SPOKANE, WA - Starting January 2nd Fire Stations 11-13 and Ladder One downtown will start using smaller vehicles on medical calls as opposed the larger ladder trucks, which are aging quickly and maintaining them for all the wear and tear will start to get more expensive. "We're trying to be a more efficient and effect fire department so the public knows that we're wisely spending their dollars" says Chief Bobby Williams. Fire Stations 11-13 say that 78% of their responses are only medical related and that "The biggest complaint we get from citizens is 'why take big expensive trucks on medical calls?'".
But Local 29's Vice President, Don Waller, says this new mandate could slow response times and firefighters safety. If a fire broke out while on a medical call they'd have to go back to the fire station to get a larger truck. Waller says based off experience those simultaneous calls happen often enough that they wont be able to do their job as effectively. Waller believes every moment counts when a fire starts "Every minute it grows it becomes even more difficult and less safe to get it under control".
While Fire Chief Bobby Williams says there are times that may happen, the statistics show that it doesn't happen enough to justify not finding a more efficient way to operate the fire department. "In the case when we do have a fire call then we will dispatch and send crews to complement the people we need to manage that call".