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“Autumn is the time of year when Mother Nature says, ‘Look how easy, how healthy, and how beautiful letting go can be.’”
– Toni Sorenson  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 9 September 2018  

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  Fire and ice — avoid both
  By Robin Widmar

   Growth within the Falcon Fire Protection District and El Paso County in general has led to a significant increase in call volume for firefighters. In 2008, FFPD received 1,800 calls for service. By 2016, that number had grown to 2,074 calls annually.
   
   As of Dec. 25, FFPD had received more than 2,450 calls for service. That represents a 23 percent increase in call volume over the 2016 total, and almost 42 percent more calls than in all of 2008.
   
   Stay off the ice!
   In mid-December, Falcon firefighters witnessed kids playing on an ice-covered pond in the Meridian Ranch area. Everyone had left by the time the crew returned, but footprints and tracks from bicycle tires remained on the snow-covered surface of the pond. There was also evidence that someone had tried to chop a hole in the ice away from the shore. All of this occurred despite signs warning people to keep off the ice. While no one had to be rescued that day, this story could easily have ended with a needless tragedy. In January 2016, two teenagers died after falling into a frozen retention pond in Parker, Colorado.
   
   El Paso County has a number of natural and manmade lakes and ponds. However, unlike other places in the country, the ice that forms here is typically not thick enough to walk or skate on, even late in the winter. Falcon firefighters train in ice rescue techniques, but those are skills they would rather not have to use.
   
   Firefighters are asking parents to teach their children to stay off outdoor ice and talk to them about the dangers of playing on or near iced-over water. Once a person falls into icy water, hypothermia sets in quickly and muscle control is lost. Permanent injury and even death can occur.
   
   Keep these ice safety tips in mind.
  • Ice in Colorado is deceptive and cannot be judged strictly by its appearance. Just because it looks safe does not mean it is.
  • Beware of ice covered with snow, since snow can actually insulate ice from cold air and prevent it from freezing solid.
  • Keep pets leashed when near an ice-covered pond so they cannot chase geese or other animals onto thin ice.
  • If a pet runs onto ice or falls through it, do not follow. Call for help.

   December grass fires
   Firefighters usually respond to fewer grass and brush fires in the winter. However, the recent lack of precipitation, warmer than average temperatures and some windy days all contributed to several significant wildfires in December.
   
   The fire danger is expected to remain high. Falcon firefighters want to remind residents to be cautious with all outdoor activities that could cause a fire to ignite. If a fire does start, immediately call 911.
   
   Service awards
   In December, the following Falcon Fire Protection District personnel were recognized for their years of service to the district and the community.
   
   Five years:
   Lt. Cody Finn
   Driver/Operator Kelley DeLaney
   Firefighter Nathan Hale
   
   Ten years:
   Lt. Nick Koory
   
   Fifteen years:
   Driver/Operator Curtis Kauffman
   
   Twenty years:
   Fire Chief Trent Harwig
   
   Twenty-five years:
   Deputy Chief Jeff Petersma
   
   National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day grants
   National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day will mark its fifth anniversary May 6, 2018. To help individuals, groups and communities work on community wildfire hazard mitigation projects, the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm are teaming up to provide up to 150 $500 awards. These awards are intended for projects that help reduce the risk of wildfire, reduce the impact of a recent wildfire, or help advance preparedness for wildfire. The application period opens Jan. 8 and ends March 2.
   
   For more information, guidelines and contest rules, go to http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Campaigns/National-Wildfire-Community-Preparedness-Day. Links are also posted at the Falcon Fire Protection District website: http://falconfirepd.org.
   
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District:
Website: http://falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: @FalconFireDepartment
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
  
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  An owl in the (fire)house
  By Robin Widmar

   On Dec. 18, a citizen brought an injured or sick owl to FFPD Station 3. The man had seen a pair of large, yellow eyes staring at him from vegetation alongside the trail that runs through Falcon. Upon discovering the injured bird, he picked it up and brought it to the nearest fire station.
   
   Firefighters contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The owl was kept quiet in a lidded box until a CPW representative arrived. CPW made arrangements for the owl to be transported to a raptor rehabilitation center.
  
Firefighters contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The owl was kept quiet in a lidded box until a CPW representative arrived. CPW made arrangements for the owl to be transported to a raptor rehabilitation center. Photo by Robin Widmar
 
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