By Richard Uhlhorn
Regional Training Center:
District 5 Fire Chief Arnold Baker gave a presentation to the Chelan Fire & Rescue on District 5’s Regional Training Center. “We started out with three container boxes,” said Baker. That has changed to a total of 10 containers. The District received a $100,000 grant and additional funding from Chelan County to help with the construction of the training center which will begin in the spring.
“The facility will be used to train fire fighters,” Baker said. It will have a fire room and a number of other training rooms so that firefighters in the training schedule won’t have to standby while one training session is going on. “We will keep people moving instead of people standing around.”
There will be three levels. The second level will have a lot of nozzle work and team work exercises. “There will be multiple opportunities to use burn boxes. There will also be a burn operator who will control the environment.”
The third level will be used as a roof prop to train firefighters balcony rescues.
“We are still on budget,” said Baker. “We are pretty excited also.”
“We will build it and you can use it,” Baker told District 7 administration and commissioners. He hopes to have it up and running by the end of summer with a cadre of training officers. “All of the officers will have to go through training too.”
Chelan 7 Badge Pinning:
Chief Brandon Asher pinned two new firefighters; Stephanie Preheim and William Steady. After swearing them in he told the Commissioners that the District was now fully staffed.
Chief Asher’s report:
Asher reported that the District ended financially at 106% of what was budgeted.
He told the commissioners that overtime was being tracked and that OT has been reduced over the prior year with three firefighters on board 24/7 instead of two. “We are much better that where we started last year,” stated Asher.
January saw 64 calls of which 77% was EMS. “We had no major incidents in January.”
Commissioner Russ Jones asked about illegal burns and Asher replied that they were given warnings. One burn was in Chelan Falls.
The District passed its annual audit without any issues. The cost was $12,963. “That was $1,000 less than we budgeted.”
Fire District classification ratings improved throughout the district with the exception of Station 75 on the South Shore. Everything within a five mile radius of Chelan has moved from a Class 6 to a 5. This could be beneficial for homeowners home insurance being reduced. Chief Asher sent out the following press release explaining the changes. “Hopefully it will help out a lot of people.” However insurance costs are increasing also but Asher stated that the department is better prepared for any emergencies that might arise.
CHELAN FIRE AND RESCUE FIRE PROTECTION CLASSIFICATION IMPROVES
Chelan Fire and Rescue is pleased to announce that residents and business owners in the city limits of Chelan will improve from a fire protection classification of 6 to a 5. Residents living in the County within 5 miles of Station 71 (Downtown Chelan) and in an area with hydrants (ex: Chelan Falls) will improve from a 7 to a 6. Residents within 5 miles of Station 73 (Union Valley) will improve from an 8 to a 7. Unfortunately, due to a decrease in volunteers, the residents at Station 75 (South Lakeshore) will move from a 7 to a 9. Therefore, we need 2 additional Volunteers to maintain the current protection class for Station 75! Interested Volunteers can find applications at www.chelan7.com .
So what does this mean for you? If your insurance providers use the Washington Survey and Rating Bureau (WSRB) fire protection classification ratings, you can call your provider after June 1 st and potentially get a lower insurance rate on your home or business insurance. It also means that your Fire Department is better staffed and equipped than before to serve you. This is all thanks to your support! As our community grows, Chelan Fire and Rescue is committed to providing you with the highest level of service.
The District now has a complete contact list for all emergency responders.
Chief Asher said that they now have a draft application for a Volunteer Coordinator position. The department also put out the word that they are seeking to fill this year’s seasonal positions. “We haven’t received one phone call,” said Asher. “I hope somebody will step up and do it.”
Three volunteers are in the Wenatchee Fire Academy. “It is an all around smaller class this year.”
Annual maintenance is being performed on all the district’s apparatus to get it ready for this year’s fire season.
Department of Natural Resources:
The DNR is awarding $7,000 to 25 different fire departments. “There is a lot of funding out there.
The Department has put down $5,000 to get on a list for a new type 3 fire unit which will probably not be available until 2025.
With only three volunteers currently at Station 75, Asher has decided to leave the water truck at that location because of its ability to put a lot of water out quickly.
New flooring will be installed at Station 71 beginning on March 27.
Assistant Chief report:
Assistant Chief Shaun Sherman reported that three members are in training at the Fire Academy in Wenatchee.
With costs to outfit a firefighter with bunker gear at $7,000 the department is being very careful with purchasing bunker gear for a firefighter it they are not going be in the area for at least 10 months.
Commissioner Phil Moller said that there has to be something else than an individual just wanting to be a volunteer. “The need more skin in the game,” he said. Sherman replied, “I hear you. We are taking a more holistic approach to training.”