News Update!!: Downtown Needles, CA: Summary from second Fire Services Task Force Meeting.

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News Update!!: Downtown Needles, CA: Summary from second Fire Services Task Force Meeting.

The second Fire Services Task Force Meeting was held on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 inside the El Garces Train Depot in Downtown Needles, California.

Members of the Fire Services Task Force got to hear information on a variety of items in 3 presentations from an insurance broker, Baker ambulance, and from the San Bernardino County Fire Department discussing what members of the Fire Services Task Force should know about before they make a decision on who is best to service the community of Needles, California in providing fire services and protection.

Members on the Fire Services Task Force included Robert Yee, Donnie Zamora, Linda Kidd (Not President At This Meeting), Steve Moffitt, and Michael Wright.

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** Summary from the Fire Services Task Force Meeting: **

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– Jan Jernigan, Farmers Insurance Agent, discussed during his presentation to members of the Fire Services Task Force what is the City of Needles’ I.S.O., and what affects could happen on people’s indivisible homeowner insurance and cost.  (Presentation Length: 00:02 to 22:04).

** Video from ZachNews on YouTube: **

– Downtown Needles, CA: 9-17-2015: Fire Services Task Force Meeting:

According to Needles City Manager Rick Daniels, “One of the issues we talked about and identified as an issue is on our ISO rating – our fire rating – will affect, if it changes; up or down whatever, it will affect people’s indivisible homeowner insurance and cost.”

According to Jan Jernigan, “Currently, we’re at a 5 (I.S.O. Rating) and if you choose to go to volunteer, you will go to an 8.

That’s pending on the fact that you maintain the hydrants. If you choose not to then it could go to a 10.”

Jan Jernigan told members of the Fire Task Force that an 8 rating is dependent upon the City of Needles maintaining the fire hydrants around the community, and if the City of Needles doesn’t maintain the hydrants, then the rating would drop further to a 10W, the “W” means there’s water available within 1,000 feet of structures.

Jan Jernigan told members of the Fire Task Force that she spoke with local businesses and a majority of them are concern.

Jan Jernigan then discussed what will happen to residents in Needles, California.

According to Jan Jernigan, “We’re look at in the residential area, you’re looking at a 30% to 50% rate increase.”

This increase is if the City of Needles’s I.S.O. rating dropped.

Jan Jernigan told members of the Fire Task Force about concerns for commercial businesses that most preferred companies such as Farmers Insurance, Allied Insurance, and other insurance agencies wouldn’t write policies for businesses in an areas with a 10 I.S.O. rating.

I.S.O. (Insurance Service Office) is a leading source of information about risk. I.S.O. partners with municipal fire authorities, city managers, and other community officials to evaluate local fire-protection resources. I.S.O. collects information on municipal fire protection efforts in communities throughout the United States of America and in each of those communities, an I.S.O. analyzes the relevant data using our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (F.S.R.S.), which then assign a Public Protection Classification (P.P.C.) from 1 to 10; a “Class 1” means superior property fire protection and a “Class 10” means the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet I.S.O.’s minimum criteria. I.S.O. collects information on municipal fire-protection capabilities through on-site assessments.

** Information collected for the I.S.O. includes the following: **

– Fire Alarms and Communications Systems: including alarm dispatch circuits; radio and telephone facilities; alarm facilities; equipment for power supply; and overall system operation.

– Fire Department: including fire station, apparatus, and equipment; pumper tests; aerial ladder and elevating platform test; drills and training; department personnel; and firefighter response.

– Water Supply: including water pumping equipment; needed fire flow; hydrant flow tests; hydrant condition; and identifying locations of: supply and storage facilities mains, pressure zones, and valves hydrants new streets.

Jan Jernigan discussed what affects I.S.O. rating could have in the efforts to bring in new industries and residential projects to the community if the City of Needles’ I.S.O. rating is high. A high rate is bad and risky for those who want to come and build in those high rated communities.

