Photo depicting a firefighter putting out a fire through a manhole in the street.

NEWS GLEAMS | Legislation Passes to Protect Firefighters and First Responders; Seattle City Council Launches Blog

A roundup of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!

curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷

✨Gleaming This Week✨

Photo depicting a firefighter putting out a fire through a manhole in the street.
A firefighter puts on a demonstration during the Seattle City Light and Seattle Fire Department Vault Fire Response partnership event in June 2018. (Photo: K. Kennedy, courtesy of Seattle City Light.)

Legislation Passes to Protect Firefighters and First Responders From Obstruction

Last week, in a bill sponsored by Councilmembers Lisa Herbold (District 1 – West Seattle and South Park) and Andrew Lewis (District 7 – Pioneer Square to Magnolia), Seattle City Council passed an ordinance to amend the Seattle Municipal Code to include fire department personnel within the definition of a public officer, thus protecting them in the crime of obstructing a police officer. This includes firefighters with other employees that were previously covered by the bill, including the fire marshal, building inspectors, and public officers. 

According to a press release from Herbold, last July, the Seattle Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 27, wrote councilmembers with reports of dangerous interactions firefighters have had while working in the field, which included firefighters being threatened by individuals with weapons, being hit by large rocks, or assaulted on multiple occasions. As a result, the union has developed a tracking tool for assaults and threatening behavior towards firefighters; data since January shows that “37% of the reports included physical contact” and “11% included weapons brandished.”

In order to help minimize any potential harms related to racial justice in the implementation of this new policy, Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda authored three amendments to the bill, which included a request that the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Seattle Fire Department (SFD) complete a Racial Equity Toolkit analysis of the bill’s potential impact. SPD and SFD would also be required to report on their abilities to determine whether those who are arrested are experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis, and the two departments are also expected to regularly update the council on such issues.

The other two amendments, as shared in a press release from SFD, include the assurance that the public “will not be charged for obstructing their own care, such as when they are revived by naloxone and may be disoriented and violent” and will “reinforce the expectation that police will consult with the Seattle Fire Department before engaging with people at the scene of a fire department emergency.”

Screenshot depicting the homepage of the Seattle City Council Blog.
The Seattle City Council Blog was launched to better engage the public in the City’s political process. (Screenshot of the homepage of the Seattle City Council Blog.)

Seattle City Council Launches Public Blog

Seattle City Council has launched a public blog to better engage the public in the political process and to share their news, including press releases, videos, and additional information to help the public dive deeper into issues of most concern to them.

Furthermore, all City Council meetings and events are always viewable live on the Seattle Channel, which also posts archives, unless they are otherwise noted. Schedules for that are the following:

  • Council Briefing (these occur every other week) on Mondays at 2 p.m.
  • Public Safety & Human Services on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m.
  • Full City Council on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.
  • Economic Development, Technology, and City Light Committee on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
  • Land Use on Wednesdays at 2 p.m.
  • Neighborhoods, Education, Civil Rights, and Culture on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. 

View the City Council Blog at or send your suggestions for improvements at

A closeup of the Uwajimaya ballot box
(Photo: Jaidev Vella)

Send the Emerald Your Questions for Seattle City Council and King County Council!

Elections take place this year on Nov. 7, 2023, and with candidate filings ending on May 19, the South Seattle Emerald wants to hear from you!

Up for grabs this year are seven of nine Seattle City Council and four of the nine King County Council seats which are in even-numbered districts. As part of the Emerald’s election coverage, we will send a crowd-sourced set of interview questions to each candidate who represents a South End community, in order to give them an opportunity to share their vision. These candidates include:

Seattle City Council
  • District 1, West Seattle & South Park (currently held by Lisa Herbold)
  • District 2, Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill, Chinatown/International District, SoDo & Georgetown (currently held by Tammy Morales)
  • District 3, Central District & Capitol Hill (currently held by Kshama Sawant)
King County Council
  • District 2, U-District, Ravenna, Laurelhurst, Capitol Hill, Fremont, Beacon Hill, Central District, Seward Park, Rainier Valley, and Skyway (currently held by Girmay Zahilay)
  • District 8, Burien, part of Tukwila, White Center, South Park, Georgetown, SoDo, Downtown, Vashon Island, Maury Island (currently held by Jim McDermott)

The candidates you vote for will shape important local policies, which is why we are reaching out to you, our readership, to ask: What key issues are most important to you, and what questions would you ask local candidates?

Please submit your questions to the Emerald by May 31 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Thank you for your participation!

Our content is funded in part by advertisements. To inquire about advertising with the Emerald, check out our media kit and fill out our application for more info.

📸 Featured Image: A firefighter puts on a demonstration during the Seattle City Light and Seattle Fire Department Vault Fire Response partnership event in June 2018. (Photo: K. Kennedy, courtesy of Seattle City Light.)

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