Fire department standards discussed at local meeting



Posted on September 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 15 at 6:31 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A local community groups said that change is needed in the Spokane Fire Department to ensure safety. Save SFD argued that there are not enough resources for the department.

The group held an informational meeting at Sacajawea Middle School on Saturday to share concerns. They said they hope neighbors will eventually put more money into safety.

The City requires a fire truck to arrive at an emergency in eight-and-a-half minutes. But members of the Spokane Fire Fighters Union said that that is not fast enough.

"We feel the city should want and deserve better response times," said Don Waller, President of Spokane Fire Fighters Union.

"I expect when I call 911 that they are going to show up with the right amount of people and they are going to get there fast," said Deb Morris, Organizer of Save Spokane Fire Department.

Union representatives and Save SFD shared their concerns during a meeting on Saturday. They said that equipment is out-of-date and is a safety hazard for crews. They also said staffing is too low.

"If we can't do our job more safely and efficiently, it puts our citizens in danger," said Waller. He added that the city is down to less than 60 staff-members.

"At this point, we are doing everything we can to the best of our ability with the resources we have," said Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. "There is a disparity without a doubt. But those people who created those standards don't live in Spokane. Our community decides what those standards are."

The Department added that response times are lower than national standards, but they are meeting city requirements. They said the focus now is on cutting costs.

Until then, we are going to strive to get better. We are always trying to improve," Schaeffer said.