We’ve done well planning for future, but support will be needed

Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016 1:11 PM

This month, Durango Fire Rescue would like to give our community information about the stations that serve our community.

Durango Fire Rescue operates 16 fire stations as well as an administrative office building to provide services to the community. Because our district is 58 miles long, covers 325 square miles and the timeliness of our responses is so critical to the outcome of many emergencies, we have to select multiple locations to house our fire rescue and emergency medical resources.

There are basically three types of fire stations within our district. Eight of our stations are small, glorified garages that house fire apparatus for responses to the local area. These stations are home to our volunteer crews that support the community with timely lifesaving fire and emergency medical responses.

There are four stations similar to the eight above but have living quarters attached to them. The fire district recruits volunteer firefighters interested in living in these stations, and in return, these resident volunteers provide rapid response of the apparatus from that station when they are at the station.

Finally, we operate four stations that house career crews staffed with full-time firefighter medics. Some of these stations also serve as the base for volunteer fire medics, and others just have career staff. These are our largest stations and are located in the areas with the highest call volume.

Our stations are aging, and in many cases, barely meet our needs. An example is our downtown station No. 2 next to the Powerhouse in the River City Hall building. It became a fire station in 1983 as a temporary location to house fire apparatus until a new station could be constructed. Now, 34 years later, we are still in that facility. The facility poses both an operational deficit as well as significant safety problems for our crews.

Durango Fire Rescue has done well planning for the future. We are currently making plans for construction of a new station to replace Station 2, as well as another station. After construction of these two stations, we are also looking at building a training facility to support the training and educational needs of our staff of nearly 180 responders. These projects have strong financial support based on our efforts to save funds for our known capital needs.

We will, however, come to a point where support will be required to continue serving the needs of our community. Our goal is to move as conservatively as possible and to exhaust all of our funding options before asking our constituents for additional support.

Most important to Durango Fire Rescue is that our community is assured that if they ever need help, we will be there to answer that call, providing timely and professional service in your time of need. That is what all of our members strive for and what we hope you feel you can expect from us – your fire and rescue department.

Hal Doughty is fire chief for Durango Fire Rescue.