Camas-Washougal Fire Dept.
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News Release
Wash L&I Issues Violation for Fire Department Saving Life - 05/11/18

On May 10, 2017, officials from the Washington Department of Labor and Industries delivered a formal report to Camas-Washougal Fire Department officials concerning their investigation of a fire that occurred on February 14, 2018.  L&I officials stated they would be issuing a safety violation against the department for the life saving measures that our personnel took in successfully rescuing a trapped victim.  The agency states in their findings that the rescue was not allowable as there were not at least 3 personnel on the scene. 

The City of Camas intends to file an appeal of this safety violation at the earliest opportunity.  The City is deeply concerned that L&I intends to punish our personnel for heroically saving the life of one of our citizens.  This is a wide reaching and troubling stance by the state oversight agency.  In effect they are stating that all fire departments in the State of Washington are hereafter prohibited from saving a life if they do not have at least 3 personnel on scene.  This chilling order could cost Washington fire departments hundreds of millions of dollars and will cause citizens to lose their lives.  This was not the original intent of state safety rules, and indeed there have been other fire departments evaluated under nearly identical circumstances that were not cited.  We believe state code provides a specific exemption for the actions of our firefighters.      

The City of Camas and the Camas-Washougal Fire Department take the safety of our personnel and our citizens seriously.  The Camas City Council is currently evaluating the future staffing needs of the fire department and all other city departments.  This evaluation will help determine fire department staffing levels for the upcoming budget process. 

 

Nick Swinhart

Fire Chief

Camas-Washougal Fire Department

East County Fire and Rescue