West Valley Firefighters

Quarterly Newsletter

1st Quarter of 2012


Chief's Monthly Report

Chief's Monthly Report

West Valley Fire Department

Yakima County Fire District 12

For the Meeting of August 8, 2017


Agenda Topic:            Department Monthly Progress Report

Prepared By:              Chief Nathan Craig

Date Prepared:          August 4, 2017

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.


Station 52 Firefighter Chris Willette has returned from leave.

Starting August we have 87 volunteers, 69 in service for combat firefighting, 10 in service for support, 2 on light duty 1 on medical leave and 5 out of service on leave.  Our total number of members with volunteers, staff and Commissioners is 98 members.


On August 3rd another EMS levy distribution meeting was held reviewing three proposed formula changes to create equality in the distribution of these funds. Nine agencies were represented at this meeting.  A lot of discussion centered on need and fairness to taxpayers, in the end it was determined using the same formula but limiting the amount of funds leaving a jurisdiction to 20% and the maximum funds a department could receive is 100% of the tax paid by their jurisdiction was the most feasible option.  Because this change would significantly drop funding to some cities it was suggested the change not take place until the levy renews, at that time a possible increase to the rate would be suggested to keep cities at current revenue levels while increasing those under 80% funded.  The levy will most likely be on the ballot in 2022 and if approved renews in 2024 so these changes would not assist us until 2024.  The city managers and mayors are going to use this proposal as a base and come back to the next meeting scheduled in September with a proposal, we have requested this issue get resolved within the next year rather than waiting until renewal time based on the last renewal being told the formula would be fixed if it passed.

Budget/Finance: By Officer Boisselle

At the July Officer Meeting, 2017 Budget Requests were distributed.  Officers are collaborate with station personnel on ideas and suggestions to improve their particular station or the District as a whole. Returned requests are due at the next Officer Meeting on August 28th.

Mid-year budget review is on the agenda for this meeting.  I am still working with BIAS on the wage and benefit issue and hope it have it fixed by the meeting.  Either way we will review all other budgetary line items that pose a negative effect on the 2017 budget.

Chief Craig and I have been exploring other “benefit” options for the volunteers to replace the Prudential life insurance policies.  The intention of this program when it started in 1997 was that each member after several years of service or retirement would have a little “savings” attached to the policy, allowing them to cash it out and receive a cash benefit.  Unfortunately over the years the policies have changed and this is no longer the case.  We have recently met with our VFIS representative on a retirement option that we are going to look into further.  This will be a 2018 budget item.

Department Training and Safety: By Captain Jim Johnston

July Drills included:  Equipment Check / Station Drill, Tender Shuttle, Circuit Drill, and Family Barbeque.  For Day Drill, I added an Engine Company and a Firefighter Rescue Drill.

Developed August Drill Schedule: Equipment Check / Station Drill, EVIP Rodeo with FIT Testing, Hose Testing, EVIP Road Course, and a Make-Up night for EVIP and FIT Testing.

On July 5th we conducted the Written Test for upcoming Lieutenants and Captains. Five took the Lieutenant Test and four took the Captain Test.  The list will be valid for two years.

On July 14th a few members from our Department participated in filming an OTEP video.  The video will be utilized for the classroom setting of OTEP – the video will focus on procedures for air lifting a patient via helicopter.  

On July 15th we spent all day running our June hires thru the Burn Trailer, Car, and Dumpster Props.  I was assisted by – Lt Scott Wellner, Lt Josh Wellner, Lt Chris Lyons, FF Mike Parrish and FF Jason Wood.  Thank you to all of them and our Rehab Unit for assisting that day; it was a very hot day with the temperature in excess of 95 F.


Tender 54 retrofit is complete, due to extreme fire danger we are holding off on Tender 53 until more favorable conditions to have it out of service exist. While that project is on hold we will get the front discharge modification to Engine 53 completed as well as the booster pump for Air 50 re-installed.  This past month we also installed a faucet on the exterior of the rehab bus to facilitate filling our water mister. Progress continues on the signs for Station 53 and 54.

Upcoming projects we are working on; the new Rescue truck chassis should arrive this month, specifications on the box layout for the bed are being completed now. The Rescue re-chassis is on the assembly line at the factory, and we received the used chassis back and will be trading it in to Valley Ford when the other chassis arrives.  The architect has developed drawings for Station 52 capturing our needs for a larger meeting space, private officer office and a light workout area.  We are currently soliciting quotes for the Station 53 asphalt project with plans to have this completed this fall.

We have an opportunity to increase our fire flow by adding an elevated master stream apparatus to our fleet in the form of a used platform ladder truck the City of Yakima will be surplussing, this item is on the August agenda for discussion.


