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Colorado's western slope

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Title:
Colorado's western slope community growth and the challenge it presents to the urban fire service response
Creator:
Kollar, Steven W
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Language:
English
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x, 130 leaves : ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Fire departments -- Colorado -- Western Slope ( lcsh )
City planning -- Colorado -- Western Slope ( lcsh )
Cities and towns -- Growth -- Colorado -- Western Slope ( lcsh )
Cities and towns -- Growth ( fast )
City planning ( fast )
Fire departments ( fast )
Colorado -- Western Slope ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 127-130).
General Note:
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Steven W. Kollar.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
66462444 ( OCLC )
ocm66462444
Classification:
LD1193.A78 2005m K64 ( lcc )

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Full Text
COLORADO'S WESTERN SLOPE: COMMUNITY GROWTH AND THE
CHALLENGE IT PRESENTS TO THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE
RESPONSE
by
Steven W. Kollar
B.A., State University of New York at Plattsburgh, 1993
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Urban and Regional Planning
2005
r~"
i a


This thesis for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning
degree by
Steven W. Kollar
has been approved
by
>a1


Kollar, Steven W. (Master of Urban and Regional Planning)
Colorados Western Slope: Community Growth and the Challenge It Presents to the
Urban Fire Service Response.
Thesis directed by Professor Michael Holleran.
ABSTRACT
This study attempted to identify what were the urban planning related standards
utilized by local fire departments, which measured effectiveness of current and
future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorados western slope
communities as they grew and developed. Five communities were selected based
on there size and functionality. Communities selected were the City of Grand
Junction, City of Montrose, City of Delta, City of Glenwood Springs and the Town of
Breckenridge. The overall goal of the project was to analyze how the various
communities and their respective fire departments attempted to adequately meet
the challenge of providing appropriate and effective fire protection service as their
communities continued to grow. The research project identified issues that fire
officials deemed critical when it came to evaluating level of service standards in
their jurisdictions. The identification of significant issues was left completely open
and to the discretion of the organization that was interviewed. Once those issues
had been identified by the fire departments, the research then went further by
attempting to determine what were the thresholds associated with those issues that
would trigger the local fire service to actively address or upgrade level of service
standards as their communities grew.
The research project concluded with policy recommendations and a determination
as to whether or not a model plan could be established to assist those communities
in


when integrating fire service needs with community development desires as growth
pressures take place in their communities.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
IV


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my wife, Lisa, for her unwavering love and support while I
was working to complete this research project. Her patience and sacrifice during
the entire academic process was a true inspiration to which I am eternally grateful.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I would like to thank the entire administrative and academic staff at the University of
Colorado at Denver for their support and assistance over the past few years as I
embarked on a new adventure in the urban and regional planning field.
I would like to also acknowledge my academic and thesis committee advisor
Professor Michael Holleran for is meaningful advise throughout my time at the
University of Colorado at Denver; my thesis committee members Professor Brian
Muller of the University of Colorado at Denver and Jon Schler of the Colorado
Center for Community Development for their review, constructive advise and
willingness to be apart of my thesis committee.
Lastly, my appreciation is extended to Fire Chief Rick Beaty of the Grand Junction
Fire Department; Fire Chief Gary Green of the Red, White and Blue Fire
Department; Fire Chief Michael Piper of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department;
Fire Chief Bob Pistor of the Montrose Fire Protection District; and Volunteer Fire
Chief Adam Suppes of the Delta Fire Protection District, whom without I would not
have been able to complete this research project as their patience and willingness
to help was extraordinary.


CONTENTS
Figures............................................................x
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION.............................................1
The Purpose...........................................2
Research Content......................................4
Research Methodology..................................5
Assumptions.....................................6
Literature Review...............................6
Focused Interviews..............................7
Community Site Visits...........................8
Data Collection.................................9
Policy Recommendations..........................9
2. PREPARING FOR COMMUNITY GROWTH..........................10
United States Fire Service...........................14
Community Growth and the Fire Service................18
3. THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE TOOL BOX.........................22
A Rapid Response to Emergency Incidents..............22
Internal Strategic Planning..........................25
Deployment...........................................28
Integrated Development Review and Long Range Planning.30
4. INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION..............................35
City of Grand Junction...............................35
Grand Junction Fire Department.................36
Deployment.....................................38
Planning for Development.......................39
Issues and Thresholds..........................42
vn


Unique............................................45
City of Grand Junction Growth Plan................46
City of Montrose........................................47
Montrose Fire Protection District.................49
Deployment........................................50
Planning for Development..........................51
Issues and Thresholds.............................54
Unique............................................57
City of Montrose Comprehensive Plan...............58
City of Delta...........................................60
Delta Fire Protection District....................61
Deployment........................................62
Planning for Development..........................63
Issues and Thresholds.............................65
Unique............................................67
City of Delta Comprehensive Plan..................68
City of Glenwood Springs................................68
Glenwood Springs Fire Department..................69
Deployment........................................71
Planning for Development..........................73
Issues and Thresholds.............................75
Unique............................................77
City of Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan.......79
Town of Breckenridge....................................80
Red, White and Blue Fire Department...............81
Deployment........................................83
Planning for Development..........................85
Issues and Thresholds.............................87
Unique............................................89
Town of Breckenridge Comprehensive Plan...........90
viii


5. ASSESSMENT..........................................93
Community Growth and the Fire Service............93
Deployment..................................93
Planning for Development....................97
Issues and Thresholds......................103
Unique to Western Colorado.................115
6. CONCLUSION.........................................117
A Model Plan....................................120
Whats Next......................................120
APPENDIX
A. FOCUS INTERVIEW AGENCY WORK SHEET............122
BIBLIOGRAPHY..........................................127
ix


FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Map of Colorado...................................................8
2.1 Rural Landscape of Mesa, Colorado................................10
2.2 Agricultural Field in Montrose County............................13
2.3 Low Density Development in Grand Junction........................18
4.1 City of Grand Junction Downtown Area.............................35
4.2 GJFD Station #3..................................................37
4.3 Development in the City of Montrose..............................48
4.4 MFPD Fire Station................................................50
4.5 City of Delta Commercial Area....................................60
4.6 DFPD Fire Station................................................62
4.7 City of Glenwood Springs Downtown Core...........................69
4.8 GSFD Station #2..................................................70
4.9 Town of Breckenridge.............................................81
4.10 Red, White and Blue Fire Department Main Street Station..........82
5.1 Before and After the 30 Road Project............................111
x


