Chief Tim’s Tips
Well, folks, as you know we have experienced a very long, very cold spell. Everyone’s been burning more wood than usual and, understandably, people are unwilling to climb around on a roof covered in two feet of snow and ice. However, if you haven’t cleaned your chimney, now is the time as the creosote is likely quite thick and a serious fire hazard.
If you do get a flue fire, be sure to call your fire department immediately as the heat generated can start things burning in places hidden from view. Firefighters don’t consider it out until inspection with a thermal imaging camera proves otherwise.
Just a gentle reminder, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have saved innumerable lives. Have you checked your batteries lately?
And one more thing—it’s a good idea to ensure that address signs can be read even with all the snow. Think about placing yours higher than the snowbank it is currently in. We can find you a lot quicker if we know exactly what your address is.
Have you ever wondered what kinds of things we talk about at our twice-a-month fire department drills? Since September, we have been focused on structure fire suppression, vehicle accidents, and medical response. With fire season coming, we will soon concentrate on such wildfire subjects as:
- Pump operations (e.g. drafting, foam, hose lays, tender supply)
- Fire suppression tactics without water (e.g. fireline construction with hand tools, hot-spotting)
- Chainsaw use and safety
- Radio use procedures
- Wildland Urban Interface strategies
Structural triage (is this home defensible in the face of advancing fire or should limited resources be deployed more safely and effectively elsewhere?)
- Incident command system
- Working with aircraft operations
If you think you would like working with a great team to help your friends, neighbors, and possibly even your own family in a time of need, consider attending one of our drills at the fire hall on Struck Road or call Chief Tim Darland (509-209-4381) or Jake Jakabosky (509-281-1998) with your questions. We hold drills on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 7–9 p.m. Apparatus maintenance is performed on the 1st Tuesday, same time, same place.
2018 Fire District #14 Value of Service
Tim Darland, Fire Chief
I am always amazed when the final numbers come in at the end of the year just how many calls the High Prairie Fire Department (HPFD) responds to annually. The dedication by our 14 members is very impressive, especially when calculating hours spent on training and on active calls. We are extremely lucky as a community and I am personally grateful to each member and their families for the time and sacrifices each give at a drop of a hat.
To recap 2018 HPFD activities: Members responded to a total of 116 emergency calls this last year of which 31 calls were in-district responses. The pie chart below shows the breakdown. Most of the categories are self-explanatory. The “good intent calls” are where our firefighters were asked to stand down when other departments maintained control of their emergency scene or alarm companies called to cancel responding units.
To calculate the value of service we take the number of hours spent on emergency responses and training/maintenance activities and multiply it by the total personnel time on each activity. Then we multiply the number of volunteer hours by $24.69, the average emergency services hourly wage (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). The table shows that HPFD MEMBERS VOLUNTEERED A TOTAL OF 1,905 HOURS in 2018! THE VALUE OF SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY TOTALED $47,034. Our collected tax revenue for HPFD in 2018 was approximately $40,000. Money well spent!
What is not represented in this total Value of Service is the time spent by our Fire Commissioners. Each year they sign a waiver not to get paid for their time serving in their elected positions, which keeps more dollars in the budget for gear and safety equipment. Thank you, Commissioners, for your support to the department and the community.
A few other highlights for the department this last year include the Schilling Road Station (see page 7), Legends Casino Grant for $4,500, HPCC donation, and a flawless audit with many thanks to Glenna Scott, our department secretary and treasurer. It was certainly a great year for the department with the support of our community. Thank you for helping make High Prairie a great place to live!