The new Chief of the Yakima Fire Department Aaron Markham knows all about fire service. He was hired as a Deputy Chief in March after 26-years with the Sunnyside Fire Department. And now he's the new Yakima Fire Chief.
Markham says he doesn't plan any immediate changes as he gets familiar with the department and a staff of 137 people. But he says the public may notice one big change in the future, firefighters wearing ballistic vests and helmets for protection. He says they're trying to secure funding from a federal Homeland Security Grant. "Then we'll be able to do more. Should we have an incident like an active shooter in a school then we can respond into our warmer zone sooner than having to wait until its safe to enter."
Markham says one of the challenges for the department is also a challenge for the Yakima Police Department, trying to find people from Yakima who want to become future firefighters. He'll be sworn into duty on June 5 even though he's the official Yakima Fire Chief .
Markham is married with two grown children. He lives in Sunnyside.