Cherokee Metropolitan District has given notice to the Falcon Fire Protection District that they would like to charge FFPD for Cherokee water they use to train firefighters.
FFPD Fire Chief Trent Harwig said his department received a letter stating that one of Cherokee’s employees observed the Falcon fire department using Cherokee water for training purposes. According to the letter, it is Cherokee’s policy to charge for non-emergency use of water by fire departments. Harwig said this was the first he had heard of this policy. He said Cherokee would like Falcon to purchase a meter and pay for the gallons of water used for training purposes. He said that by law, Cherokee cannot charge for water used for actual firefighting.
“I have never heard of it before,” Harwig said. He said his department uses water from seven water districts and none of the other districts charge for water used for training.
While Cherokee’s policy might be an inconvenience, it would not create a hardship for FFPD. “It’s not like we can’t train,” Harwig said. “We don’t use much water for training,” he said, adding that they can get free water for training from the other water districts that supply firefighting water for Falcon.
Harwig said the department has made several attempts to contact Cherokee Metro to try to resolve this issue, but as of Jan. 22, he had received no response.
“There is no provision for a water district to provide water for free, outside of an emergency situation,” said Amy Lathen, general manager of Cherokee. “I don’t know” was her reply when asked if other water districts charge for water for training.
Lathen said a construction meter is required, which has a back-flow device to prevent contaminated water from flowing into the Cherokee system.
FFPD could be the only fire department that will have to pay for water for training.
Cimarron Hills Fire Department is the only fire department entirely within the boundaries of the Cherokee district. Virpi Mattson, executive assistant for Cimarron Hills Fire, said they do have meters. However, any charge for water used for training is offset because Cimarron Hills is leasing a piece of property to Cherokee Metro.
P.J. Langmaid, chief of Black Forest Fire Rescue, said, “It would be unusual for us to train using Cherokee Metro water as there are only a limited number of Cherokee hydrants within Black Forest.”