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To Ensure Appropriate Response Times During Bridge Closure, City Announces Additional Medic One Unit and Ladder Truck for West Seattle

Seattle (May 8, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and Seattle Fire Chief Harold D. Scoggins today announced the Seattle Fire Department will dedicate two additional units to serve the residents of West Seattle. A medic unit (Medic 26) staffed with two paramedics will be located at Station 26, and a ladder truck (Ladder 13) staffed with four firefighter-EMTs will be located at Station 37. Beginning in June, these units will be in-service for responding to emergencies 24-hours per day, seven days a week.  

“Even during this unprecedented and uncertain time, public safety remains a top priority and responsibility for the City. When it comes to saving lives, every second counts, and I’m grateful that Chief Scoggins who worked quickly to develop a plan to keep the West Seattle community safe during the West Seattle Bridge closure. By providing additional staff and units to quickly address fire and medical emergencies in West Seattle, the Fire Department will be able to maintain their high standard of service to residents,” said Mayor Durkan. 

“When we received information from SDOT about the closure of the West Seattle High Bridge, we immediately conducted an analysis of what resources were needed to ensure we can continue to provide efficient service to West Seattle residents,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “We commend the Mayor for continuing to lead with public safety at the forefront and approving our plan.” 

On March 23, the West Seattle Bridge was closed due to accelerated concrete cracking that was identified during bridge inspection and monitoring by the Seattle Department of Transportation. The bridge will remain closed through at least 2021 and until stabilization and repair can be made to the high bridge. Studies are underway to determine its remaining useful life after operational repairs are made. 

“With the West Seattle Bridge closed, it is critical that District 1 has life-saving emergency services available when most needed,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold. “As soon as the Bridge closed, I asked Chief Scoggins whether another ladder was needed for the peninsula. I’m grateful that Chief Scoggins is championing the safety of District 1. The fire department analyzed response times for units travelling into West Seattle from other stations nearby in the City, which is required for many medical and fire incidents. With the closure of the High Bridge and limited and delayed access through the Spokane Street Low Bridge and 1st Ave S. Bridge, response times could be severely impacted without the extra resources.”  

West Seattle is currently served by six fire stations that include the following units: a battalion chief, six fire engines, a ladder truck and a medic unit. The addition of a medic unit will provide two paramedics who have received specialized training for responding to incidents that are classified as Advanced Life Support such as heart attacks, strokes, major trauma, assaults and more. Ladder trucks are a vital resource for fire responses, as they carry equipment for conducting search and rescue, ventilating structures, and have a ladder pipe that can be used to apply water at a high angle. The new medic unit and ladder truck are coming from SFD’s reserve apparatus located at the City’s Fire Garage. The department will continue to have other apparatus on reserve to support scheduled maintenance and for any unforeseen mechanical issues. 

The funding required for staffing the two new units, apparatus maintenance and fuel, and room accommodations at the fire stations is approximately $2.5 million for the remainder of 2020 and will be covered from existing resources.