Vaccine mandates hit large, small fire districts differently

Coronavirus

Vaccine mandate deadline is October 18

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Far more than half the situations firefighters respond to are medical calls, not fires. That’s why they’re supposed to be fully vaccinated as part of the healthcare workforce as required under the order by Gov. Kate Brown.

Larger districts like Portland Fire & Rescue and TVF&R have at least 90% fully vaccinated and are not expecting problems when the October 18 deadline for vaccination hits. Those not vaccinated by that date will be put on leave or dismissed if they refuse to get vaccinated and aren’t exempt.

But smaller fire districts are a different story.

The Aurora Fire District expects to be missing 4 or 5 volunteer firefighters out of a 26-person staff, said Assistant Chief Mike Corless. That’s about 25% of their volunteers.

Their department, like others, depend on volunteers. They may need to lean on larger districts for mutual aid support if necessary.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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