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"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out (that) going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity."
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 7 July 2018  

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  FFPD tidbits
  Fire district non-emergency services
  By Robin Widmar

   The men and women of the Falcon Fire Protection District pride themselves on being the ones people turn to for help when they do not know who else to call. Every year, Falcon firefighters help citizens with a variety of problems, ranging from fires and medical emergencies to malfunctioning oxygen machines or the occasional cat stuck in a tree or on a power pole (about which, unfortunately, there is little they can do). When firefighters encounter a situation they cannot resolve, they typically know who can.
   
   Here are some non-emergency services that the fire district routinely provides.
  • Blood pressure checks: Stop in at Fire Station 1 (12072 Royal County Down Road), Station 3 (7030 Old Meridian Road) or Station 4 (2710 Capital Drive) for a free blood pressure check.
  • Water testing bottles: Residents can pick up water testing sample bottles at HQ/Station 3. This is a bottle pickup location only; water samples must be dropped off with El Paso County Public Health. For complete information, visit https://elpasocountyhealth.org/service/water-quality
  • Wildfire mitigation assessments: Firefighters will provide recommendations to reduce a property’s risk of damage or loss from wildfires. Call 719-495-4050 for an appointment.

   There are some things, though, that firefighters are not equipped or qualified to do.
  • They do not inspect or refill fire extinguishers. Qualified technicians must perform these kinds of services. Look in the phone book under “fire extinguishers” or do a search online to find a company.
  • They do not recycle or dispose of old fire extinguishers, smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms. These items can be taken to the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Facility at 3255 Akers Drive. More information can be found at https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/environmental-division/household-hazardous-waste/
  • They do not accept expired or unused medications or used needles and syringes for disposal. These also cannot be accepted by the county hazardous waste facility. A list of locations that do accept these items can be found at: https://communityservices.elpasoco.com/wp-content/uploads/Environmental-Division-Picture/Hazardous-Waste/Medication-Disposal.pdf

   
   Changes to FFPD community room use
   FFPD offers the use of its community rooms at no charge to local civic and nonprofit organizations. However, the reservation process has slightly changed.
  • Reservations will now be taken only during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday).
  • Reservations must be made at least 72 hours in advance of the date of use.
  • Before the reservation can be finalized, users will be asked to review the district’s Standard Operating Procedures for use of the facility and sign a community room user agreement and waiver of liability.

   To see full details regarding community room use and reservation, go to the district website at http://falconfirepd.org and click on the “Reserve a Meeting Room” button.
   
   Why FFPD is no longer an all-volunteer fire department
   Among the comments received from the recent public opinion mail survey was this: Why doesn’t Falcon Fire Department go back to being an all-volunteer department to save taxpayer money?
   
   FFPD began hiring paid firefighters in 2000. Growth in the Falcon area did not translate to growth in the number of volunteers serving the department, and the agency faced challenges in covering an increasing number of emergency calls. Having paid firefighters ensured –- and continues to ensure –- that emergency personnel were available 24/7 to respond to the community’s needs.
   
   However, FFPD still relies on volunteers (now called “reservists”) to augment staffing. The fire district is always looking for hard-working and dedicated individuals to fill its ranks. It is not easy to become a Falcon firefighter, but the rewards are worth the effort. To learn more, go to the FFPD website and click on the “Volunteer Firefighter Opportunities.”
   
   Where does the money go?
   Another concern for some residents who participated in the mail survey was financial accountability. These respondents said they felt money from county or state tax initiatives did not always go where it was intended.
   
   FFPD is primarily funded by revenue from property taxes. The monies designated for the fire district go to the fire district and nowhere else. The fire district uses those funds for facilities, apparatus, equipment, staffing and other expenses related to fire department operations.
   
   Should FFPD’s board of directors opt to ask for a mill levy increase on the November ballot, voters can be assured that the revenue will go to the Falcon Fire Protection District and not other county agencies or projects.
   
   FFPD posts its annual budget on its website and also at HQ/Station 3. Monthly board meetings are open to the public, and comments and questions from residents are always welcome.
   
   Taxpayers can find the amount they pay to the fire district on their property tax statement or by going to the El Paso County Assessor’s website at http://land.elpasoco.com/.
   

   Stay connected with the FFPD
   
   Website: http://falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   
  
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