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
One of the primary purposes of the urban and regional planning profession is the
desire to adequately and effectively plan for community growth. To ensure that the
community currently has the resources or can obtain those resources as the urban
fabric expands beyond the borders of what once was thought of as comfortable.
To continue that comfortable feeling, otherwise known as our quality of life,
planning professionals have been given the somewhat daunting task of ensuring
that desired community growth, a real phenomenon that has the potential to bring
about real problems associated with transportation connectivity, urban density, and
the delivery of services, remains in check and the expected city services are
delivered in an adequate manner. One of the most essential services delivered by
a governmental agency is that of public safety which comes in many forms, but for
the purposes of this research project, will come to mean urban fire protection.
This research will analyze the fire protection component of urban growth and how a
selected few communities on the western slope of Colorado are attempting to
actively deal with one of Colorados most significant urban growth phases. The
research will review how those communities are evaluating their levels of fire
protection in terms of bench marking processes, how the fire service integrates
long range planning efforts with community development departments and how
they develop and maintain facilities/processes that will adequately address the
current and future fire protection needs of their communities.
The typical mission of the Fire Service is to provide public safety services in the
form of fire suppression and prevention, emergency medical services, and other
1


emergency response situations that may arise in a given community. It is a service
that most communities have come to expect. It is a service that the community
requires to operate efficiently while maintaining the same level of standards and
professionalism as the community grows in both physical size and population.
Communities in Western Colorado are no different.
Western Colorado communities have been rapidly growing both in physical size
and in population numbers since the early 1990s. With that growth came a
multitude of difficult issues that has and still is challenging the respective Fire
Service agencies in those areas.
Western Colorado Fire Service issues as they pertain to urban planning are
constantly in need of evaluation as a community grows. Some of those issues may
include personnel needs, the ever changing role of the firefighter, the increasing
demand for service (fire, EMS), adequate public education, appropriate station
placement, interagency cooperation, population densities, land use locations and
intensities (residential, commercial and industrial), residential growth, urban/rural
interface, infrastructure needs, the availability of fire flows and the adoption of
various fire codes.
It is imperative that the Fire Service and the Community Development Departments
of those communities throughout western Colorado work together to address the
challenges that future urban growth and development will present.
The Purpose
The primary purposes of this project was to (i) identify what are the urban planning
related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measure effectiveness of
current & future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorados western
2


slope communities as they grow and develop, and (ii) make policy
recommendations and determine if a model plan can be established to assist those
communities when integrating fire service needs with community development
desires as that change takes place. In short, the goal of the project was to analyze
how the various western slope communities and their respective fire departments
attempted to adequately meet the challenge of providing appropriate and effective
fire protection service as their communities continued to grow.
The research project identified ISSUES that fire officials deemed critical when it
came to evaluating level of service (LOS) standards in their jurisdictions as the
community grew in land area and population. The identification of ISSUES was left
completely open and to the discretion of the organization that was interviewed.
Once ISSUES that were important to the respective fire departments were
identified, the research then went further by attempting to determine what were the
THRESHOLDS associated with those identified ISSUES that would trigger the local
fire service to actively address level of service (LOS) standards i.e. what would
prompt the placement of a new fire station in a particular area or what fire flow
(water) or alternative fire protection plan would be needed to approve a new
residential subdivision on the fringe of the municipal boundary?
The project provides three final products:
(1) Research information that identifies level of service standards utilized by
a diverse set of western slope fire departments which measure the
effectiveness of current and future services as their communities grow
and develop.
(2) Development of a set of policy recommendations that deal directly with
growth related pressures.
(3) Determine if there is enough information that would indicate that a
model plan could be established to assist those western slope
communities when integrating fire service needs with community
3


development desires as that change in physical and population growth
takes place.
Research Content
Chapter one introduces the topic, main question and purpose of the project.
Research methodology is discussed in detail.
Chapter two discusses community dynamics, urban geography and urban
development patterns as well as the fire service in general and its role in Western
Colorado.
Chapter three contains the review of relevant and available information associated
with fire service needs as a community grows and culminates with the identification
of the three main ISSUES that the researcher determined must present in order to
effectively meet current and future service level demands. Those ISSUES are
internal strategic planning, deployment, and involvement in community wide
development review and long range planning processes.
Chapter four introduces the reader to the five western slope communities involved
in the research. A summary of five focus interviews with Fire Chiefs from the City
of Grand Junction, City of Montrose, City of Delta, City of Glenwood Springs and
the Town of Breckenridge have been presented that provides the reader with a
view of the fire departments existing conditions, philosophies and policies as they
relate to urban planning. Focus interviews were conducted in an attempt to identify
what were the critical ISSUES in their jurisdictions when it came to determining if
level of service standards were adequate and appropriate. The research then
attempted to discover specific THRESHOLDS that were associated with the
identified ISSUES as well as discuss matters that the fire service officials felt were
4


possibly unique to the western Colorado. Each section concludes with a review of
the communities adopted comprehensive plans.
Chapter five is an assessment and break down of the information that was
obtained during the focus interviews. The assessment focused on how well the fire
service organizations integrated with local community development departments
via plan review, development review and long range planning. The chapter further
analyzed ISSUES, THRESHOLDS and INTEGRATION as a whole in an attempt to
identify level of service needs and gaps. Lastly, the analysis concludes with policy
recommendations.
Chapter six encompasses the project conclusion and a determination as to if it
would be logistically possible to draft an urban fire service model plan for agencies
on the western slope of Colorado. A brief discussion called Whats Next"
concluded the chapter which discussed potential projects that might be utilized to
determine how the topic could be expanded and researched further.
Research Methodology
The project will transgress though six steps (i) Listing of assumptions that guided
the research analysis, (ii) A literature review of current standards, guidelines,
regulations, research and other available material associated fire service levels of
service (LOS) at a national, state and local levels when applicable (iii) Focused
interviews were conducted with various community fire officials on the western
slope in an attempt to ascertain critical information and the identification of key
issues, (iv) Community site visits when practical were conducted, (v) Data
collection in the form of primary and secondary sources, (vi) Policy
recommendations were drafted and integrated into the report that addressed
whether LOS guidelines identified were thought to be sufficient or if they could be
5