Jan Jernigan discussed what are other communities I.S.O. ratings saying, “Golden Shores and Topock (Arizona) is Protection Class 6. The lower valley is Protection Class 6. Fore Mohave (Arizona) Protection Class 6. When you get to the train bar that’s, there going up to – it’s right across where you go up to Arroyo Vista (Arizona) – that is Bullhead City (Arizona) becomes Protection Class 4. Lake Havasu (Arizona) is split 3 and 4 (Protection Classes) as well as Kingman (Arizona) 3 and 4. When you get into Flagstaff (Arizona) – because they can afford to have a fire station on every block – they’re 2 to 3. When you get into the outlining areas, like the Hualapai, they’re even at 8-10. So it really dihuves you to think down the road out to our vision of what the City could come.”

Jan Jernigan then discussed what insurance rates are today and how they are different from the past as well as explained the cost of a fire to somebody’s home.

During that discussion, Jan Jernigan spoke about the 2 owners of the homes, that burned down in Downtown Needles, California on Saturday, June 13th, 2015, are going to rebuild on the lot.

Jan Jernigan discussed the hard work the everybody is doing on debris clean up and spoke about what happened when All State Insurance came into Needles, California.

“All State came into Needles a couple a months ago and cancelled about a dozen homes. And I’m sure after these fires and Farmers’ pulls up my zip code – to compete the fire, they’re gonna to come and drain here too. They don’t want to see Christmas lights on in August, they don’t want to see broken down cars, they don’t want to see debris, they don’t want debris within 350 feet of a home. If you’ll go to a Protection Class 8 or 10, the insurance company already arriving; there going to send somebody here and inspect your home, and you either compile and they them do that or you would be covered.”

Jan Jernigan explained Protection Class on communities to members of the Fire Services Task Force.

Protection Class is a level of rating that is given to the amount of fire protection in an area. The rate is decided upon by the Grading Schedule of Cities and Towns. The larger an area the more fire protection it should have and it is reflected in this ratings scheme.

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– Mike Lowenthal of Baker Emergency Medical Service in Needles, California spoke about their ambulance service during his presentation to members of the Fire Services Task Force. (Presentation Length: 22:04 to 33:14).

Mike Lowenthal discussed what services Baker Emergency Medical Service does, who they operate under, and

Mike Lowenthal told members that Baker Emergency Medical Service is contracted by the County of San Bernardino through Inland County Emergency Medical Agency to provide ambulance service that includes basic and emergency services as well as basic to advance life support.

The local area that Baker Emergency Medical Service covers is to Mile Maker 24 on Highway 95 South, up to the Nevada State Line, and up Interstate 40 to Kelbaker Road; Mile Maker 78.

The local Baker Emergency Medical Service staffs 1 unit 24/7 and they have on call crew everyday.

The local Baker Emergency Medical Service made for immediate response 1 24 hour crew that is there at their facility, and if there is a need for a back up, we have a back up 90% percent of the time.

The local Baker Emergency Medical Service has a mutual agreement with Mohave Valley Fire Department, which is located across the Colorado River at Fire Station #82. If Mohave Valley Fire Department runs out of ambulances, the local Baker Emergency Medical Service backs them up as they back up the local Baker Emergency Medical Service if they run out of ambulances.

The local Baker Emergency Medical Service also goes out to Golden Shores, Arizona when they get busy too.

Baker Emergency Medical Service is contracted, but not paid or subsidize by the County of San Bernardino; Baker Emergency Medical Service gets their revenue from billing insurance companies.

The County of San Bernardino Supervisors set the rate Baker Emergency Medical Service charges.

A question by a member of the Fire Services Task Force if Baker Emergency Medical Service has extrication equipment, the Jaws of Life, on their ambulance. Mike Lowenthal said, “No, that is their job (Pointing at the San Bernardino County Fire Department); execration is their job.”

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– San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain and San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall discussed a variety of items including response time and during his presentation to members of the Fire Services Task Force. (Presentation Length: 33:14 to 1:05:25 and Continues for 44:28 in Part 2 Video).

