VRFA loses seven firefighters over vaccine mandate

Services aren’t expected to be affected by the personnel loss.

Governor Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate shouldn’t have an effect on the services Valley Regional Fire Authority (VRFA) firefighters provide for the community, spokesperson Kimberly Terhune said.

As of Oct. 18, the deadline for firefighters to be fully vaccinated, 94% of VRFA employees were fully vaccinated, Terhune said.

One employee retired from the department and six are on extended leave through the Family Medical Leave Act, Terhune said. The six who are on leave can return to work if they get fully vaccinated, Terhune said.

Despite the potentially permanent loss of these six employees, VRFA will be operating like normal, Terhune said. VRFA serves the Auburn, Pacific and Algona areas.

“The VRFA current staffing plan will remain in effect with no anticipated disruption to our service levels,” Terhune said. “This will be accomplished through careful evaluation of all activities outside of emergency response and through additional overtime as needed.”

Across the state, 1,696 state employees were fired for not adhering to the vaccine mandate, according to Office of Financial Management data.

The VRFA is committed to serving the public and keeping people safe during the pandemic, Terhune said.