Orcas Island Fire and Rescue is happy to announce the revocation of the layoff notices. After successful negotiations with representatives of IAFF Local 3911, the layoff, set to take effect on December 15th, 2023, will not occur. OIFR scheduled layoffs of three full-time Lieutenant EMTs to reduce costs in the 2024 budget.
We are very grateful to the negotiation teams, who were committed to working together to find a solution to avoid the pending layoffs. The negotiations team comprised IAFF Local 3911 President Danny Wiebling, Washington State Council of Firefighters (WSCFF) Representative Nich Gullickson, Fire Commissioner Tim Fuller, and Fire Chief Holly vanSchaick.
As a result of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Fire District and the Union, all current full-time employees will maintain their full-time employment status. The jobs were saved by agreeing not to backfill EMT shift vacancies caused by sick leave, vacation leave, or open shifts. The Fire District will be able to save over $300,000 in the 2024 budget with this measure.
What does this do to response? As we have always done, our department will strive to meet the needs of our community through the combined efforts of our career and volunteer partnership. We are a combination department; volunteers comprise over 80% of our first responders.
OIFR is grateful for its volunteer members. We currently have a total of 28 EMTs - 24 volunteer EMTs and four full-time EMTs. Our responders also include five full-time Advanced Life Support paramedics who can perform life-saving measures and administer medications the EMTs cannot. We will continue to respond to your emergencies as a team and do our best to be Neighbors Serving Neighbors.
Chief Holly vanSchaick