improved upon and how western slope communities can affectively meet or attempt
to meet those desired goals as their communities grow in population and in
physical size.
Assumptions
One assumption that can be made from the previously stated information is that
Fire Departments in western Colorado communities will experience an increase for
calls for emergency service (fire suppression, EMS, rescue) as their cities and
towns grow in population and physical size and as citizen expectations of the fire
service change and even expand. A second assumption is that it will increasingly
be more difficult for the fire departments that serve those western slope cities and
towns to adequately meet widely accepted emergency response-times and
development standards established by the NFPA and ISO if those communities do
not take those fire service guidelines into account when creating and administering
community comprehensive and growth plans. If low-density and/or leap frog
development continues without an interagency plan adopted which takes into
consideration the ability of the fire service to meet community needs, it would likely
be difficult to meet the ever growing challenges that present themselves to the fire
service as the communities grows.
Literature Review
Literature review of available current standards, guidelines, regulations, research
and other available material associated with fire service levels of service (LOS) at a
nation, state and local level has been conducted and evaluated. The literature
review started with widely recognized guideline/assessment documents associated
6


with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Fire
Administration. See the bibliography section of this report for more information.
Some of the critical documents that have been reviewed are:
NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire
Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and
Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments (Note:
NFPA 1720 has similar standards for all volunteer organizations).
Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (National) completed by
the USFA and NFPA.
Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (Colorado) completed
by the USFA and NFPA.
Various articles and books associated with low-density development
and the term sprawl.
A multitude of relevant governmental planning related documents
consisting of comprehensive plans, community growth plans,
strategic plans, land development codes, etc.
The literature review provided a basic understanding of the terms, concepts,
issues, guidelines, and regulations that are critical to the Fire Service nation-wide.
The information obtained from the reviews and case studies have provided an
invaluable insight into how the US Fire Service measures their effectiveness and
how they plan on improving service levels if needed.
Focused Interviews
Focused interviews were conducted with Fire Chiefs from the cities and towns that
were apart of this study in an attempt to ascertain critical information and the
identification of key issues. The interviews centered around five main themes
which have been identified below:
7


Introduction to the Fire Department.
Deployment
Planning for Development
Issues and Thresholds
Uniqueness to Western Colorado
Community Site Visits
Five communities located in western Colorado were selected to be apart of the
research study.
Figure 1.1 Map of Colorado (State of Colorado Website)
Community site visits when practical have been conducted. Communities that have
been identified as being included in the study are the City of Grand Junction (Pop.
8


44,693), City of Montrose (Pop. 14,771), City of Glenwood Springs (Pop. 8,475),
City of Delta (Pop. 8,064) and the resort Town of Breckenridge (Pop. 2,663) and
have been included because of their location on the western slope of Colorado,
their population statistics and due to the likelihood of relevant data being available.
For the purposes of this study, Grand Junction was considered a large community,
Montrose a medium sized community and Delta a small community. Because the
western slope is dotted with a multitude of resort towns, it was determined that the
Town of Breckenridge, which functions as a ski resort, would be included in the
study. The City of Glenwood Springs was chosen to be apart of the study sample
due to it being considered both a typical small size community as well as a
significant tourist destination.
Data Collection
Data collection is in the form of primary and secondary sources. Primary source
data include information obtained from focused interviews, photos, and site visits.
Secondary data includes information and statistics from the U.S. Census, U.S. Fire
Administration, National Fire Protection Association, Insurance Services Office, and
research conducted by various other governmental, collegiate and private
organizations.
Policy Recommendations
Policy recommendations have been drafted and integrated into the final phases of
this research project. This analysis includes a determination as to whether or not
the researcher believes a model plan can be established in the future that would
integrate fire service needs with community development desires.
9


CHAPTER 2
PREPARING FOR COMMUNITY GROWTH
The western slope of Colorado consists of twenty two counties. It is an expansive
land area located west of the continental divide and stretches to the Utah state line.
Its mixture of settlements and pastoral agricultural fields coupled with the many
well known natural landmarks of the American west resemble the finished work of
an artists canvas when viewed upon from aircraft, vehicle or on foot.
Figure 2.1 Rural Landscape of Mesa, Colorado
Natural wonders like the Grand Mesa, San Juan Mountains, Colorado Canyon
Country and the Colorado River are scattered about the high-country desert region
10


serving as recreational oasis for the local residents and the many tourists that visit
the western slope each year. Treasured national parks such as the Black Canyon
of the Gunnison, Colorado National Monument, and Mesa Verde are abundant in
the area and call upon the local residents and visitors alike to explore, photograph
or just stand in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds them. But just as natures
landscapes contribute greatly to those memorable settings, so too does the man-
made built environment of the rural communities, towns, cities, and resorts that are
scattered across the spectacular western slope country side.
Western Colorado would likely be considered a rural area by most Coloradoans if
you ask them. That is because at first glance agriculture seems to visually
dominate ones first impressions, but the region is unique in that it also boasts its
very own metropolitan area. The City of Grand Junction with its 45,669 residents is
the center of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area which is the 5th
largest MSA in Colorado having an estimated population in 2003 of 124,676
residents according to the United States Census and the Colorado Department of
Local Affairs (GJ Economic Partnership 1). Much of the Grand Junction MSAs
population is concentrated in unincorporated areas of Mesa County exhibiting
significant land development related growth pressures outside the city center and in
many cases, the urban growth boundary. Grand Junction is the largest settlement
between Salt Lake City (Utah) and the City of Denver (Colorado), roughly a 250
mile radius. The city serves as a regional health, banking, industrial and retail
center for most of western Colorado and large portions of eastern Utah. But there
is more to the western slope than this isolated urban center. The term rural is still
a pretty good fit when it comes to describing most of what western Colorado has to
offer. The region exhibits a large scattering of unincorporated settlements like
Gateway, small towns such as Delta, medium sized cities like Montrose and
Glenwood Springs and a multitude of world-class resort-towns such as Aspen, Vail,
Telluride and Breckenridge.
11