** Video from ZachNews on YouTube: **

– Downtown Needles, CA: 9-17-2015: Fire Services Task Force Meeting: Part 2:

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain and San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall discussed and provided information about partial taxes and how those options are available to use to help save money, discussing how the City of San Bernardino (California) is doing with their fire department that is being taken over by San Bernardino County Fire Department.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain discussed the cost repair of fire trucks.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain told members of the Fire Services Task Force that during their last Fiscal Year, San Bernardino County Fire Department spent $2,825 dollars on Water Tender 31 before it was put out of service; spent $64,543 dollars in 2014 for repairs on Medical Engine 31 which is the front line engine; spent $41,350 dollars on Brush Patrol, a Type 6 Engine; and San Bernardino County Fire Department spent $4,o65 on the utility hand.

A total on all of the repairs the San Bernardino County Fire Department spent was $113,184 dollars, out of the $600,000 the San Bernardino County Fire Department took in on the contract.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain and San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall discussed with members of the Fire Services Task Force about inventory and what the City of Needles owns in relates to fire equipment and apparatus in case the City of Needles has it’s own fire department.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain explained what is going on with the contract increase cost is up and a program that is going away relating to this cost.

During the meeting, members of the Fire Services Task Force gave explains of what happened in cases with the San Bernardino County Fire Department when talking about professional firefighters; cases mention included how fire crews handled an neck injury incident, how fire crews at a house fire couldn’t turn on the fire hydrant during, but his 55 year old wife was able to open the fire hydrant, and a firefighter kicking a service dog for laying next to his wife when she fell.

In response to the comments about fire crews unable to turn on the fire hydrant, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall said that, “I absolutely take exception to that because there’s no way that any of our paid professionals that were here cannot open a fire hydrant. Maybe it was broken”.

But the Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora said that it wasn’t broke because his wife was able to open it, and he wanted to let everybody know that not everybody is trained as we all want them to be, and that we need training in other areas when being a firefighter.

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora then discussed the big residential structure fire happened in Downtown Needles, California on Saturday, June 13th, 2015.

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora said, “I was rather upset when I heard; and I was there that day when those houses burned, and there’s an engine up – and I understand; I was a firefighter for years, I was a fire commissioner when I lived in Colorado; I know these situations, I understand these situations – but for a time, we didn’t have significant coverage, and I was told that there was a training crew at the airport. Why wasn’t this crew moved up into town – to cover the town – when the other engine was out?”

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain said, “That was part of your crew”, which San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Thomas Marshall asked Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora if he means the recent fire.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain asked Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora, “are you talking about the 3 home the day of the winds and thunderstorm?” which Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora said, “Yes, correct”.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain then spoke about what he said happened that day saying, “So what we had that day – actually, you had better coverage then you normally have with that because we had a professional firefighter filling in – actually one I personally trained and can vouch for him – he was not familiar with the city, he never worked out here before. He was in the small engine; the Type 6 which was the pickup size, they just did a area familiarization. They had the motorcycle accident out there on the freeway in… was it in Kelbaker or no it was in Goffs? (Asking San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall and said “Goffs.”) “It was Goffs. So they went out there, they handled that and did that; they took the Type 1 Engine for crew safety o.k.; that was the point of all that – not to get anybody killed. They went to get fuel at the airport; which is within the City; which is where its suppose to be, and as they were pulling up to get fuel is when the structure fire came in. So you had the Type 6 Engine that was in the city, and that is what they responded with.”

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain defended the response time of 9 minutes that it took to response to the residential structure fire.

“It may have seem like a really pro-long period of time till somebody got out there – I mean, I gave a pretty comprehension report on the timing on that whole thing; I want to say – it was right at 9 minutes, and that’s that’s – those guys were on it working hard. I listened to the tapes, I pulled all the data, I talked with Mohave Valley Chief; we had some little issues, but you had a very – given the circumstances – you had a very high level of service,” said San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain.

