Fewer Calls for Prowers County Rural Fire Department for 2011

Staffon Warns’ annual report to the Prowers County Commissioners shows 110 service calls for 2011, down slightly from 2010, according to the Rural Fire Chief.  Warn explained the fewer calls were attributable to preplanning controlled burns by rural county residents.  He added that the burn permit system allows prior notice of a burn and that in turn lets the department advise if weather conditions warrant going ahead with a field burn. 

The department responded to 72 outdoor fires, three vehicle fires and one structure fire which was a mutual aide call for an apartment fire within Lamar City limits.  Chief Warn said given the severity of large wildland fires this past spring; he drafted an automatic aid agreement with Wiley, Granada and Holly for a speedier response of personnel and equipment.   

Warn said the number of hazardous materials incidents decreased in 2011, mostly for vehicle accidents and minor spills such as radiator or fuel leaks.  Commissioner Millbrand suggested that future responses should be considered billable in order to recoup the cost to the county, the expense in time, fuel, and materials that go into hazardous material calls.  Millbrand said a claimant’s insurance policy usually provides for such matters.  Warn said Homeland Security funding help pay for training eight Haz Mat technicians.   

The Lamar/Prowers County volunteers have 30 members on staff and the Bristol/Granada volunteers have seven personnel.  Next month the department will send two personnel to become Ice Rescue Technicians.  Warn said that although calls like this are rare, lack of proper training for any future response could jeopardize the volunteers as well as those at need.  The two who receive training with hold local classes for the rest of the volunteers.  The county agreed to the funding, estimated at $1,500.

By Russ Baldwin



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