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Seattle Fire Department prepares for losing firefighters due to vaccine mandate

Religious exemption denied, a veteran firefighter cleans out his locker

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Steve Kiggins, KCPQ-TV:

Josh Gibbs rushed towards danger during some of the worst crises in our region including the deadly Ride the Ducks crash and the Oso mudslide. Gibbs says he wants to stay with the department, but he says the city won’t accommodate his request for religious exemption.

Gibbs is a Marine veteran and career firefighter working out of Seattle Fire Department Station 14.

Gibbs received a letter Wednesday from the city denying his request for accommodation. He spent Thursday cleaning out his locker.

“It’s like something is being ripped away,” he said. “Everything in my soul tells me it’s wrong.”

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Tammy Mutasa, KOMO-TV:

Seattle Fire said so far, 864 first responders have submitted their Covid-19 vaccination proof.

78 have exemptions and 54 haven’t submitted any paperwork.

That means the department is now adjusting their response model to the following:

  • Cancelling all non-essential training, community events and limiting our annual building inspection focus to schools

  • Prioritizing which units could be placed out-of-service through analysis of response routes to ensure City coverage by SFD remains in place

  • Adjusting response models to various incident types to best serve our residents while below normal staffing levels

  • Activating our Resource Management Center to monitor response data in real-time

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