SUNNYSIDE — It’s been at least six years since Sunnyside’s fire rating was a 3.

It’s been at a 5 for the past couple years, and Fire Chief Ken Anderson said it’s just a few points away from being a 6.

“They round it up,” he said, explaining that a 5.1 is considered a 6 and the city is at 5.94 or thereabouts.

The fire department has aging equipment. Engine 12 is a 1983 model, Engine 11 is 20 years old and No. 213 is 15 years old, Anderson said.

Equipment isn’t the only area factored when a rating is given. Staffing levels, water supply, training, communications, and automatic aid.

One area of weakness when he was hired was the staffing. “So, I have been recruiting volunteers and allowing others from different departments to volunteer,” he said.

“We’re promoting a culture of inclusion,” Anderson said, noting everyone from women to Hispanics should feel like part of the team.

Additionally, Anderson wants all personnel to be fully compliant with the Washington Administration Codes, which are a series of regulations.

“Insurance cares about fire ratings. Businesses could save about 18 percent on insurance if we can get the rating back to a 3,” he said, noting what’s good for local businesses is good for economic development.

Jennie McGhan can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 114 or email

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