Fire Department Switching to "Reduced Response" Teams

The Yakima Fire Department is making adjustments to it's initial response teams.

The department is cutting back on the number of firefighters who respond to unconfirmed first-alarm fires, to hopefully save resources and make the department more efficient.

Currently, the fire department responds with four fire engines, one ladder truck, and one battallion chief -- or about 16 crew members.

The department is reducing that to two engines, or about 10 firefighters -- which it says can still provide enough protection in case a full response is initiated.

"With 10 personnel at the scene initially, that's enough personnel to begin a rescue, that's enough personnel to begin exposure protection so it limits the fire to the room or the building of origin," said Deputy Chief Bob Stewart, "We've thought about that."

The change will go into effect at the beginning of March, and will be on a trial basis for about three months.