Many of those cities, towns and communities, although set in a rural western
landscape, have taken on an urban feel, even if that urbanity is somewhat limited in
scope when compared to what most would perceive to be truly urban". Residents
and visitors a like have been attracted to the region based on its desirable quality of
life attributes less traffic congestion, a small town feel with urban amenities,
relatively affordable housing, employment opportunities, outdoor recreation, large
amounts of federal lands, national parks, wide open spaces, moderate to mild
climate, spectacular views, and close proximity to world class vacation resorts.
Thus, it has not been a surprise to see that the western slope has been steadily
feeling the pressure of population growth for several decades.
The State of Colorado loses agricultural lands at a rate of 250 acres per day
(nationally its at 11,300 acres per day). Colorados western slope, particularly the
tri-river region consisting of Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Ouray Counties, is
considered to be home to some of the states most valuable farmlands (e.g. fruit
orchards, wineries, sweet corn). The organization known as the American
Farmland Trust (AFT) has targeted the tri-river region of western Colorado as being
an area where agricultural lands are seriously being threatened by urban growth
(American Farmland Trust website).
The study entitled How Policies Affect growth and the Cost of Services in Delta,
Mesa, Montrose and Ouray Counties, Colorado specifically analyzed data in a
manner that would provide insight in how land use policies might influence
development patterns in those areas. Costs associated with local governmental
services were also a significant part of the research as it provided an in depth look
at the projected costs associated with the various development patterns studied in
the land use model. The models business-as-usual scenario concluded that
100,000 acres of open space and 23,000 acres of farmland would be consumed by
development at low densities and at high costs to local governments in the region.
The cost of service analysis segment in the study concluded that the alternative
12


development strategies identified (e.g. urban growth areas, land protection and
rural clusters) likely yielded a more efficient fiscal response when it came to the
delivery of services and could save local governments millions of dollars over the
business-as-usual scenario (American Farmland Trust website).
Figure 2.2 Agricultural Field in Montrose County
The study was important in that it not only discussed growth's impact with regard to
the loss of agricultural lands and open space, but also hinted that higher service
costs would result as development growth expanded into the rural landscape
resulting in a significant impact on the delivery of services in Western Colorado.
Although, low density sprawl and an increase in population are not necessarily
synonymous when it comes to assessing community growth, an increase in
population does present challenges to western slope communities when it comes to
how they will try and manage the areas growth in terms of land use, densities and
development.
13


For instance, Mesa Countys population between 1990 and 2000 grew at a rate of
24.8%. This increase in population placed Mesa County in the top 10% of counties
nationwide as it pertained to population change. It has been projected by the
Colorado Department of the Local Affairs that Mesa Countys population alone
(excluding other portions of the western slope) will increase to about 224,820
residents by the year 2025 (Mesa County Website). If that projection were to come
to fruition, the communitys population as it is today would nearly double bringing
with it a increase in traffic congestion, more households, greater amounts of
commercial/industrial developments, and if business-is-as-usual a likely increase in
low-density residential development patterns that stress the community's ability
administer adequate services (i.e. fire protection).
It is reasonable to conclude that other western slope communities will also see a
significant rise in population change as the future draws near and the regions
secrets are revealed to more and more individuals who wish to relocate in order to
attain a higher quality of life. That change in population will likely bring a set of
diverse residential development patterns, changes in economic strategies, new
commercial and industrial developments and extra demands on government,
infrastructure, facilities and emergency services such as police and fire protection.
United States Fire Service
It is thought that basic fire protection first became an organized phenomenon near
the timeframe of 24 BC in Rome where night watches were organized to enforce
city-state regulations aimed at attempting to prevent damaging fires. From there,
as cities grew in population and land area, mercantile and residential areas of
historic settlements grew closer and closer together thus increasing the fire risk
(MFARS 105). The American Colonies were one of the first local communities to
set up what many call the fore runner of todays organized fire departments. New
14


Amsterdam (New York) is considered to be the first major colony in America to
initiate an organized attempt at firefighting. In the 1648, the colony appointed fire
wardens to inspect chimneys and issue fines should they violate established rules.
The colony later appointed a group of citizens to the Rattle Watch. When a fire
was observed, the individuals would shake large rattles and direct a citizen bucket
brigade (Hashagen).
Boston was the first colony to establish a fire department whose members who
were employed for fire suppression purposes and not just volunteers (MFARS 105).
In 1678, twelve men and a captain, name Thomas Atkins, were hired to form the
first organized engine company in colonial America. Captain Atkins is considered
to be the first firefighting officer in the country (Hashagen).
Todays fire departments and fire districts that make up the entire countrys fire
service are comprised of a multitude of different kinds of organizational structures
and membership types. The fire service organization can be in many forms and
are likely governed by federal, state, regional, county or local organizational
structures. Furthermore, they may consist of paid employees, volunteers or a
combination of the two different personnel types. This diverse composition, known
as the modern day fire service, serves our major metropolitan areas, urban city
centers, sprawling and not so sprawling suburban communities, compact rural
villages, rural agricultural hamlets and a great number of other settlement patterns
scattered throughout the United States. In addition, today's fire service is called to
action in unsettled or unpopulated areas in the United States that take place in
areas such as federal lands, national forests, treasured national parks, and on the
fringe of those previously mentioned human settlements.
According to the International Fire Chiefs Association, there are about 1.1 million
men and women serving in roughly 30,000 fire departments throughout the entire
United States fire service. The majority of those individuals, nearly 800,000 of
15


them, are considered to be volunteer firefighters serving their local communities.
The United States Fire Administration estimates that a fire department responds to
a fire in the US every 20.0 seconds. USFA reported that in 2003 the fire service
responded to 1,584,500 fire-related calls, Emergency Medical calls tallied at
13,631,500 and Hazardous Materials/Other Hazardous related incidents accounted
for 1,010,000 calls for service. Additional reporting statistics from the USFA in
2004 indicated that there were 3,900 civilian deaths and 17,785 citizen injuries as a
result of fire. Fire-related incidents killed more people than all of the natural
disasters that year combined. Direct property loss in association with fire-related
incidents was totaled at about $9.8 billion in the United States that year (USFA
website)
According to the book Managing Fire and Rescue Services published by the
International City/County Management Association (pp105-106), the universally
accepted main goal of the modern day fire service is to protect the community from
the uncontrolled fire and that local circumstances contribute the most when it
comes to completing its main mission of protecting life and property from fire
related incidents. The modern fire service not only deals with urban fire
suppression efforts, but also responds to emergency medical incidents (EMS),
hazardous material spills, wildfire suppression, conducts code enforcement
inspections, engages in technical rescue efforts, conduct fire investigates as to the
origin and cause of those incidents and as of recent, as a result of the September
11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, be an all-hazards, all-risk response
entity" (IFCA).
Research has indicated that the most critical criterion in which Fire Service
agencies in the United States measure their level of service is by analyzing
response times to emergency calls. In general terms, response time is typically
thought of as the time when an emergency call for service is initiated to when the
emergency service provider arrives on scene. Several organizations, including the
16


