers. The Board was abolished with passage of a new City Charter in 1896.
From the summer of 1992 into the winter of 1993 the State of Washington suffered the worst serial arson spree in American history. The first fires occurred the night of August 2, 1992. Over sixty were attributed to the arsonist by the end of October and a task force was established. On February 6 Task Force members went to Paul Keller's apartment and took him in to be interviewed. In about an hour he had confessed to many of the fires. Over one hundred fires after its inception, the arson epidemic came to an end.
The most devastating fire in the Department's history took place on the evening of January 5, 1995. At 7:03 P.M. the first alarm was dispatched to Mary Pang's Food Products, a one‑story frame, block‑long frozen food plant and warehouse at 811 ‑ 7th Ave. S. Heavy fire was noted at the rear of the building. After large streams had darkened much of the fire on the main floor, a fire crew entered for final extinguishment. What was not realized was that the fire, an arson, was in the basement. The fire which was knocked down was just its extension into the 1st floor. The basement fire, burning through a supporting floor beam., caused a section of the floor to drop into the basement as it rushed up into the main level. Firefighters rushed out of the nearest doors and windows to escape the heat., several of them suffering burns. At this point it was known that four of them had not come out. Lieutenants Walter Kilgore and Greg Shoemaker, and Firefighters James Brown and Randall Terlicker were still inside. Because the building now was too unsafe to enter it was not possible to effect a rescue attempt until the flames had been driven back. The 5‑11 alarm assignment effected control by 5:00 A.M. Then the search was on. The last body found, that of Randy Terlicker, was removed shortly before 7:00 P.M. on January 8. The loss of four members at one incident is the most ever suffered by the Seattle Fire Department.
The Pang fire resulted in four independent investigations, which studied the entire operation. The State Department of Labor & Industries, the United States Fire Administration, the International Association of Fire Fighters, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs each conducted its own probe. In May, an administration change placed the Safety Officer position directly under the Assistant Chief of Operations rather than the Chief of Training. Chief Rodney Jones, the Safety Officer, disagreed with this decision as it placed the Safety Officer in a subordinate position of the division he was to monitor. He was transferred on May 31, being replaced by Battalion Chief John Hadfield.
When the Department of Labor and Industries completed its investigation, violations were found, including lack of communications within the Department and not providing all possible safety equipment such as flame‑resistant cloth hoods. The greatest violation noted in their report, however, was interference with the Safety Officer and his duties.
The investigation into the cause of the Pang fire pointed to the business owners' son, Martin Pang, as the one responsible for setting it. He was arrested in Rio de Janeiro on March 16, and the long court battle for extradition was under way. When it was over, the Brazilian Supreme Court allowed extradition with the stipulation that he could be tried for arson only. Martin Pang was returned to the King County Jail on February 29, 1996. He was sentenced to thirty‑five years imprisonment on March 24, 1998.
In the wake of the Pang fire, the Safety Officer was upgraded to a Deputy Chief position. One Battalion Chief was assigned as Assistant Safety Officer on each platoon who was subordinate to the Deputy, thus assuring the swift arrival of a Safety Officer at each incident.
After almost thirty‑eight years in the Fire Service, Chief of Department Claude Harris retired, effective December 31, 1996. Assistant Chief Don Taylor served as Interim Chief while the search for a new Chief took place. On May 27, 1997, James Sewell ‑ up to then the Chief of the Ventura County (Calif.) Fire Department ‑ was appointed to the post.
Each spring since 1989, on the weekend nearest June 6, the city has celebrated the Pioneer Square Fire Festival in Pioneer Square with a parade and display of antique and modern fire apparatus, demonstrations of fire fighter skills, food and craft booths, and a party. In 1998, June 6, the anniversary of the 1889 fire, fell on a Saturday. This year the Festival took on additional meaning when the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial was dedicated. Thanks to the work of Battalion Chief Wes Goss and the Memorial Committee the bronze sculpture was now in place. On a granite block is inscribed the name of each Seattle fire fighter who died in the line of duty.
The rank structure of the SFD is shown below from most to least senior.
- Chief of Department: Overall command of the fire department.
- Assistant Chief: In charge of major divisions of the department.
- Deputy Chief: In charge of sections and offices under assistant chiefs.
- Battalion Chief: In charge of a geographical area of the city and the operations companies within that area. The safety chiefs are also battalion chiefs.
- Captain: In charge of all four platoons of an operations ladder or engine company. May also be assigned to a staff position.
- Lieutenant: In charge of one platoon of an operations engine or ladder company. May also be assigned to a staff position such as training.
- Firefighter/Paramedic: Paramedics in the SFD are all firefighters that applied for training as paramedics under the Medic One program. They operate in 2 person units located throughout the city.
- Firefighter: Responsible for fire suppression, inspections, EMS responses, hydrant inspections, equipment maintenance, and other tasks as members of an operations ladder or engine company. May also be selected and assigned as a member of a specialty team such as technical rescue, marine firefighting, decon team, hazmat team, dispatch, etc. The SFD does not have a separate job class for the assigned drivers, they are most often the senior firefighter assigned to a company.
