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Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful. But there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.
– Donald H. Hicks, "Look into the stillnes"  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 9 September 2020  

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  FFPD August board meeting
  Finances in good shape
  By Pete Gawda

   At their meeting on Aug. 19, the Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors lost one of their members, discussed construction plans and addressed a request for inclusion into the fire protection district.
   
   Board member resigns
   Board member Corey Galicia sent in a letter of resignation because his job is taking him to another part of the state. The board agreed to advertise for applicants to complete his term. Board members Tom Kerby and Ray Hawkins were appointed to a committee to review applications and make recommendations at the next board meeting.
   
   Treasurer's Report
   “We are in good shape,” said Chief Trent Harwig regarding the district's finances. In all areas of the budget, revenues are exceeding expenditures.
   
   Chief's report
   The board learned that Station 3 response time was up a little in July, and the increase was attributed to the road construction around the fire station. EMS Division Chief Jon Webb reported that in July, ambulance transports totaled 92. Before the ambulance service started, it was projected that the ambulances would run about 90 calls a month. This is the first month the projection has been met.
   
   Construction projects
   The chief said that the Old Meridian Road construction project has progressed to the point that it should not have any effect on fire department operations for some time. He said he had met with Mountain View Electric to discuss electrical needs for the new Station 3, the administration building and the proposed maintenance shop. He learned that the present transformer will be sufficient for those buildings. Harwig also met with officials of Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District to discuss the sewer system for the proposed maintenance building. He said he is waiting for the county to approve final development plans for the new Station 3. The board is waiting for preliminary estimates to convert the existing Station 3 into an administration building.
   
   The board spent considerable time discussing how to handle legal descriptions for the three separate lease purchase agreements for the new Station 3, the remodeling of Station 3 into an administration building and the new maintenance building since they are all on the same parcel of land.
   
   Inclusion in the FFPD
   The board received a request for inclusion into the Falcon fire protection district from a commercial area west of Marksheffel Road near the city water treatment plant. They decided to hold a public hearing on the request at the September meeting.
   
   Meeting date changed
   The board voted to change the September meeting date from Sept 16 to Sept. 9. The meeting will be held at Station 3 at 4 p.m. and can also be seen on Zoom by going to https://zoom.us/j/731479999.
   
   Pension board
   The pension board met and received quarterly reports. “So far the pension fund is doing all right in 2020,” Harwig said. The pension board voted to reschedule their November meeting to Nov. 11 to coincide with the rescheduled fire protection board meeting.
  
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  Wildfire mitigation works: a firsthand account
  By Robin Widmar

   As we watched coverage of the wildfires burning throughout drought-stricken Colorado in mid-August, my husband and I knew a wildfire closer to our rural home was a very real possibility. We just didn’t expect it to be literally right in our own backyard.
   
   I was at work when a neighbor called to let me know a grass fire had spread onto our 5-acre property. By the time I arrived home, the fire had burned across five lots and around three sides of our home, which was undamaged. The outcome could have been much different if not for relatively low winds and the hard work of neighbors and firefighters from six agencies. Another factor was our mowing and wildfire mitigation efforts, which Falcon Fire Department Deputy Chief Jeff Petersma said were “absolutely key” to helping firefighters protect our home.
  • Mowing grass and weeds short –- especially within 30 feet of the house –- gave the fire less to burn and slowed its spread. It also allowed firefighters to use less water –- a precious commodity in areas lacking fire hydrants and community water systems.
  • Cutting away ground-level tree limbs prevented the fire from burning up through the branches.
  • Keeping trees, shrubs and other plants well-watered helped them withstand the fire’s heat.
  • Removing accumulated pine needles and dead leaves from under trees and around the house reduced fuel for the fire.

   Our mitigation is not perfect nor complete –- there are still a number of tasks on the “to do” list. But what we (OK, my husband gets most of the credit!) accomplished so far has paid off in a big way. It is my sincere hope that others will learn from our experience and take action now to protect their properties.
   
   For more information, check out these resources:
   Colorado State Forest Service – Protect Your Home, Property & Forest from Wildfire: https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/protect-your-home-property-forest-from-wildfire/
   
   National Fire Protection Association – Preparing Homes for Wildfire: https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Preparing-homes-for-wildfire
  
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  Looking ahead at cold weather
  By Pete Gawda

   “All I ever wanted to do as a little kid was to be a firefighter,” said Firefighter Scot Gilmore, who provides this month's fire safety tip. Gilmore, who has been with the Falcon Fire Department about four years, said in the past that he did a little bit of everything, including restaurant management and building fences before becoming a firefighter. He is married and has one daughter who is almost 18 years old and another daughter who is 2 years old. During his off duty time he tries to spend as much time as possible with his family.
   
   September Fire Safety Tip: With cold months coming on make sure your carbon dioxide detector has good batteries and have your furnace cleaned and inspected.
   
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District
   Website: http://www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: Falcon Fire Department
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
   NextDoor.com
  
Since he was a kid, Scot Gilmore, now a firefighter with the Falcon Fire Protection District, wanted to be a firefighter. Photo by Pete Gawda
 
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