National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Insurance Service Office
(ISO), have identified widely accepted response-time guidelines which many fire
service agencies across the country strive to meet. The National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) is a nonprofit membership organization consisting of over
75,000 members worldwide whos mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of
fire and other hazards on the quality of life by developing and advocating
scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training and
education"(HFPA website). The NFPA defines the term Response Time" as the
time that begins when units are en route to the emergency incident and ends when
units arrive at the scene (NFPA 1710). The Insurance Service Office (ISO) is an
advisory organization based in the northeastern portion of United States and serves
the property and casualty insurance industry by providing inspection services and
statistical analysis assessments among other services. By utilizing a Fire
Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), the ISO assigns communities rankings
(Public Protection Classes 1 [Best] to 10 [Worst]) typically based on various fire
service capabilities (water distribution, department equipment, etc.) and the ability
to meet emergency response times.
The local fire departments ability to meet strict timeframes with regard to response
times becomes a critical issue when looking at how a community deals with its
population and land area growth. It is imperative that local fire service needs are
considered and addressed when growth plans are adopted and land use
development has taken place. This requires a seamless integration of interagency
dialogue and public policy planning in order to accomplish well-planned
communities where local fire department level of service standards are not
diminished due to community growth, but rather, are enhanced as the locality
expands in both population and land area in a responsible manner.
17


Community Growth and the Fire Service
Urban development consumes rural land at a projected rate of 5 million acres
annually in the United States. Much of the development is considered low density
and there is concern that the growth is not being managed properly. If the current
rate of development continues, it is thought that nearly 100 miles of all the privately
owned land situated around each of the country's metropolitan areas will nearly be
developed by the year 2040. Facility and service costs for these low density areas
are expected to be high as services cost between lower density development and
mixed density developments can be in excess of $50,000 per dwelling unit (ICMA
PLGP 398).
Figure 23 Low Density Development in Grand Junction
One significant issue that both the fire service and community development
agencies have been wrestling with since World War II has been the concept of
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urban sprawl". According to the report entitled Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact:
The Character and Consequences of Metropolitan Expansion, sprawl has been
defined as the process in which the spread of development across the landscape
far outpaces population growth. One of the four dimensions of sprawl indicated in
the research project was the issue of very spread out low-density development
patterns on the exterior fringes of urban centers (Ewing; Reid; Pendall; Executive
Summary).
These less densely populated developments have the potential to both directly and
indirectly place substantial fiscal and level of service burdens on local governments
when it comes to providing the necessary infrastructure needed to maintain a safe
and healthy community (i.e. desired fire service response times). Infrastructure
costs for low-density subdivisions can rise to as much as twice the amount that
would be needed for a more traditional, compact development closer to the urban
core (Livingston; Ridlington; Baker 5). Identified characteristics of a sprawling city
might include, but may not be limited to low density development in an unlimited
outward expansion often dominated by the need for automobiles for mobility, leap
frog development, and a lack of clustering, mixed land uses and urban-village like
centers. Its a process of fragmentation in that large tracts of land are separated
into smaller pieces to accommodate societys need for cheaper, more private lands
with a view. Most of the time that piece of perceived paradise is located on the
fringe of a rural town or large city, on mountain sides or along streams and
wetlands. As a result, development is no longer compact; there is limited means of
delivering expected services because a patchwork of expansive development
coupled with open undeveloped spaces are now dominating the landscape.
(Campoli; Homestone; MacLean 66).
Such spread out low-density development can significantly hinder a communitys
ability to locate needed fire stations in appropriate areas that would meet desired
emergency response-time standards dictated by the NFPA and the ISO. It is
19


evident that community development practices in the form of local policy,
community interactions, zoning and private development can detrimentally impact
the fire service's ability to adequately meet their own desired response-times.
Public policy when it comes to land use must take into account the needs of the
local fire service to effectively and efficiently deliver services if community planning
is ever truly going to be considered a success based on the idea that urban
planning is there to see to the health, safety and welfare of the community. Sprawl
can cost the taxpayers more money when development is allowed to take place on
or beyond the fringe of a city (special governments such as fire districts are also
affected) (ICMA PLGP 389).
It is readily accepted that one of the main goals of urban and regional planning is to
unsure that adequate facilities and services are present when new development
takes place in their community. A fundamental tenant of planning is development
should be permitted only where it can be accommodated by key public facilities and
services. (ICMA PLGP 389). In order to determine if facilities and services are
adequate, the governing entity should embark on a study that would establish a
base line revealing a set of level of service (LOS) standards. Such standards can
be maintained and used to effectively measure if a proposed development meets
realistic and accepted community desires. LOS standards assist the modern day
planner with coordinating and conducting a comprehensive look at the new
development by evaluating existing capacities, projecting future needs and
determining fiscal costs (i.e. the number of fire stations in a given response area).
(ICMA PLGP 390).
In June of 2003, the president of the NFPA, James M. Shannon, testified before the
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee of Science, at which time he advised
that the shortage of fire stations throughout the United States was one of their
organizations greatest concerns when it came to providing emergency services.
Shannon remarked, at least 65% of our nation's cities and towns don't have
20


