More money and better service for YFD at no cost to you

YAKIMA, Wash.-- Budget cuts have come at the expense of your safety for years. Yakima fire stations are often not fully-staffed. But, Yakima wants to right that wrong. It's signing off on a new deal to end the brownouts.

Yakima Fire has hit its limit many times this year. It's got the trucks, but it doesn't have the budget to equip them 100% of the time. That's what's called a brownout. It's happened roughly 30% of the time so far this year.

"We have no more coverage in the city and we have to call people back in or ask our neighbors to come in and provide fire service for us," Fire Chief Dave Willson said.

A new contract between the city and Yakima Fire intends to change that. It ups the overtime budget and adds more personnel. Leaders expect brownouts will be no more.

"When we have a fire going on, now they know that there's going to be another fire engine to come to their heart attack or their fire," Willson said.

That's not all. After more than a decade without a training officer, YFD will finally get one along with two new firefighters. Two people in the department will be promoted. Yakima Fire hopes to stay on par with the way most departments are staffed.

"We have the fewest firefighters per thousand," Yakima Firefighter Association President Jeremy Rodriguez said. "This doesn't catch us all the way up to our comparables but it makes a huge step forward."

Better service, better safety, and at no added cost to you. Yakima says it's been about prioritizing this spending and rebuilding a department that's sliced thin year after year.

The four-year contract should be ratified by Yakima City Council at tomorrow's meeting and take effect the first of the year.