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 June 12, 2018

Agenda Topic:            Department Monthly Progress Report

Prepared By:              Chief Nathan Craig

Date Prepared:           June 8, 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.


Last month we celebrated our recruit and CTE graduates adding an additional 8 cadets to the department and overall increasing the number of trained responders by 19 this year.

Station 53 Firefighters Tim Wilsey and Fred Wells have returned from leave and Station 53 Firefighters Carmen Meyers and Kerry Meyers have resigned.

Starting May we have 92 volunteers, 76 in service for combat firefighting, 8 in service for support, 6 out of service on leave, 1 on light duty and 1 on medical leave.  Our total number of members with volunteers, staff and Commissioners is 102 members.

Strategic Planning:

This month’s strategic focus is effective communication, retention and capital improvement planning.

On the critical issue of retention this month we will be covering effective communication during our safety stand down and Lt Lyons is distributing a survey to continue to find ways to improve the overall experience our volunteers have.  Recruitment/retention projects are scheduled to run concurrently over the next few months with final results at the end of summer in time for the next recruitment drive.

A draft of the Capital Improvement Plan has been developed with additional funding recommendations, this will be on the agenda for our next meeting.

Department Training and Safety: By Captain Jim Johnston

May Drills included: Equipment Check / Station Drill / L&I Heat Awareness Video, OTEP Workshop B, Circuit Drill, Firefighter Choice, Recruit School Graduation.

Developed the June Drill Schedule: Equipment Check / Station Drill, Engine Company Attack Evolutions, Safety Stand Down, and Water Supply – Drafting.

May 5th concluded the final practical day for the 2018 Recruit class – with a field day utilizing wildland tools.

On May 12th & 13th we hosted a 2-day National Fire Academy class - Preparing for Initial Company Operations, there were 28 students that attended from Yakima, Benton, Walla Walla, and Pierce counties.

On May 23rd we conducted optional hearing tests for Members of the Department from 15:00 to 19:00.  All Members were encouraged to test, however only 17 Members had the testing done.

On May 30th we held our Recruit School Graduation there we a total of 24 personnel that were badged that night – 17 for West Valley, 3 from Highland, and 2 from Gleed.

Fire Prevention / Public Education: By Captain Jim Johnston

On May 2nd the Day Crew and myself visited Ahtanum Valley Elementary school in the morning and afternoon to discuss fire safety with the Pre-Schoolers.  We discussed home fire safety topics, gave them an SCBA demonstration, and had them tour the Engine.  There were about 60 kids that were in attendance.

On May 21st Lt Blake Scully assembled a crew on Engine 51 and visited Cottonwood Elementary School for the Parent Child Home Program.  They let the kids tour the Engine and brought Sparky with them.  Thank you Lt Scully for putting this together.

On May 30th I attended Apple Valley Elementary School to participate in the Fire Safety presentation that Yakima Fire is conducting.  Yakima Fire has jurisdiction on five West Valley Schools – Apple Valley Elem, Wide Hollow Elem, Summitview Elem, Middle School, and the Junior High. Yakima Fire has broken away from using the EDITH House as a tool and is doing more of an assembly approach to spread the same message, this is mainly due to the logistics of hauling the EDITH House all over the city. I attended Captain Pfaff’s presentation to see if there is room for improvement in our instruction and to see the feasibility of not using the EDITH House as well.

Budget/Finance: By Officer Boisselle

Chief Craig and I met with Jim Nelson from DA Davidson regarding our existence bond and the potential of a future bond. The District is in a great financial position and would easily be able to secure bonds. The bond would cover infrastructure with the main focus being the addition at Station 51.  This will be discussed more in depth on the agenda under Capital Improvement Plan.

The 2017 State Auditors Report has been submitted.  A final copy is included in the meeting packet for review. 

Recruitment & Retention:  By LT Chris Lyons

In May I completed the meetings with the stations to find commonalities between members that have seven or more years on. I am currently compiling a list of questions that we can put into a survey. Once our members have completed the survey we will use that information to recruit members that we believe have a higher probability of retaining to or beyond the seven-year mark. 

I have posted on the LED reader board that we are now accepting applications for our next round of hiring. The banners will be going up at our other three stations the last week of June. I have received ten applications for our 2019 recruit school.

CTE Program / Cadet Program:  By LT Chris Lyons

May was my last full month with the high school program and it was spent “Putting it all together”. We spent every day outside working on our skills that we learned in class. We had eight students from the class take the next step and join the Department, six cadets and two firefighters. High School Graduation is on June 8, we have four students that will be graduating from high school and moving on from Cadets to Probationary Firefighters. While this year went very smooth and was very successful, I do see areas for improvement and will be working on them and implementing them with next year’s class.


Our contract with BIA is finished and will be on the agenda for action.

Last month I met with Yakima Fire to discuss our mutual and auto aid agreements. I brought up the idea of modifying the auto aid agreement to include allowing the Chiefs to develop and modify the response plans rather than have them written in the plan.  Yakima will need to take this to their public safety committee for any changes to take effect.