enough fire stations to achieve the widely recognized ISO response-time
guidelines. Those guidelines recommend that first-call companies in built upon
areas of the city be located to ensure travel distances within 11A miles. That
guidance is consistent with the requirements of NFPA 1710 that firefighters
respond within four minutes, 90% of the time." Shannon stated that an estimated
25,000 to 35,000 career firefighters are needed to staff the number of fire stations
that would be required to meet the accepted response-time guidelines. Shannon
cited the troubling findings indicated in a recent December 2002 study on the US
Fire Service (NFPA Article).
A needs assessment of the US Fire Service study conducted by the NFPA on
behalf of the United States Fire Administration had revealed that nationwide, an
estimated three-fifths to three-fourths of all fire departments had too few fire
stations to meet the maximum response distance guidelines as identified by the
Insurance Services Office (ISO) and simple models of response distances
developed by the Rand Corporation. Furthermore, the national study revealed that
an estimated 83.9 million people (29% of the US population in 2001) were
protected by fire departments that did not provide some form of plan review and
128 million (45%) people were protected by fire departments that did not provide
permit approval (USFA Needs Assessment Executive Summary). Station location
and response time statistics specifically pertaining to the State of Colorado have
not been developed according to a similar statewide needs assessment report
prepared by the NFPA in June of 2004.
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CHAPTER 3
THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE TOOL BOX
A Rapid Response to Emergency Incidents
The critical difference between a small, easily controlled fire and a large fire that
threatens to destroy an entire building is time (MFARS 121). The term utilized by
fire departments to measure the time it takes to respond to an emergency call for
service is referred to as response time. The key word in that important phrase is
time. We have all heard the statement time is of the essence and when it
comes to the fire service that is an absolute. Time is of the essence when it comes
to rescuing a trapped motorist at an automobile accident, when a medical patient
needs life saving treatment or when it comes to effectively battling structure fires.
To understand how important time is when it comes to fighting fires, one must
understand the science behind how a fire migrates throughout a room and
eventually an entire structure. When a room is engulfed by fire it will naturally
progress through a three stage sequence of development. The first phase is the
incipient stage, otherwise known as the growth stage. It starts at the moment in
time when the fuel source ignites, but the fire remains localized. At this stage, the
fire is fuel regulated and not totally reliant on oxygen within the room. It is a
situation where the fire propagation is not regulated by the available oxygen but by
the configuration, mass and geometry of the fuel itself." The heating process
known as convection causes a plume of hot gases to rise to the rooms ceiling
where if the right conditions exist, causes an up and outward spread of the fire
within the room (NFA Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-10).
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The second phase is known as the free-burning stage. It is where the fire
develops and becomes more intense due to the consumption of fuels located within
the burning environment. Hot smoke and gases migrate toward the ceiling and
then begin to gravitate downward once again through the radiation heating process.
The temperatures at higher levels in the room near the ceiling are extremely hot.
Lower levels also increasing become hotter and eventually other fuels reach
ignition temperatures and ignite. This migration of heat and gases in a room can
result in a much larger, hotter fire known as flashover if fire service resources are
not present on scene to prevent it from happening or to stop it from spreading (NFA
Fire/Arson, SM 2-9 thru 2-10).
The event known as flashover is when a room and its contents are completely
engulfed by fire. It can occur within six to ten minutes. Flashover consists of the
upper layer in a room reaching a temperature of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit
ultimately resulting in the ignition of all fuels (contents such as furniture, books,
etc.) in the entire room. This circumstance places life and property located in that
environment in a situation where survival is unlikely. Once flashover has occurred
in a room, generally the entire structure will follow suit shortly thereafter and
become a fully involved fire. This will require additional resources in the form of
personnel, equipment and apparatus to carry out the strategy needed to
successfully combat the blaze and to prevent the destruction of life and property
(NFA Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-10).
The final phase in the development of a fire is called the smoldering stage. It is
when oxygen levels have been reduced to below 15 percent due to containment or
the fuel in the room has been entirely consumed by the previous fire stages (NFA
Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-10).
A fires development though the incipient, free-burning and smoldering stages can
be quite rapid. It depends greatly on fuels, oxygen availability, and the heating
23


process that is present (i.e. convection, radiation, conduction). Because there are
many factors that contribute to how rapidly a fire spreads throughout a building or
area, it is imperative that the fire department take no chances when it comes to
their deployment as a quick response time is critical when it comes to preserving
life and property. Because flashover in a fire can occur very rapidly, the best way
to combat the fires development is by limiting its spread. This can be achieved by
effectively deploying personnel and equipment as rapidly as possible in order to
conduct an aggressive primary interior attack as close as possible to the fires
origin (NFPA 1710, A.5.2.2.2.1).
A typical way of measuring response time for a fire department is to determine the
time that transpires between when the call is received by emergency dispatch to
when the fire department arrives on scene at the emergency, thus it is not a
surprise that the reaction of emergency service personnel (firefighters, dispatchers,
etc.) and actual drive time are significant factors that heavily contribute to overall
response times (MFARS 121). But there are more factors involved in obtaining
rapid response times than the immediate reactions of quality emergency service
personnel. It is reasonable to conclude that a number of factors can influence a fire
departments ability to deploy its resources during an emergency incident. For
instance, interagency cooperation between fire officials and community
development planners by means of development review processes and long range
planning are integral to the success of the fire departments ability to meet the
challenges presented by a growing community. Community development related
factors that can significantly influence fire department response times include, but
may not be limited to fire station networks, transportation corridor planning,
streetscape and road design, development patterns, zoning densities, suburban
sprawl, and development types and intensities. If the fire service can review
potential development projects prior to that land uses establishment in the
community, then impacts on levels of service can be lessened or at least
anticipated.
24


The literature review produced three major issues that can significantly affect the
fire departments ability to address level of service concerns as their community
grows in both population and land area. These issues have been deemed
important by the author due to their relationship with the urban planning profession.
Certainly, there are a multitude of issues which are important to the fire service,
however the three major issues identified overlap jurisdictional boundaries and
speak to the level of coordination that is present when it comes to the delivery of
community services. The three main ISSUES are internal strategic planning,
deployment and integrated community development review & long range planning.
Internal Strategic Planning
As communities grow and develop into urban centers, the general delivery of
services by the fire department becomes more difficult as resources can be
significantly affected if the department has not attempted to meet the needs of the
growing community. Maintaining appropriate staffing levels, building new fire
stations, meeting personnel training needs and purchasing new equipment and
apparatuses, can all be strained by the unintended pressures associated with
community growth such as an increase in call volumes, greater response times,
and a change in call for service types (i.e. hazardous materials, emergency
medical, etc.). The fire department must also be cognizant that competition for
available budget related funding within the governments organizational structure is
critical as well, as the fire department is likely not the only organization that would
be experiencing pressures to maintain level of service standards. The limited funds
must be dispersed accordingly as growing communities still need parks and open
space, police protection, roads and other utility services such as trash pick up,
water, and sewer.
25


