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As we rush around buying presents, we must always remember that “our presence rather than our presents” is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
– Catherine Pulsifer  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 12 December 2019  

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  Wildfire preparation and outdoor burning
  By Robin Widmar

   National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
   National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is May 4. This event is a way for communities to focus on improving wildfire preparedness. In the last two years, wildfires in the United States have killed more than 100 people and cost more than $25 billion in property losses, according to the National Fire Protection Association. However, activities such as fire mitigation and emergency evacuation planning are not limited to just one day a year.
   Falcon firefighters offer free wildfire mitigation assessments to residents of the fire district. Call 719-495-4050 to make an appointment.
   For more information and ideas for projects that can be accomplished year round, go to:
   Slash disposal
   One way to dispose of branches and vegetation trimmed during mitigation projects is to turn it into mulch. This year, the Black Forest Slash-Mulch drop-off site opens May 4. The site is located on the east side of Herring Road, just south of Shoup Road. There is a $2 fee per load to offset operating costs. For hours and more information, visit or call 719-520-7878.
   According to its website, the Black Forest Slash-Mulch Program is a Wildfire Mitigation and Recycling Program. It is co-sponsored by the El Paso County Environmental Division, Colorado Forestry Association and the Black Forest Fire Department, in cooperation with the Colorado State Forest Service and the State Board of Land Commissioners.
   Outdoor burning
   Another way to dispose of large quantities of branches, limbs and other vegetation (slash piles) is to burn it. However, slash burns require an open burning permit that must be approved by the El Paso County Health Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the fire department that has authority over the jurisdiction where the burn is taking place.
   Open burning in unincorporated areas of El Paso County falls under state and county regulations and ordinances. Full information can be found on the FFPD website. Look for the Outdoor Fire and Open Burning Info button on the upper right side of the home page.
   Recreational fires such as fire pits do not require a permit, but they are subject to fire restrictions enacted by the county during periods of high fire danger. As a reminder, only vegetative materials (twigs, branches, logs, etc.) can be burned in recreational fires. The fuel area must be no larger than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high. Trash, furniture, construction debris, and pallets cannot be burned. Burn barrels cannot be used for any kind of fire.
   Burning without a permit or burning prohibited materials can lead to costly civil penalties of up to $10,000 per day from the state. Additionally, anyone who conducts open burning, whether or not a permit has been obtained, that causes damage to someone else’s property may be held liable for costs and could face criminal charges.
   Ambulance update
   On April 2, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners issued an Ambulance Service License to the Falcon Fire Protection District.  
   Stay connected with the FFPD
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
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  Safety Tip - Staying safe in vacation rentals
  By Robin Widmar

   Summer travel season is fast approaching, and many people will be using vacation rental services such as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals by Owner. While these services can provide affordable, comfortable accommodations; it is important for travelers to know they are not regulated the same way as hotels. Safety requirements can vary by location, so travelers must do their research ahead of time to ensure a safe stay.
   Here are some things to look for, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Working smoke alarms are in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. If possible, the alarms should be interconnected so when one alarm sounds, they all do.
  • Portable fire extinguishers should be present and easy to reach
  • Working carbon monoxide alarms are outside each separate sleeping area, on every level of the home and in other locations as required by laws, codes or standards.
  • The owner has posted a floor plan showing all escape routes and exits, and has provided emergency contact information.
  • Everyone knows the address of the home.
  • Everyone staying in the home has identified two ways out of every room and how to escape in an emergency.
  • All doors and windows that lead outside can be opened and are large enough to escape through if necessary. Security bars should have quick-release mechanisms that do not require special tools or keys.
  • An outside meeting place has been chosen that is a safe distance away from the home.
  • Everyone knows to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number from a cell phone from outside.
  • If smoking is allowed, a smoking area has been designated well away from the structure. Deep, sturdy ashtrays have been provided.
  • All pathways are free and clear of tripping hazards.
  • Electrical outlets are free from multiple cords and adaptors.
  • The stovetop is clear. Anything that can catch fire is not near the stovetop, such as curtains and towels.
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