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 November 13, 2018

Agenda Topic:            Department Monthly Progress Report

Prepared By:              Chief Nathan Craig

Date Prepared:           November 9, 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.

Strategic Planning:

Progress in October included continuing efforts to recruit for daytime members, developing the 2019 budget based on strategy while ensure we meets our needs and rising costs, reviewing reserve fund needs and updating our recruit academy schedule for recruitment and retention.

The Strategic Planning Committee met last month to review progress and update the plan.  We had good discussion on the future of the District and the needs of our citizens.  Following the update, the staff met to put ideas from the committee into strategies then an updated draft was sent to all committee members for comment.  The next meeting is November 27th at 5pm, I believe we are on track to have the plan updated by the end of the year.

November 1st, I spent a day in Ellensburg participating in updating the Washington Fire Chiefs Strategic Plan.  The meeting was run by a consultant and was a very similar process to how we developed our plan. 

Budget/Finance: By Officer Boisselle

At the Washington Fire Commissioners conference in October the Washington State Auditor’s Office presented the District with a Stewardship Award.  The District was recognized based on outstanding accomplishments in accountability, transparency and good stewardship of public resources.

The 2019 Budget has been finalized and is on the agenda for review and approval.  The only revision made was the inclusion of the new Washington State Paid Family Medical Leave program.  The District’s portion of this program will be approximately $1,200.

Department Training and Safety: By Captain Jim Johnston

October Drills included: Equipment Check / Station Drill / 4th Quarter SCBA quarterly, OTEP Workshop C (EMT Well Being & Pharmacology), Search & Rescue, and Multi Company Operations with the Burn Trailer.

Developed the November Drill Schedule: Equipment Check / Station Drill, Extremity Injuries – Splinting & Immobilizing, Recruit Interviews, non-interview panel members will do Multi Company Operations Basics with the Burn Trailer.

On October 20th I ran five of our 2018 Recruits thru the Pump Operator Academy, at the end of the class they were given their task books to start working on becoming certified driver/operators.

The 2019 Recruit Class Schedule has been finalized and mailed to all applicants prior to them performing the physical ability testing on November 17th.

On October 30th Chaplain Mark Swanson, Rehab member Jean Siebert and I attended a meeting with several First Responders from Law Enforcement and Fire, along with SunComm, and Comprehensive Mental Health on First Responder Wellness. Comprehensive Mental Health is trying to formalize a “think group” which is geared towards the mental health of all First Responders.   

Fire Prevention / Public Education: By Captain Jim Johnston

During Fire Prevention Week (October 7-13) myself and the day crew visited Mountainview and Ahtanum Valley Elementary Schools Kindergarten classes to talk about fire safety in the home.  This year’s theme for Fire Prevention Week is Look, Listen, Learn - Be aware fire can happen anywhere, we were able to speak to 91 Kinders between the 5 classes.  We also gave them a demonstration of the transformation of station uniform to full structural gear with SCBA. 

On Saturday October 20th Engine 51 with a crew of Lt Scully, FF Pfaff, FF Sutton, and Sparky (High School Fire Science student Zach Dodge) attended an event at Steins Ace Hardware – it was a national promotion called “Fix it Fest” where Ace was promoting home fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.  While at the event they handed out Fire Prevention information, answered questions, and showcased their Engine.

October 26th the Firefighter’s Association held their annual Haunted Firehouse for the community, this event brought in $250 in cash and filled several barrels with non-perishable food, the money and food will all go to helping needy families in West Valley during the holiday season.


Melanie Eakin has returned to the support unit after a short leave of absence.

Firefighter Morgan Clark has been working remotely over the summer and sent a request for a leave of absence that got lost in cyber space several months ago, we have received the request now and granted her leave through May 2019.

Starting November, we have 90 volunteers, 71 in service for combat firefighting, 8 in service for support, 8 out of service on leave, 2 on medical leave and 1 on light duty.  Our total number of members with volunteers, staff and Commissioners is 100 members.

Recruitment & Retention:  By LT Chris Lyons

October brought the application process to a close for the 2018 acceptance period. I am happy to report we ended with 24 applications. New this year, we invited all applicants to attend drill on November 7th to give members a chance to meet the applicants and talk with them to get a better idea of who they are before the interviews. I believe this will play a big role in hiring new members that will be long serving as we apply what we learn about them to the list we created earlier this year of qualities that we would like to see in our new hires.

We have redesigned our Work Ability Test with the goal of making it more applicable to the job our members perform. The dates for the remaining portion of the application process have been set with the Work Ability Test scheduled for November 17th and the interviews will be held on November 28th.