The need to engage in the internal strategic planning process is crucial if the fire
department is going to deliver competent and effective service levels to their
growing community (MSARS 39).
According to the article entitled Strategic Planning: Q&A, written by Guy Boyd and
published in Fire Chief magazine, strategic planning is defined as a process of
questioning that channels us into critical thinking on important issues to improve
bottom-line service for our customers A strategic plan is a formal plan prepared
for a specific service which examines the current state of the service, future needs
for the service, and recommended means of meeting identified future needs (APA
Planners Dictionary).
It helps the fire department to prioritize issues that are important and organize a
response to effectively manage and implement solutions for those issues. This in
turn will eventually assist the fire department with the difficult task of maintaining
adequate levels of service as community dynamics, needs and cultures change
and evolve over time. Strategic planning allows the department the ability to use its
creativity and openness to move beyond what the department has always done to a
place that exhibits organizational growth and a forward looking perspective.
Because strategic planning reacts to mainly political trends, voter moods, citizen
welfare and organizational values it is considered a qualitative process for the
most part that is supplemented with appropriately used quantitative data collection
(Boyd).
According to the ICMA, a comprehensive attempt at a strategic plan should
encompass a three stage system of evaluation. The process includes the fire risk
stage, internal audit stage and the culmination stage (MFARS 39-40).
The fire department should first conduct an assessment of the communitys fire risk
which is an evaluation of a multitude of criterion including structure types and ages,
26


building construction, land use classifications, population statistics and water
availability. This is an important community assessment that serves as a visual
window for the fire department as to what existing conditions are present in their
locale and how they should logistically prepare to address matters of public
concern. The main goal of the fire risk analysis process is to determine how the fire
department will meet its objective when it comes to minimizing or reducing risk.
That issue can only be addressed by first assessing the community level of fire risk
and then compare the existing conditions exhibited to the level of risk the
community has identified as being an acceptable threshold. Identifying those
tangible thresholds is not an easy task, but can be accomplished by assembling
community stakeholders in the form of fire service employees, elected officials,
urban and regional planning professionals, citizen groups and local business
leaders. Each communitys will is different; each will decide what level of risk they
are willing to take when it comes to the expected delivery of fire department
services in their area (MFARS 39-40).
The second stage encompasses an internal audit of the fire departments existing
services. This is done in order to determine if current services are capable of
meeting community delivery of service expectations and to determine if
departmental resources and programs are up to par will existing conditions. The
audit entails a complete review of how the fire department at the time the strategic
plan was developed delivers services in the specialized areas of fire suppression,
fire prevention, code enforcement, public education, fire investigations and
emergency response (MFARS 39-40).
The final stage culminates in taking a comprehensive look at the strategic planning
process as a whole. The strategic plan is placed in official written format and
typically adopted by fire department management and/or the elected officials in the
applicable governmental body (municipality, fire district, etc.) (MFARS 39-40). A
written strategic plan typically includes sections on the planning process, existing
27


conditions, and the identification of goals and objectives which are followed up by
an implementation section that dictates how the goals and objectives are to be
logistically carried out.
The development of a fire department strategic plan often includes the SWOT
analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The assessment
analyzes the fire departments internal plans, programs, resources and overall
performance to discover the organizations strengths and weaknesses. The SWOT
evaluation then concludes with a PEST analysis of that looks at the communitys
political, economical, social and technological issues that may have a significant
affect on fire department policy and overall performance when it comes to
identifying opportunities and threats (MFARS 63-65). It is by this process that the
departments goals, objectives and implementation steps are identified.
Strategic plans should be reviewed and updated at an incremental time frame
established by the fire department in order to be certain that plan elements are still
applicable. This is can be done on an annual basis, every two years or every five
years.
Deployment
The fire department's internal strategic plan often times includes an element known
as the staffing and deployment plan. The deployment plan typically refers to the
desired arraignment of personnel amongst the service areas network of fire
stations in a manner that maximizes efficiency while delivering timely, effective and
organized emergency response services.
The resource book entitled Managing Fire and Rescue Services published by the
International City/County Management Association indicates that the basic
28


deployment concept for fire departments is for fire stations to be located to form an
orderly pattern or network of stations from which emergency service is delivered in
a timely manner" (MFARS 121). The network consists of several self-sufficient fire
stations and each serve as a base of operations in a designated coverage plan in
the service area. Rapid response times are the goal and are achieved by
maximizing efficient personnel activities and by traveling short distances to calls for
service. A thoughtful deployment strategy is vital to the over all success of the fire
department when it comes to achieving response time goals.
In a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, structure fire data
collected between 1994 and 1998 indicated that a rapid and aggressive interior
attack on a fire contained within the room of origin would significantly reduce the
loss of life and property. Civilian deaths were limited to 2.3 deaths per 1000 fires
when the event was confined to the room of origin, but jumped sharply to 19.68
civilian deaths per 1,000 fires when the event moved beyond the room of origin, but
remained on the same floor of the structure. If the fire progressed outside the room
of origin and beyond the floor of origination, then the civilian death rate per 1000
fires increase to 26.54. Typical structures in the study consisted of residential
single family, duplexes, multi-family units, hotels, and dormitories (NFPA 1710
A.5.222.1). Since flashover generally occurs in less than 10 minutes with the room
of origin and has the potential to result in a fully engulfed structured ultimately
increasing the potential for loss of life and property significantly, it is imperative that
the fire department be able to respond to an incident as rapidly as possible in order
to minimize fire loss.
In 2001, the National Fire Protection Association, after great debate between
community and governmental stakeholders, approved and issued NFPA 1710
(Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations,
Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career
Fire Departments). It became one of the first nationally recognized deployment
29


