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Falcon Fire Protection District (FFPD)

FFPD August board meeting update

The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular board meeting Aug. 21. All directors were present except Greg Heule. Also present was Alan Call, legal counsel for the district.Public commentPam Petersma quoted the district’s mission statement as posted on its website: ìWe are a public service provider that stands ready to protect and serve our community with pride and respect. Respect in our families, each other, community, and the department.î She said, ìI think weíre lacking in that a little bit. As a citizen and a taxpayer, I would like to see that boosted.îCorrespondenceBoard president Kelly Starkman read a letter from Dennis Hisey, El Paso County District 4 commissioner, regarding the adoption of updated fire codes. In the Aug. 16 letter, Hisey said the county commissioners wanted to expedite the approval of fire codes adopted by fire districts in unincorporated parts of the county, especially in the wake of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. He requested that ìany Fire District wishing to participate in the statutory process to update its fire code from the 2003 IFC (International Fire Code) to do so within the next 60 days.î Hearings on these codes would be scheduled at the earliest possible dates.Treasurer’s reportChief Trent Harwig reported that with 58 percent of the fiscal year complete, the district has received 92 percent of budgeted collections for the year and is at 61 percent of total expenditures. The district did not receive the county treasurerís report in time to include that revenue in this report. Harwig said an invoice received from the Mountain States Employerís Council was not included in this report since it has not yet been paid.The Rural Water Fund received $5,625 in July. No expenditures have been made. Harwig and Vernon Champlin, fire marshal, are currently evaluating water supply and how to best utilize these funds. They will present recommendations to the board at the September meeting.Chief’s reportFleet update: One engine is out of service for emergency response, awaiting siren repair, but it is available for non-emergent purposes. Both stations still have engines available for response. The Ford Expedition will be moved to Station 1 for use as a quick response vehicle. The F350 will be moved out of frontline service for use as a utility vehicle.All capital purchases have been postponed until the fourth quarter pending budget review.Staffing: There are 16 full-time and seven part-time members; three administrative personnel; one part-time mechanic; seven firefighter volunteers; seven EMS volunteers; and one volunteer chaplain.The district is short one battalion chief, one operations/training chief and one full-time firefighter.The battalion chief job posting has been extended to Aug. 30 due to slow response and is expected to be filled in mid-to late-September.A volunteer firefighter/EMS lateral academy will begin in early September.601 volunteer standby hours were logged for July.Member’s handbookThe board and fire chief received the first draft of the membersí handbook, made corrections and returned it to the districtís attorneys. An updated draft was returned the day of the board meeting, but board members did not have a chance to review it prior to the meeting.Pension boardThe pension fund for retired volunteers has grown despite the economy, and the actuarial study found all areas to be sound.The pension board discussed options for pension benefits based on the results of the actuarial study and decided to review FFPDís 2014 budget before making any changes to current benefits.The next pension board meeting will be in November.2009 International Fire Code updateChamplin said FFPD has met with the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs about six times in as many months to resolve concerns with FFPDís proposed amendments to the 2009 International Fire Code. FFPD has removed the fire sprinkler requirement for residential structures but will maintain the requirement for sprinklers in commercial buildings larger than 6,000 square feet.FFPDís Appendix K to the 2009 IFC, which covers structures built in the Wildland Urban Interface mirrors the hardened structure requirement adopted by Colorado Springs following the Waldo Canyon fire. Hardened structures are those built with noncombustible deck materials, noncombustible siding (e.g. stucco, cement board), and Class A roofs. HBA estimates that hardening a residential structure adds about $3,000 to $3,500 on average to construction costs.In addition to structure hardening, FFPD added a requirement for metal culverts in driveways. Plastic culverts melted in the Black Forest fire, creating hazards for firefighters and residents. FFPD also added a requirement for remote addressing of long, flag lot-type properties.Champlin said county attorney Amy Folsom determined fire flow requirements must still be enforced. Options to meet fire flow requirements in FFPD include hydrants, fire sprinkler systems, cisterns or paying into the Rural Water Fund.Champlin plans to meet with HBA at least one more time. He recommended the board adopt the 2009 IFC, including the provisions for hardened structures, commercial sprinklers and fire flow. Deputy chief of operations job descriptionHarwig said the new job description is essentially the same as the previous deputy chief job description, with the addition of training chief duties. ìNow that we have neither (a deputy chief nor a training chief), it leaves us with a lot of discussion,î he said.Pay, leave and allowance scheduleThe board revisited a pay and benefits comparison that Harwig compiled and first presented in April. The comparison shows that FFPDís overall pay and benefits lags behind departments of similar size and operations. The issue is how to keep firefighters in Falcon and not lose them to other similar departments.New businessThe board approved a proposal to grant extra leave time to three exempt employees who worked extra hours during the Black Forest fire. The leave time is equal to the extra hours worked.September board meeting date changedThe board voted to move the date of the September regular meeting to Sept. 25 to accommodate board member attendance of the Special District Association of Colorado conference.NOTICE:The El Paso-Teller County Enhanced 9-1-1 Authority is asking that anyone who previously registered for the Emergency Notification System prior to the Black Forest fire (week of June 10) re-register information using the new Self Registration Page. This will allow you to manage your contact information should your address or telephone numbers change. The new system also allows users to register multiple locations (work, home, etc.) and up to seven points of contact (email, text, SMS) per account. It is recommended that each user register as an individual rather than as a household to ensure all individuals within the household are notified. All registration information that was collected using the old system has been transferred to the new system.

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