Commissioners Hear Rural Fire Department Report

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Efforts to facilitate more effective communications between Kansas and Colorado border fire and emergency departments is making headway, according to Staffon Warn, Prowers County Emergency Operations Manager and Rural Fire Chief.  Warn was issuing his quarterly operations report to the Prowers County Commissioners Thursday, October 24, stating the communications radio systems being used by bordering counties in both states is closer to being aligned for their frequencies in the 800 megahertz band. 

Other emergency operations systems are also seeing improvement, he said, including the installation of the wireless activation systems for the sirens in the community.  There were some phone line problems several weeks ago as residents heard a partial siren alert that lasted only for moments.  “Centurytel was called and fixed the phone line problem for us,” Warn explained.  Once funding is complete, the installation of the three remaining wireless activation systems will be set up.  Currently, the sirens are activated from Lamar Light and Power, but the wireless system will allow any of the sirens to be set off from a touchpad telephone from anywhere in the county. 

Using funds from the Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant, Warn said two, 2-1/2 inch single outlet fire hydrants are being installed on the Granada water system north of highway 196, and the grant will help purchase an assortment of hand tools for their department.  The Prowers County Rural Fire Department has 19 firefighters, five of whom are Hazmat techs, two are EMT’s, one is an EMT Level 1 and five EMR’s and the majority are Wildland Firefighter Level 2 trained.  Sixty-one calls were responded to during the third quarter, including 34 grass fires, ten mutual aid calls, five tree/utility pole fires, 12 motor vehicle accidents and six motor vehicle fires and four false alarms.  Warn said the department usually averages 100 calls a year. 

The commissioners authorized Darren Glover, Community Resource Service Director, to accept three upright freezers which will be used to store the commodities distributed throughout the county each quarter.  A freezer is being donated to Wiley, Granada and Holly to store the perishable commodities.  The commissioners are facing a problem with the news that the state will soon issue the food items each month instead of every three.  This will impact the number of volunteers who help package the food boxes for distribution as the work, although shorter in duration, will have to be repeated monthly.  Volunteers are being sought to help package the boxes.  Commissioner Chairman, Joe Marble said, the volunteers at the SOS Center are mostly in their 70s.  Glover said the monthly distribution may impact the rural county’s chances of taking possession of those commodities that aren’t picked up in the metro areas. 

In other action, the commissioners appointed Clifford Boxley to the board of directors for Lamar Partnerships, Incorporated and approved the annual fairground rental agreement with the Sagebrush Sam’s for 2013/2014.  The commissioners meetings are being held at the SOS Center on East Olive Street until November 21 due to the upcoming general election and the need for their office space for balloting issues.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedFire Department-RespondersGranadaHollyLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyWiley


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