CTE Program / Cadet Program:  By LT Chris Lyons

 The Fire Science Futures video developed by the School District is now available for viewing. The video came out great and will be used to recruit students into our program. 

Fourteen students assisted with our annual Haunted Firehouse on October 26th.  The students were happy to assist and did an outstanding job of representing our program as well as our Department.

This past month our class focus was the practical application of hose streams as well as search and rescue.

Our Cadets are all very active and working well at their assigned stations. As second year students they have also done a great job of guiding the first-year students and taking the initiative to assist when they see students struggling or need something explained. This school year is going very well so far, the students are retaining the information very well. 


Recently Captain Johnston assisted the Sheriffs office with promotional testing for Sargent and Lieutenant Lyons assisted East Valley Fire with promotional testing for Lieutenant. 

West Valley School District once again allowed us to use their air compressor to blow out our irrigation systems for winter, this has been a good partnership for us and tax payers.

Back in August we requested an audit of EMS calls in Yakima County to ensure calls are not being double counted and transport departments are not counting inner-facility transfers.  Preliminary results show the City of Sunnyside is set to be credited next year for 1652 calls in 2017, the audit showed 1169 calls within their city limits which is 483 less than they will receive based on the formula.  The EMS Admin Board has this on their agenda for discussion this month. I intend to request the 1169 calls in their City be reviewed for inner-facility transfers and other non-911 calls, I also will request the distribution be re-worked using the correct numbers. 

This past month we continued discussion on the possibility of District 5 dispatching for us. Chief Shipman researched the feasibility over the past couple months and was able to determine needs and costs to provide dispatch services for the Upper Valley.  Chief Shipman determined it is feasible to dispatch our units and worked out budgeting needs, based on his estimates the cost per call would be about $10 less than we will pay in 2019 to Suncomm and we would get two dedicated fire dispatchers on duty around 18 hours a day with only one dispatcher on duty during the slow hours of the night.  The biggest hurdle to changing dispatch centers is the infrastructure of the Upper Valley system, there is concern over future needs, maintenance and compatibility.  At this time, I am planning to approach the Chiefs and Commissioners to begin developing a plan that takes in the whole county for the future of our radio system before we look at any consolidation.  There are several directions a radio system can take with a few different opportunities coming up in the future for funding we may be able to take advantage of if we are all together.


In October there were a total of 86 incidents (8 fires, 50 EMS, 8 service call, 2 hazardous conditions, 1 false alarm and 17 good intents), 63 of these incidents were handled by our personnel.           

Incidents:                                         YTD                                                    

Station 51                   13                   145

Station 52                   19                   144     

Station 53                   12                  79

Station 54                   5                     49

Station 50                   28                   219

Yakima                        1                     35

Ambulance Only         8                     54

YTD                                                  725


Automatic Aid Received (both agencies respond)    Automatic Aid Given                                    

From Highland            0                                  To Highland                1

From Yakima               1                                  To Yakima                   5

From Gleed                 0

YTD                 12                                            YTD                 43       


Mutual Aid Received             1                                  Mutual Aid Given       0                                 YTD                 6                                              YTD                 34       

Last month we had a pump house fire resulting in a $7,000 loss and 35 acres of wildland burned.


This past month we had the asphalt cracks at Stations 51 and 54 sealed. All engines were serviced and inspected to DOT regulations.  The railing at Station 52 was reinstalled following construction. At Station 53 we had our arborvitae evaluated by professionals who have put together a plan to salvage as many as we can.


After evaluating our Capital Improvement Plan we submitted a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant to purchase a quint fire apparatus, the total amount of the grant is $754,154 of which the District would match 5%.


Representative Mosbrucker’s office contacted me and she is working on developing a bill to assist in recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters, at this time she is researching stipends for mobile phones and possibly vehicle license cost reductions. 

The joint legislative day for the State Commissioners and Chiefs is scheduled for January 24th, I plan to attend and have asked Captain Johnston to attend as well.

I have submitted a capital budget request through Representative Mosbrucker’s office to assist us with the addition to Station 51.

Good of the Order:

We received a second-place plaque for Management Excellence during the Commissioners conference this past month. I reviewed all of the submitted packets looking for innovative ideas we could implement in our District as identified in our Strategic Plan.

Although Station 52 isn’t 100% complete we held a grand opening ribbon cutting and moved the majority of the furniture into the new space. The Station 52 members are happy to have the necessary space to conduct District business.


Thursday is the County Fire Commissioners meeting hosted by District 5.




Nathan Craig

Fire Chief