Message from the Chief

Fire Chief Gregory Wright

I am pleased to share a glimpse of how the Fire Department strives to take care of the citizens of Olympia each and every day. Frankly, no written document can adequately convey the skill, care, compassion and professionalism that the members of Olympia Fire Department pour into the community every day. I hope that you never have to call us, but rest assured that if you do, we will be there for you.

2018 was a very important year for the Department. A significant number of our Department’s Senior Officers retired. After celebrating all the years of public service, we began the challenging promotional process for filling these critical positions. By the end of 2018, six senior management positions were filled with new promotions.

The year 2019 will bring about my retirement at the end of August, opening the way for the hiring of a new Fire Chief and the appointment of a new Deputy Chief. It has been my honor to lead the Department during this brief transition.

In 2018, we...
• Continued work on our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan
• Responded with a grant funded aid car to handle the increasing number of medical calls downtown
• Continued a pilot program using a Care Coordinator to interact with our community’s vulnerable elders
• Began enhanced training for hazardous materials calls and wildfires
• Delivered a record amount of fire, emergency preparedness and safety training

In 2019, we will continue to leverage partnerships
• A 45-year partnership with Thurston County Medic One
• The Emergency Vehicle Maintenance Program - Olympia fire mechanics providing maintenance services for OFD as well as eight county-wide departments
• Olympia's region-wide training center provides critical firefighter training for OFD members and other agencies via use fees

Unfortunately, 2018 was also a year with some challenges. The growing homelessness within our downtown has increased our calls for service and demands the resource and attention of not just Olympia Fire, but the City as a whole. We will continue to support innovative solutions that serve the needs of our entire community.

Tragically, two firefighter deaths in neighboring departments, one at the end of 2017 and one at the end of 2018 were stark reminders of the inherent danger that firefighters face.

We appreciate serving this wonderful community. Together we make our community a safer place to live, work and play.

The best way to learn about the Department is to view our 2018 Annual Report. It shows the work we completed in 2018 and compares it to our output in 2017. Another important document is our Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan shows what we are working on to make the department even better.

 

Greg Wright, Fire Chief