In July there were a total of 80 incidents in District (20 fires, 42 EMS, 1 service calls, 2 hazardous conditions, 3 false alarms and 12 good intents), 68 of those incidents were handled by our personnel.                                                       

Incidents:                                        YTD                                                    

Station 51                   19                   94

Station 52                   21                   94       

Station 53                   8                    45

Station 54                   4                     28

Station 50                   23                  151

Yakima                       5                     37

YTD                                                 449


Ambulance only         3                      18


Automatic Aid Received (both agencies respond)   Automatic Aid Given                                    

From Highland           0                                  To Highland                4

From Yakima              4                                  To Yakima                   3

From Gleed                 0

YTD                 12                                            YTD                 29       


Mutual Aid Received             0                                  Mutual Aid Given      11                               YTD                 1                                              YTD                 28       

Nine of the mutual aid responses we provided were for third alarm or greater fires and two for second alarm response, third alarms were five to Selah and two each to Naches and East Valley in addition to both second alarms being to District 5.

This past month we changed our dispatching from apparatus specific to station dispatching, this change was made in an effort to improve CAD recommendations to get the closest apparatus dispatched without the system tracking apparatus.  While making these changes I reviewed all our zones as they are set up on the map and expanded the EMR Red priority dispatch zone to capture more areas near ambulance stations to be ambulance only responses for minor EMS calls in an effort to reduce the workload on our volunteers.

Recruitment & Retention:  By LT Chris Lyons

In July we received 3 more applications as well as several follow up cards for information. I have been holding off on putting up the recruitment banners as I have been working on signs that will go to stations 53 and 54 and display that we are seeking more volunteers. The signs have been delivered and I will be working this week to get them installed at the stations. I have been helping plan our annual golf tournament and will have applications and information available at that event for anyone who is interested in joining our department.

At the beginning of the year I met with Station 53 to get some information on what we can do to keep our current members as well as things that we can to do recruit more members. I put meeting with the other stations off until the strategic planning meetings were over, however I have since met with Stations 51 and 52. The meetings are proving to be very helpful in obtaining information to better our Department and retain our current members.

CTE Program / Cadet Program:  By LT Chris Lyons

July was a light month for the program as we are on summer vacation. However, I have been working to improve the CTE programs presentation of the curriculum to make it more geared toward the students that I am teaching without compromising any of the material that they need to learn. Also, since school has taken a break for the summer many of the students that were in my class have taken advantage of the opportunity to work on the day crew and get some on- the-job experience before returning to school in the fall. I have received the class roster for the year and I currently have 20 students that will be attending the class for this year.

Fire Prevention / Public Education: By Captain Jim Johnston

From July 10th thru the 13th I took a Fire and Life Safety Educator 1 class at Yakima Station 95.  This class is geared for members of departments that lead Public Education events; there were 22 people from all over the state that attended the class. 


We received a $300 grant from the Firefighters Charitable Foundation, this money will go towards the purchase of five used portable radios for $245 each.

In May I reported I had submitted for reimbursement on our SAFER grant in the amount of $73,317 to reimburse our cost from October through April and that they were questioning the amounts.  That request was rejected so I have since submitted two separate requests, October 1 to December 31, 2016 for $30,910 and January 1 to April 30, 2017 for $42,407, both of these requests were approved.  I estimate at the end of the period of performance for this grant there will be $17,542 leftover, I am currently inquiring if there is a possibility of a two month extension of the period of performance to use all the funds approved for the grant.

FEMA has begun awarding SAFER grants this past month, as of right now they have only awarded hiring grants. We have a grant for an LED display sign at Station 51 under recruitment and retention that is in the running.  Additionally we have not heard anything on our equipment grant for wildland gear, oftentimes with these grants, no news is good news and typically means we scored high enough on our application that it is in line for funding and now just depends on how long funding holds out.


The Washington Fire Chiefs Association is conducting an online survey regarding legislative priorities for 2018, responses are due by August 21st, and this item is on the agenda for discussion.

Good of the Order:

Our online Strategic Planning survey closed with 31 responses, I have developed a draft of the plan for discussion at tonight’s meeting with four critical issues identified in the plan:

  • Retention of qualified/competent volunteers
  • Revenue is losing pace with expenses
  • Facilities and apparatus meeting current and future needs
  • Succession planning for administrative duties

As discussed in the past the bones of the plan will be used to draft our 2018 budget and once the budget is complete committee work will begin to finalize the plan.

The Yakima County Fire Commissioners quarterly meeting is August 17th in the Nile, Captain Johnston will attend on my behalf and is available for you to ride with him.

Nathan Craig, Fire Chief