I have been in discussion with several upper valley departments regarding the future of dispatching.  At this time I am planning to set up a meeting with all the Upper Valley Main users to discuss creating an RFP to determine service levels, equipment needs and general dispatching.  If all the users are on board with this plan we would then put the request out to agencies with dispatching capabilities.  I believe this would give us more input and control of our dispatching.  The option of switching to Lower Valley Main is still available however switching on our own would require infrastructure to be installed at our expense, the new infrastructure would not be necessary if the whole Upper Valley moved.


In May there were a total of 79 incidents in District (5 fires, 44 EMS, 2 hazardous conditions, 12 service calls and 16 good intents), 63 of these incidents were handled by our personnel.           

Incidents:                                        YTD                                                    

Station 51                   16                   70

Station 52                   10                   57       

Station 53                    3                   32

Station 54                    7                    25

Station 50                   27                   104

Yakima                          5                    15

Ambulance Only         11                   28

YTD                                                   331

Automatic Aid Received (both agencies respond)    Automatic Aid Given                  

From Highland            0                                  To Highland                0

From Yakima               0                                  To Yakima                   1

From Gleed                 0

YTD                 7                                              YTD                 18       

Mutual Aid Received             1                                  Mutual Aid Given       6 (4Yakima, 1 Gleed, 1 Selah)                                         

                        YTD                 1                                            YTD                 17       

A 95-acre brush fire last month brought a full response from us of 12 apparatus and 4 command units as well as a second alarm brush response with structure interface response from departments across our mutual aid system.  In addition to these apparatus District 5 responded with their dozer module and DNR provided two rotors, several engines and their hand crew.  There were no injuries or damage to structures, this fire occurred on the afternoon of Mother’s Day and I am happy to report we had 47 members involved in the response.  In addition to all the apparatus and personnel we had on scene we also staffed one engine and one rescue to cover the rest of the District during the event.  Incidents like this don’t happen daily but are a good example of why recruitment and retention are vital to accomplish our staffing goals.


We have signed the construction contract with MH Construction for the addition at Station 52.  We will have a pre-construction meeting at Station 52 June 12th, at that time we should know the project start date.

My appeal to Pacific Power regarding our freezer and refrigerator was denied.  In the process of discussing this issue we examined the monthly costs we pay to heat the air vents on the Tieton Irrigation hydrant system. I have been monitoring the cost of these units for over 12 months and was concerned we pay a flat rate whether the heat tape turns on or not.  Essentially what I found out is the system was designed in the early 90’s and we are getting a fair deal, the only way to only pay for electricity used would be to change each account to a metered account and install meter bases at every drop, this would be a cost of $600 per drop and we have 56 drops.  Also working with Pacific Power, I met with an energy saving auditor, we reviewed Station 51 and 52 for potential electricity savings as well as how we can request rebates for general maintenance purchases.

Our newest command car is now in service, we have begun to switch our striping to green to match our apparatus, I think the car came out great.

Last month Inland was here to perform our annual sprinkler test at Station 51 and repair the alarm system.  Cascade Fire also inspected all our fire extinguishers and our kitchen hood extinguisher system.

After meeting with a landscaper and receiving quotes, we are going to wait until next year to build the retaining wall at Station 54 due to cost. We did however find the septic tank at Station 54 and installed a raised lid on it in our rock bed so we are moving forward with the curbing around the bed.  The quoted cost to rock the retention pond at Station 53 was also too high. At this time I intend to move forward with the project doing the job in house.

The new extrication equipment has arrived and is in service.  We are still waiting on the computer server, spare SCBA bottles and conference room chairs.  We have a few other outstanding projects from our budget list we will be finishing up over the summer. There are no major projects budgeted past June with the exception of Station 52 addition.


I have meetings scheduled this month with Senator King and Representative Mosbrucker to discuss legislative issues affecting our District and recruitment and retention of volunteers.  Representative Mosbrucker is also scheduled for a ride a long with our crew later this summer.


The Firefighters Charitable Foundation awarded us a $300 grant to purchase equipment.  I will review our current needs and budgeted items to determine how best to utilize this money.

Good of the Order:

Last month I had a demo of a product from LEXIPOL for policies, this is a company run by Gordan Graham. The product is great however at this time I don’t think it is the right fit for our Department for the money. 

Officer Boisselle and I met with our VFIS insurance Rep Gordan McIlvanie regarding our policy renewal for this year, we reviewed our coverage and vehicles and are prepared for a 1-3% increase in cost.

WSRB will be here June 18th to review our Department, I would expect within the next few months we will receive our new rating.

The State Fire Commissioners have sent out their request for Management Excellence Award, in the next month or so I will begin work on our entry this year per our Strategic Plan.

Spillman will be at SunComm this month to review how the system is being used for fire dispatch. They have requested a rep from each agency attend the four days.



Nathan Craig

Fire Chief