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Falcon Fire Protection District Community News

Falcon fire department names new battalion chiefsThe Falcon Fire Department has added two battalion chiefs to its ranks with the promotions of Capt. Cory Galicia and Vernon Champlin. They join Battalion Chief Jeff Petersma in the leadership ranks of the department.”These promotions will help strengthen department leadership and better position the department for staffing changes that will take place when the new station opens in March 2010,” said Fire Chief Trent Harwig. “Each of the three shifts we’ll have in place will be led by a battalion chief.”Petersma has been with the department for 17 years and was promoted to battalion chief in August. He began his career in July 1992 as a volunteer and transitioned to career status in April 2000. “I want to ensure the community understands who we are and what we do,” Petersma said. “We play an important role in the community by reducing fire risk through prevention and education.”Petersma said his goals include increased staffing and reduced response times to better support the community. “Having three battalion chiefs improves our organization and contributes to overall operational and administrative efficiencies,” he said.Battalion Chief Cory Galicia began his firefighting career in Falcon as a volunteer in 1997. “I’m particularly proud to say that I’ve risen through the ranks from firefighter to battalion chief,” he said. “One of my goals is to help build a larger number of volunteer and reserve members.”Galicia also is interested in starting an Emergency Medical Service Division with volunteers and reserve paramedics and emergency medical technicians who will respond solely to medical calls in the district. “Some of our volunteers and reservists may not want to become involved in fighting fires,” he said. “They can play a vital role in the community by responding to medical calls, which will free valuable firefighting resources.”Battalion Chief Champlin has worked as a consultant for the Falcon Fire Department since 2005, but he began his fire service career as a volunteer firefighter/EMT in Oklahoma. He earned a degree in Fire Protection Engineering Technology from Oklahoma State University.Champlin formerly served as a fire protection engineer with the Colorado Springs Fire Department. He is a co-founder of a Colorado-based fire protection consulting firm and a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Office Program.”I think the best way to serve the community is to be active in mitigation activities that prevent harm and promote health,” he said. “I’ve always championed a broader focus for the fire service that not only demands the highest level of emergency services, but also an understanding and commitment to community risk reduction.”Champlin said he’s committed to firefighter safety, quicker response times and improving departmental standards and training.”I’m very excited to serve in this capacity and I look forward to the consistency and professionalism that will result from these new leadership positions,” he said.”This was a very competitive selection process,” Harwig said. “The selection committee didn’t have an easy task, but they’re confident in their decision and the capabilities and the professionalism of the new battalion chiefs. These promotions are one more step in the development of our department as it keeps up with our ever growing community.”Holiday season presents unique fire safety concernsIn 2008, the Falcon Fire Protection District responded to nine fire-related calls during the holiday season. That’s nine calls too many. Our goal is to ensure your celebrations are safe and worry free.The source of fires during the holidays varies but is normally related to trees, candles, holiday lights and holiday decorations. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that more than 400 Americans die each year as a result of holiday season fires, more than 1,600 are injured and damages exceed $990 million.”We can’t overemphasize the importance of taking simple steps to ensure your family’s safety this holiday season,” said Chief Trent Harwig of the Falcon Fire Department. “Paying close attention to the small things in your home and workplace can help keep the season safe for everyone.”The following safety tips can help keep you fire free this holiday season.Christmas tree safety

  • Ensure needles on fresh trees are green, do not break and are difficult to pull from branches.
  • Bounce the tree trunk on the ground several times. If needles fall off, the tree was cut too long ago.
  • Cut the tree trunk once you get it home to help the tree drink more effectively.
  • Don’t place trees near fire sources in your home, which includes fireplaces, space heaters and other heat sources that will sap moisture from trees.
  • Live trees should not be left up more than two weeks.
  • Always keep the tree stand filled with water.
  • Don’t burn the tree, branches or needles in a fireplace or a wood burning stove.
  • If possible, recycle your tree or dispose of it properly. Local news media will publicize recycling centers and drop off sites.
Holiday light safety
  • Always check each strand of lights for frayed wiring, bare spots, broken sockets and excessive wear and tear.
  • Holiday lights should carry the logo or seal of approval of an approved testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Protect power cords from animals by placing them in PVC pipe.
  • Never display indoor-only lights outside.
  • Don’t use nails to attach lights to your house. Nails can puncture wires, increasing the chance of fire.
  • No more than three strands of lights should be connected to one extension cord.
  • Periodically check lights to ensure wires, sockets and bulbs are safe.
Holiday decoration safety
  • Ensure your decorations are nonflammable or fire retardant.
  • Keep candles safely out of the reach of small children and pets.
  • Never leave candles burning when you leave your home.
  • Don’t burn wrapping paper in fireplaces. This increases the chance of a chimney fire.
  • Artificial trees should be fire retardant.
“We want to help all our residents enjoy a safe and fire free holiday season,” Harwig said.For links to additional holiday safety tips, visit the Falcon Fire Protection District’s Web site at

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