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora said, “I understand the situation we have out here, but Kelbaker (Road) is one cut off, Vidal Junction essentially is the other cut off, and we go to Nevada State Line on Highway 95 – even clear out to Kelbaker Road or north to Nipton (California); we have that entire area. Do we have any better insurances that somebody will be here to at least redirect?…”

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain redirected the question to San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Thomas Marshall for him to answer.

“We have auto agreements with is Mohave Valley Fire Department – so if the engine leaves, they’re immediately notified that we’re available, and at the same time, we also start moving up the engine from Havasu Landing (California),” said San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Thomas Marshall.

When asked who notify them; to Mohave Valley Fire Department, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall said, “the company caption who is here.”

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall added, “As so as he gets onto the call, he notify our communication center and then they notify Mohave Valley. And Mohave Valley is more then willing to respond.”

Since that the big residential structure fire happened in Downtown Needles, California, San Bernardino County Fire Department has been notifying other fire department to move up an engine when fire crews from Fire Station 31 is out on a call along Interstate 40.

When asked if the fire station in Havasu Landing is out, who will come, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain told members of the Fire Services Task Force that they can move up other engines, and added that this happened during the “Willow Fire” when a fire engine from Joshua Tree, California was moved up for over 24 hours to cover Needles, California and moved up a fire engine up from Bloomington, California to cover Joshua Tree, California.

“So we have that depth where we can spare the resources to provide long term coverage. getting up here immediately, that is a little more of a challenge, but that’s that’s the isolation of kind of where we are at,” said San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain.

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora said, “I understand; I’ve doubt with that every years; I can understand all that. it was my understanding that these folks were being – at that time, that things weren’t being done that way” and wants to see it be an automatic response.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall responded saying that it has been an automatic response since he worked here.

Later in the meeting, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain later discussed the response time issue telling members of the Fire Services Task Force that if you’re worry about response time, you got to consider the time to get you equipment to wear on, getting the equipment for the call together and onto the trucks, and then add the time of travel to that call; 9 minutes is a good mark as on response time.

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora added that, “I just know when we had 30 paid call firefighters, we can send an engine out and there was a second engine waiting – and we can have guys standing around awaiting for something to do. They show up and be there is case they’re needed. And there’s no chance in the future that the County can take on a volunteer…?”

San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Thomas Marshall responded saying, “Well, we have a couple of options that we (San Bernardino County Fire Department’s John Chamberlain) discussed already that should we maintain service here in the City, there’s 2 programs that we’re very interested in, and the first is the Fire Corps Program – which is a new program, it’s in the roll out stages right now – we’re still developing it and that’s a volunteer program, and the reason we can do that is because it doesn’t cost money; everything else cost money. The second program is that we’re talking about very seriously and I wanted to do for a while was the Explore Program, which is run out of the Boy Scouts of America.”

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora discussed about training and the distance people would have to travel to and from their home to the place where they need to go to become a firefighter, and asked if there’s a way to bring that here and closure so that people who want to be firefighters wouldn’t have to travel so far.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall responded saying that the Fire Corps Program will be delivered locally.

When asked if members of this new Fire Corps Program be able to enter a fire, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall responded saying, “No, absolutely not. Well because their not – their not taking physicals, their not doing annual fit testing for the breathing apparatus and that’s the big thing; if you don’t have a fit test, you can’t wear breathing apparatus.”

When asked if the San Bernardino County Fire Department can entertain doing some form of B.T.F. company, San Bernardino County Fire Department said, “We could do that. Would we be willing to do it – ya we could. The line item dollar amount we gave you, and it covers less then 1/3 of operating cost of the fire station, there would have to be – 10 years ago, we chip away… $65,000 that was budgeted for earmark for that P.T.F. Program. But I will tell you that in 3 years, and we left that as an open ended P.T.F. application pool and we collected 1.”

