Timberline responds to 544 calls in 2015

Glenn M. Levy, Fire Chief.    Happy New Year from Timberline; 2015 was an amazing year for Timberline and as your Fire Chief I wanted to update the entire fire district community of what happened this year and what we have planned for 2016.

I’m sure many of you know I was appointed Fire Chief by the Board in April. It was a great honor to have been selected to the position and I love serving the community and this amazing cadre of firefighters. My wife and I moved to the Missouri Lakes area in September and we are grateful for the warm welcome we have received.

Under the direction of the Board of Directors and the full support of our firefighters, one of my first goals was to realign our budget. Immediately upon my appointment, our District Business Manager and I made some changes to cut the adopted General Fund budget $45,000 to immediately reflect a zero deficit budget. In addition, we implemented organizational values to focus on “What Really Matters.” Essentially, we placed our emphasis on taking care of our vehicles and facilities, equipment and training, enhanced fire response, firefighter safety, EMS/Rescue, and services that directly impact our community. The Board approved two year-end purchases from the Capital Fund; a new response truck for Station 9 in Rollinsville, and a remodel of the front of Station 1 in Pinecliffe. Both of these were overdue with the vehicle already in service and responding to calls. The remodel is about 70% complete as we await the garage doors to be delivered. Even with these two projects, the Capital Fund was under budget for 2015.  On the General Fund side, we not only met our zero deficit goal, but carried over an additional $85,000.00.

We entered 2016 in great shape and will continue working to find ways to not only be efficient but to improve everything we do.  Having a small surplus does not mean we are over funded, rather we were able to use the 2015 funds YOU provided us in the most responsible and professional manner possible. The Timberline Fire Protection District provides services in both Gilpin and Boulder Counties with 8 operational fire stations, one un-staffed station/warehouse facility with 50 active volunteers. We have a huge fleet of 4-Engines, 3 Tenders, 4-Brush Trucks, 3-Utility vehicles, 2-ATVs and 2-Command vehicles. Because our district is so large and diverse, it takes a fleet of vehicles this large to be able to provide emergency response, given our unique profile. Our mill levy is 8.342 with 2.682 committed to Capital purchases and 5.66 committed to the General Operating Fund. Essentially we are lean and mean, with no mill levy increase for over 7 years.

This was the busiest year in Timberline’s history. We responded to 544 incidents or requests for service in 2015. This is an astonishing number of emergency responses with several complex and critical incidents. This is an especially impressive number when you consider I am the only paid firefighter. We also had the greatest number of responders per call in 2015, with this reflecting the commitment of your firefighters. I think it’s also important to note that we also increased our service levels, and no, we are not yet done.

2016 is already planning to be a busy year. We are sponsoring a nationally certified Emergency Medical Technician class in February for 20 of our personnel. This is a major commitment by your volunteer firefighters and will significantly increase our ability to provide pre-hospital care and better support to our partners at the Gilpin Ambulance Authority. They will graduate in May as Nationally Registered EMT’s, and will add to our current cadre of fire/EMTs. I cannot stress the importance of this program and the unbelievable commitment of your firefighters.

Also in 2016, I will be developing a Strategic Plan for Timberline that will set the compass course for our department for the next 3-5 years. It will include every aspect of our mission, our budget, working with other agencies, and identifying ways to better serve our community. I am going to want community involvement and will be holding several community meetings in 2016 throughout the district. At these meetings I will be telling you a little about our organization, answer any questions, and get feedback about our services. We work for you and we want and need your feedback. Please plan on attending so we can work together to make Timberline the very best we can be. More on our community meetings over the next several weeks.

In 2016, Timberline will be sending customer survey cards in the mail after every emergency incident, when appropriate, to obtain your comments, impressions, and suggestions on our entire response system. Please fill them out as your constructive feedback matters.

One of our 2015 goals was to reduce our response times. We know that response times have a major impact on fire, medical emergencies, rescues, and all types of emergencies. We met our goal by significantly reducing our response times in 2015, primarily due to your firefighters. The men and women of Timberline are committed to intervening as soon as possible to lessen the impact of any event on members and visitors to our community. There is no question that response times are crucial to outcomes. To help reduce response times in 2016, we will have at least one resident volunteer firefighter living at Fire Station 7 in mid Gilpin County. A resident firefighter is a volunteer who lives in the fire station and responds to calls when not at work or school.

Lastly, words cannot express my pride and respect for your firefighters. These men and women commit hundreds of hours of time training, responding to incidents, and performing administrative duties. Their passion is to serve the residents of the Timberline Fire Protection District. You can be very proud of this amazing group of professional firefighters. While they are all volunteers, the services they deliver, the care and compassion they provide, and the way they go about their duties is as professional as any career department. You have no idea how hard they work to simply serve us all.

I would encourage everyone to attend our monthly Board of Director meetings, frequently check our web site for updated budget and Board information (www.timberlinefire.com), and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/timberlineFPD. One of the things I’m proudest of is our transparency, so please get involved.

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to be a volunteer, please feel free to contact me at glevy@timberlinefire.com, call the office at 303-582-5768, or call my cell phone at 719-310-5840.