The Seattle Fire Department has at its head, the Fire Chief, or Chief of Department. Reporting directly to the Chief of Department are 4 Assistant Chiefs in charge of the following department divisions: Resource Management, Safety and Employee Development, Operations, and Fire Prevention/Fire Marshal.
The Resource Management Division, commanded by the Resource Management Assistant Chief, is responsible for Finance (headed up by a civilian director), and Information Systems, Support Services, and Communications, each headed up by a deputy chief. The SFD Fire Alarm Center (FAC), or dispatch, is somewhat unusual in that it is staffed by firefighters instead of civilian dispatchers.
Safety and Employee Development
The Safety and Employee Development Division, commanded by the Safety and Development Assistant Chief, is responsible for Training (deputy chief), Human Resources (civilian director), Equal Employment Opportunity (civilian director), and the safety chiefs (4 battalion chiefs, one for each shift).
The Operations Division, commanded by the Operations Assistant Chief, is organized into 5 Operational Battalions and one Medic Battalion(Battalion 3). Each Battalion is commanded by a Battalion Chief. The Battalion headquarters are shown below, as well as what areas or districts of Seattle they command.
- Battalion 22 - Fire Station # 25 - Downtown/Capitol Hill (formerly Battalion 2, now staffed only if the city has an extra chief on duty. Battalion 22 duties were assumed by Deputy 1 as a cost saving measure.)
- Battalion 3(Medic Battalion) - Medic One Headquarters - Harborview Medical Center
- Battalion 4 - Fire Station # 18 - Ballard/Green Lake/Northwest Seattle
- Battalion 5 - Fire Station # 13 - Rainier Valley/SODO
- Battalion 6 - Fire Station # 17 - University District/Northeast Seattle
- Battalion 7 - Fire Station # 29 - West Seattle
The SFD operates on a four platoon system with A, B, C, and D shifts. For each battalion there are 4 battalion chiefs, one for each shift. One battalion chief in each battalion is designated as the supervising chief of that battalion. Due to budgetary restraints, Battalion 2 was placed out of service in 2012 and the Battalion 2 chiefs's duties were assumed by Deputy 1.
In addition to the supervison of the operations companies under their command, Battalion 7 is responsible for the Marine unit, including the Fireboats. Battalion 5 is responsible for the Heavy Rescue/Dive Teams. Deputy 1 supervises the Haz-Mat Unit.
The Battalion 3 chief oversees the Medic One program and department's paramedics. This position is actually filled by a deputy chief that oversees all four platoons. The on duty medic supervisor is a lieutenant/paramedic and is designated Medic 44 (M44).
In addition to the on duty battalion chiefs there is an on duty shift commander in the rank of Deputy Chief (DEP1) that commands the Battalion Chiefs and the shifts of operations personnel under the command of the division's Assistant Chief.
All operations division personnel work 24 hour shifts.
The Fire Prevention/Fire Marshal Division, commanded by the Fire Prevention/Fire Marshal Assistant Chief commands the Sound Transit Deputy Chief, The Office of the Fire Marshal(Deputy Chief), Special Events(Captain) and Fire Investigation(Captain). 
- 1,020 Personnel
- 208 On-Duty Strength
- 35 Department Chiefs
- 1,020 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) Certified
- 74 Paramedics
- 87 Non-Uniformed (Civilian) Personnel
- 33 Fire Stations (excludes Medic One Headquarters at Harborview Medical Center)
- 32 Engines
- 11 Ladders (L1, L3, L4, L5, L6, L7, L8, L9, L10, L11, L12) Note: Ladder 13 pulled from temporary service at Station 11 after 7/1/12
- 4 Aid Units (BLS) (normal on-duty strength) (A2, A5, A14 & A25)
- 7 Medic Units (ALS) (M1, M10, M16, M18, M28, M31 & M32)
- 5 Battalions (B22, B4, B5, B6 & B7)
- 1 Deputy Chief (DEP1)
- 2 EMS/Paramedic Supervisors (M44 & M45)
- 1 Safety Chief (SAFT2)
- 1 Staff & ICS Support Unit (STAF10)
- 1 Command, Control & Communication Van (COMVAN)
- 3 Chaplain Units (CHAP3, CHAP5 & CHAP6)
- 2 Mobile Air Compressors (AIR240 & AIR260)
- 2 Air Bottle Units (AIR9 & AIR10)
- 4 Fire Boats (E1, E3, E4 and a reserve) (1 4-Person Crew)
- 2 Hose/Foam Wagons (HOSE18 & HOSE34)
- 1 Technical Rescue Unit (R1)
- 1 Reserve Technical Rescue Unit (R80)
- 1 Haz Mat Unit (HAZ1)
- 1 Reserve Haz Mat Unit (HAZ80)
- 1 Mobile Ventilation Unit (MVU1)
- 1 Decontamination Unit (DECON1)
- 1 Multiple Casualty Incident Unit (MCI1)
- 1 Marine Incident Unit (U-99 or MARVAN)
- 1 Fire Investigation Unit (MAR5)
- 1 Public Information Officer (PIO)
- 1 Power/CO2 Truck (P-25)
- 1 Metropolitan Medical Strike Team Trailer (MMST)
- 1 Urban Search & Rescue Trailer (USAR)
- 1 Rehabilitation Unit (REHAB1)
Other units that may be heard over Seattle Fire Department Radio are either reserve units or rare units that aren't in service always. Such as:
- TRN1 ("Training 1")
- MM2 (Metropolitan Medical Chief # 2)
- 234 or 89 (Fire Chief / Assistant Chief of Operations)
- Many Reserve Engines, Ladders, Aid Units and Medic Units (Generally the units will be in an 80's or 90's number series, such as E90 or A85)
Fire Station Locations and Apparatus
The list below is fairly comprehensive and includes all first line apparatus. Some stations may have reserve apparatus that is not included on this list.
