West Valley Firefighters

Quarterly Newsletter

1st Quarter of 2012


Chief's Monthly Report

Chief's Monthly Report

Fire Department

Monthly Progress Report

West Valley Fire Department

Yakima County Fire District 12

For the Meeting of March 13, 2018 

Agenda Topic:            Department Monthly Progress Report

Prepared By:              Chief Nathan Craig

Date Prepared:          March 8, 2018

The primary purpose of this report is to keep the Board of Fire Commissioners informed as to the activities and progress on major programs or objectives.  The items listed, as near as possible, are in priority order.  As a second purpose, this report will be shared with the Officers Management Team and all fire personnel.


During our 2017 awards banquet held last month we honored Firefighter Andrew Pfaff as our 2017 Firefighter of the Year, Lieutenant Cameron Haubrich as our 2017 EMS Provider of the Year, and Lieutenant Sharon Gillette was selected as our 2017 Bulldog.  Additionally we recognized several members for their years of service; 40 years Firefighter Frank Woodin, 20 years Captain Brian Vetsch, 15 years Commissioner Ken Eakin, Lieutenant Randy Gohl and Firefighter Tammy Pettis, 10 years Lieutenant Dan Boisselle and 5 years Office Assistant Kim Lee.

Support Member Ashleigh Caldwell requested and was granted a three month leave as well as Firefighter Todd Monroe requested and was granted a one year leave. 

Later this month Armed Forces Benefit Association First Responder Task Force will be at Station 52 and 54 3/28 and 51 and 53 4/4 for a short presentation on life insurance they are offering our members. There is no obligation to buy however for being a member everyone qualifies for a $5,000 life benefit at no cost and has the opportunity to purchase additional insurance at a reduced rate.  The unique part of this insurance is that there are no exclusions for military or first responders.  Similar to how we utilize AFLAC, this will be a benefit available to members at their own expense.

Starting March we have 90 volunteers, 70 in service for combat firefighting, 9 in service for support, 9 out of service on leave and 2 on medical leave.  Our total number of members with volunteers, staff and Commissioners is 100 members.

Strategic Planning:

Our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan is posted on our website, been advertised on social media and was included in an article in our most recent District newsletter.  At this time I have final draft copies of each of our customer surveys out to our management group for suggested improvements and plan to have a final copy available for our workshop later this month to begin utilizing this tool in April.


February 14th the Yakima County EMS Administrative Board voted unanimously to recommend the Yakima County Commissioners modify the EMS levy distribution formula to ensure no departments receive less than 80% of the funds generated by their jurisdiction.  At the meeting the Chair read a note from Commissioner Elliot stating the Commissioners would implement the will of the board if there was consensus, the vote was unanimous however it was stated several cities are underrepresented through the Mayors group so they never were able to get a quorum.  At this time the Chair sent the Commissioners a letter stating the Boards positon, I have not heard anything since this meeting.

Last month Spillman was in town for a site audit, during this audit it was very apparent the fire service is underserved with this program.  At this time we are awaiting the results of the audit to see what actions need to be taken.  I will be attending the Northwest Spillman Users Group meeting this month to work on solutions to some problems as well as develop a network of similar users we can work together with for a better product.

Recruitment & Retention:  By LT Chris Lyons

I received three applications for the department last month bringing the total so far to six. I am currently working with members to find a set of questions that will give the interview panel a chance to learn more about the candidate during the interview. I have been working to find a work ability test that will test all of the areas that are critical in being a firefighter. If we can have the candidates perform these tasks in the beginning of the process, there will be less surprises for us as well as the recruit during recruit school.

With retention being an area of concern during the strategic planning process, I have been looking into some of the issues that cause members to leave. What I am finding is that most of the members that we have lost over the last three years have left due to life changes. I am not finding anything that we as a Department are doing that is causing people to leave. I do understand the importance of retention of members and will continue to look for ways to encourage members to stay. I believe that our Department offers a lot of great benefits to our members, and with the new incentive program we should see an increase in member retention.


In February there were a total of 59 incidents in District (9 fires, 39 EMS, 2 hazardous conditions, 1 service call, 1 false alarm and 4 good intents), 54 of those incidents were handled by our personnel.           