Fire Services Task Force Member Donnie Zamora responded saying that it’s because of the distance and time to travel, and it would be difficult to find somebody to take care of a family member who is disabled for 40 hours.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall said that, “training can all take place right here, but there’s a couple of things that you have to go to San Bernardino (California) for. You have to go their for a physical, you have to go there for your drug test…”

Regarding basic training and having to go all the way to San Bernardino, California for it, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall said, “We can arrange that; that’s not… we brought in an E.M.T instructor to Havasu Landing (California) that seen 3 people.”

When asked if a firefighter goes through their fire academy at the Mohave Community College and is certified as a firefighter 1, is that certification is valet here in California, San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief John Chamberlain said, “No”, but added, “Now, can we in fact train them to do that without having the academy – but having them have the academy; can we sign that off? Yes we can.”

Applications are being accepted for a fire academy being open at Mohave Community College beginning in January 2015.

** More information regarding the Fire Science Program being held at Mohave Community College is at the following ZachNews on WordPress website address: **

https://zachnews.net/2015/09/20/bullhead-city-az-fire-science-program-being-held-at-mohave-community-college/

During the meeting, San Bernardino County Fire Department’s John Chamberlain talked about a training burn that is going to happen in October 2015 at the old Overland Motel.

According to San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall, from Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 to Friday, October 16th, 2015, the San Bernardino County Fire Department will be doing a training burn will be happening at the old Overland Motel, located on the 700 block of West Broadway in Downtown Needles, California.

The San Bernardino County Fire Department is going to bring out their candidates from their academy, work with the local fire departments and we’re going to do some training using the old Overland Motel.

Half of the old Overland Motel will be burn down as part of the training burn; which is the part closes to E Street, but the part of the old Overland Motel that is near the alleyway will not be burned, but there will be some other training going on inside; such as forcible entry training and ventilation training.

San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas Marshall tells ZachNews that there may be some live fires inside the rooms, but not big fires.

Participating in the training; 50 people from San Bernardino County Fire Department, 30 people from Mohave Valley Fire Department, and possibly some people from Bullhead City, Arizona and Fort Mohave, Arizona.

For this training burn, there will be street closures, including West Broadway.

When asked who does testing on the fire hydrants, San Bernardino County Fire Department’s John Chamberlain said, “To answer your question – yes, absolutely; we would be interested in doing that.”

Needles City Manager Rick Daniels then spoke about the fire hydrants saying, “As the number of people in the Water Department shrunk, that was one of the things that has not been done – that needs to be done.”

Needles City Manager Rick Daniels added, “Because some parts of town, the system is so fragile, that if you crank down to quick, it blows outs.

A big question of members of the Fire Services Task Force is if there’s a large amount of people here in Needles, California or withing 5 miles area of Needles, California who are willing to sign up to be a volunteer firefighter for the City of Needles if the City of Needles chooses to create a Volunteer Fire Department.

Needles City Manager told members that flyers asking the public if they would join a volunteer fire department will go out in October’s utility bills and is looking on having the flyer posted in the Needles Desert Star as well as onto ZachNews so that the public can voice their interest into joining a volunteer fire department if that is what is picked.

** Community Comments: **

Question: If the City of Needles created a Volunteer Fire Department, would you sign up and when you are called on , will you be there to response?

**** Please response with an either “Yes” or “No” response and why. ****

You’re answers are needed and will be helpful to see how many people are willing and wanting to be a volunteer firefighter and will be there for the community when they are called on.

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The next Fire Services Task Force Meeting is planned at 3:00pm PT on Thursday, October 8th, 2015 inside the conference room at the Needles Administration Building located at 817 Third Street near F Street in Downtown Needles, California.

** You can read the full packet that members of the Fire Services Task Force have at the following City of Needles website address: **

http://www.cityofneedles.com/Pages/Departments-Services/Fire%20Task%20Force%202015/fire-task-force-2015.html

For more information regarding the Fire Services Task Force Meetings, please contact either Cheryl Sallis at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113.

 

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