Reserve Battalion Chief's units are designated by a repeating the digit of the battalion, i.e., Battalion 5's Chief's unit would be Battalion 5, thus the Reserve Battalion Chief's unit would be Battalion 55).
The fire department is currently in the middle of remodeling and replacing many stations under the Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy. As such some of the addresses below will be changing or certain stations may have been moved to temporary quarters while their station is remodeled.
Battalion 3(Medic One)
|Other fire department facilities|
Other fire department facilities
- Automatic Fire Alarm(Commercial): 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
- Automatic Fire Alarm(Residential): 1 Engine
- 1 RED: 1 Engine or 1 Ladder, or 1 Aid Unit
- 2 RED: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
- 3 RED: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 Battalion Chief
- 4 RED: 2 Engines, 1 Ladder, 1 Battalion Chief
- Structural Fire(1st Alarm): 5 Engines(1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy Chief, 1 Medic Unit, 1-2 Aid Units, 1 Air Supply Unit, 1 Safety Officer, 1 Rehab. Unit
- Investigation: 1 Engine or 1 Ladder
- Rubbish Fire: 1 Engine
- Vehicle Fire: 1 Engine
- Vehicle Fire on Freeway: 2 Engines
- Food on the Stove: 1 Engine or 1 Ladder
- Heavy Rescue: 2 Engines, 2 Ladders, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy Chief, 2 Medic Units, 2 Aid Units, 1 Rescue, 1 Safety Officer, 1 EMS Supervisor
- Water Rescue: 2 Engines, 2 Ladders, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Medic Unit, 2 Aid Units, 1 Safety Officer, 1 EMS Supervisor, 1 Patrol Unit
- Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA): 1 Engine
- Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) on Freeway: 2 Engines, 1 Aid Unit
- Carbon Monoxide Emergency: 1 Ladder
- Elevator Rescue: 1 Ladder
- Aid Response: 1 Engine or Aid Unit
- Aid Response(Yellow): 1 Engine or Aid Unit
- Assault w/Weapons: 1 Aid Unit, 1 Battalion Chief
- Medic Response - Assault w/ Weapons: 2 Engines, Ladders or Aid Units, 1 Medic Unit, 1 Batallion Chief, Medic Supervisor (Medic 44/Medic 45)
- Medic 6 or 7 Person Rule: 2 Engines or Ladders, 1 Medic Unit
- Medic Response: 1 Engine, Ladder or Aid Uni1t, 1 Medic Unit
- Automatic Medical Alarm: 1 Engine or Ladder
- Electrical Emergency: 1 Engine
- Lock-In/Lock-Out: 1 Engine
- Odor of Gas: 1 Ladder
- Unknown Odor: 1 Engine
- Wires Down: 1 Ladder
- Water Leak: 1 Ladder
- "Annual Response Totals". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "About Seattle Fire Department". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Apparatus Showcase". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Apparatus Showcase". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- "Apparatus Showcase". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
- SFD History:The 1990s. SFD History:The 1990s. Seattle Firefighters IAFF Local 27. Retrieved 25 JUL 2009.</
- Seattle Fire Department Policies and Operating Guidelines. City of Seattle. 2009
- http://www.seattle.gov/fleetsfacilities/firelevy/facilities/jtf/training.htm Joint Training Facility. City of Seattle. Retrieved 25 JUL 09
- Seattle Fire Department home page
- Guide to Seattle Fire Department Annual Reports 1895-1989
- Guide to the Seattle Fire Department Station House Files 1903-1975
- Seattle Fire Department Annual Report Note- Annual Report does not comply with Washington State law (RCW 35.103 Fire Department Performance Measures). It does not contain response standards for 'Special Operations' or 'Marine Rescue and Firefighting'.
- Third Rail, newspaper of Seattle Fire Fighter's Union Local 27, from the Labor Press Project