Incidents:                                        YTD                                                    

Station 51                   14                   29

Station 52                     9                    18       

Station 53                     7                   17

Station 54                    3                    10

Station 50                   21                   43

Yakima                         2                    5

Ambulance Only           3                    7

YTD                                                      129

Automatic Aid Received (both agencies respond)   Automatic Aid Given              

From Highland           0                                  To Highland                1

From Yakima              0                                  To Yakima                   5

From Gleed                 0

YTD                 2                                              YTD                 10       

Mutual Aid Received             0                                  Mutual Aid Given      4                                 YTD                 0                                              YTD                 7         

February is a little early for us to have brush fires, however, we had a little over an acre of brush burn on a bitter cold day with high winds.  If the activity of this fire is any indication of the season to come grass and brush fires may be common this year.  Additional losses last month were a tractor fire that was fully involved on arrival.

Department Training and Safety: By Captain Jim Johnston

February Drills included:  Equipment Check / Station Drill, OTEP Modules 1 & 2, Firefighter Jeopardy (51 & 53), Extrication Demo (52 & 54), and Ladder Operations.

Developed the March Drill Schedule: Equipment Check / Station Drill, OTEP Workshop A, Hydrants and Hoses, and Live Fire Training utilizing the Trailer, Car, and Dumpster.

In February we wrapped up the last of the structural portion of classroom training for this year’s Recruit Class, in March the Recruits will attend drills for more of their hands on training as well as starting the Wildland aspect of training. 

On February 27 and 28 I attended a two day National Fire Academy Health and Safety Officer class at the annual Training Officers Conference in Yakima.  There were 17 people that took the class, they came from departments throughout Washington.

During February, I was able to make contact with Howard Scartozzi of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, they have funding to bring a free two-day National Fire Academy Classes to departments across the state.  We will be hosting an Incident Safety Officer Class on April 21 and 22 as well as a tactics class – Preparation for Initial Company Operations (PICO) on May 12 and 13.  

To improve the health and safety of our members we have purchased a product called “Action Wipes” these moist towelletes are to be used during structure fires to assist in the removal of carcinogen laced soot while on scene. We plan to stock these on our rehab unit.

Fire Prevention / Public Education: By Captain Jim Johnston

February was a very slow month for any Prevention / Public Education opportunities.  I did receive our EDITH House schedule.  This year we will have the trailer April 23 thru 26.  I will reach out to our Members for any that would like to assist in providing instruction to the 2nd graders at Ahtanum, Mountainview, and Cottonwood Elementary Schools.

CTE Program / Cadet Program:  By LT Chris Lyons

The high school class continues to work on the training grounds improving our practical skills. They have started to put all of the reading together with the hands on and made great improvements over the last month. In the month of April we will starting the wildland portion of the class which will take most of the month to complete.

The Cadets continue to be active in attending drills and calls while maintaining good grades in school.  Jake Hanses is the first Cadet to be nominated for Firefighter of the Year, I am very proud of him and what he has accomplished. Jake has made great improvements on a personal level, as well and set the bar for how a Cadet should conduct themselves.

The application process for the students has opened and I am confident we will have some great cadets, as well as young firefighters out of this class. Applications are due on April 30th and I will be working with the students on filling out the applications, as well as making a portfolio to turn in with the application.


After bids came in above our price range we went back to the drawing board with our architect and have come up with a design that should be well within our budget yet still meet all of our original needs, at this time we are waiting on new plans to be drawn then the project will go back out to bid.

Captain Johnston replaced the ice machine at station 51 and we are back up and running.  The new Rescue 52 is back from Oregon and is at Cascade Fire for completion, I anticipate taking delivery of it later this month.

Within a week we had our freezer and refrigerator in the main kitchen at 51 quit working, we believe this was due to a power failure however at this time it doesn’t appear PP&L would cover the damage.  I am in contact with a repair company to determine what needs to be repaired, at this time we are hopeful one of the internal safeties worked correctly and it will be a minor repair.


The payment for our LED sign has been approved, FEMA is not going to allow us to access any of the leftover funds from the sign coming in under budget.

We have teamed up with Red Cross to bolster our smoke detector program. They provide the detectors and we install them while taking down some information from the occupants.  Because many of the detectors we have installed are approaching the ten year mark I anticipate we will again be busy with installations over the next few years, this partnership will allow us to continue the program at no cost to our citizens.

Good of the Order:

The WFC Spring Seminar is March 22 and 23 at the Yakima Museum and the Easter Egg hunt will be March 31st.


Nathan Craig

Fire Chief