standards in the United States that dealt directly with fire suppression, emergency
medical and special operation responses. NFPA 1710 established minimum
standards that addressed emergency response delivery systems including
response times and staffing resources. A similar document, NFPA 1720, was
established for volunteer organizations.
NFPA 1710 (2004 edition) established the following response time objectives:
1. One minute (60 seconds) for turnout time.
2. Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of the first engine
company at a fire suppression incident and/or eight minutes (480
seconds) or less for the deployment of a full first alarm assignment at a
fire suppression incident.
3. Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of a unit with first
responder or higher level capability at an emergency medical incident.
4. Eight minutes (480 seconds) or less for the arrival of an advanced life
support unit at an emergency medical incident, where this service is
provided by the fire department.
NFPA 1710 called for a performance objective that required the fire department to
achieve the above-mentioned response time standards 90 percent of the time and
to evaluate deployment delivery service levels on an annual basis. NFPA 1710 is a
voluntary standard and is not required to be adopted.
Integrated Development Review
and Long Range Planning
An article entitled Growing Pains" published by Fire Chief Magazine in January of
2004, reported on a survey of over 500 randomly sampled fire chiefs, fire marshals
and commissioners from varied jurisdictional sizes in the United States which
asked a number of questions regarding service area growth and the effects that
30


development has had on the local fire departments ability to deliver services. The
survey also discussed development growth that was likely to occur within the next
three years. The article indicated that some troubling conclusions were derived
from the survey and without careful attention, long-term planning and adequate
funding, communities risk an alarming deterioration in fire protection, especially in
fast-growing areas. (McLaughlin)
The article advised that 73% of the fire officials surveyed indicated that growth
within the last three years was straining the fire departments resources and 71% of
the respondents stated that the community growth had taken place in areas of their
jurisdiction that needed improvements in water availability (e.g. mains, hydrants).
The article also indicated that 50% of the respondents reported that the community
growth had occurred in areas still needing a new fire station. Of those surveyed,
84% said their jurisdiction had experienced heavy or moderate community growth
in the last three years. About a third of the fire officials stated their communities
had annexed geographical areas that were once outside their jurisdiction; 41% of
which had nonexistent or inferior services prior to annexation. Lastly, the survey
results revealed that 37% of the fire officials who said their communities had made
annexations indicated the newly acquired areas challenged their ability to deliver
adequate services (McLaughlin).
When it came to future predictions, of those surveyed, 81% of the fire officials
stated that growth in the next threes years will likely stain departmental resources
further. In areas of reported heavy or moderate community growth, 90% of the fire
officials indicated the next three years would strain resources even more than
current growth pressures had already done. About 77% of the respondents stated
that community growth in the next three years will take place in sections of the
service area that had deficiencies when it came to water related infrastructure and
availability; 51% stated that the growth would take place in areas where the fire
department would need additional fire stations (McLaughlin). Clearly, community
31


growth is of great concern to fire officials of local jurisdiction as delivery of services
can be severely impacted should current and long term planning not be a
adequately addressed.
A complete assessment of development proposals and community plans are
required in order to address fire department concerns. The ability of the fire
department to review development proposals is critical if the department is going to
maintain or improve level of services to both the existing developed areas and the
ones that will soon be built within their service area. In order for the community as
a whole to benefit, complete and effective coordination must take place between
the fire department and other applicable planning organizations such as community
development, public works and utility companies when it comes to assessing
proposed developments. This coordination may stretch beyond jurisdictional
boundaries and may involve a number of entities such as local municipalities,
county governments, special districts and federal agencies. It is imperative that this
effort is made in order to ensure that adequate public facilities and services are
present at appropriate levels as determined by the local community when an
increase in population and development takes place.
The term development review is used to describe the formal evaluation of proposed
development projects by governmental organizations in order to determine if the
development meets applicable standards and to identify significant impacts the
proposed project might bring about. Projects that are typically reviewed are site
specific developments, rezones, final development plans, subdivisions, annexations
and administrative reviews (i.e. minor subdivisions, boundary line adjustments, and
residential site plans.) This is often, dependant upon complexity and scope, a
coordinated effort that allows the fire department to formally give comment on
newly proposed site specific development in their service area. This may come in
the form of attending official development review meetings with community
development staff or by receiving agency review packets that contain relevant
32


information such as subdivision plats, site plans, construction drawings and utility
composites that are specific to the project being proposed. By reviewing the plans
and proposals up front at the start of the project, the fire department can ensure
that required development criteria dictated by locally adopted fire codes can be
integrated into the final plans and eventually constructed according to standards.
Some typical site specific development standards that are of constant concern for
the fire service have to do with access points, fire flow, water availability, fire
hydrant placement, road width, site grading, and building construction types.
Since long range planning is critical when it comes to addressing future community
growth, it is also imperative that the fire service, like all utility and service providers,
play a significant role in the development of the communitys comprehensive plan.
According to the Planners Dictionary, published by the American Planning
Association, a comprehensive plan is the adopted official statement of a legislative
body of a local government that sets forth (in words, maps, illustrations, and/or
tables) goals, policies and guidelines intended to direct the present and future
physical, social, and economic development that occurs within its planning
jurisdiction and that includes a unified physical design for public and private
development of land and water (APA Planners Dictionary).
On a smaller scale, participation in area and neighborhood plans also serves as a
critical need as they are typically more manageable and act as plan implementation
steps much of the time. By taking part in such important processes, the fire service
will be able to responsibly coordinate with urban planning professionals in an effort
that first assesses an entire area or regions strengths and weaknesses; and then
culminates in the identification of goals, plans and implementation techniques that
will help the fire department adapt to change and address level of service concerns
as pressure from development expansion is guided in a responsible manner.
33


Taking part in a community-wide planning process will allow the fire department to
take a broader view of the growth that is likely to take place in a given area or
region within their jurisdiction. It allows the organization the opportunity to
proactively address level of service needs through the implementation of pre-
planning policies and procedures. This broader assessment of growth via the long
range planning process will help the agency look at the big picture when it comes to
evaluating the merits of site specific development by removing the narrow tunnel
vision that can come with reviewing a plan in the proverbial vacuum. Well thought
out and established long range planning goals, objectives and policies will assist
the jurisdiction when it comes to cooping with development pressures that may
threaten to diminish fire protection service levels in the urban center and the
outlaying urban fringe developments that would place a heavy burden on the
organization ultimately ushering in a significant increase in fiscal costs as well as a
need for additional fire department resources (i.e. personnel, apparatus). By being
apart of the long range planning process, the organization could identify community
thresholds that would provide insight into what response times are acceptable to
their community and the quantity and type of resources they would like to allocate
to the fire department. For instance, a deployment threshold that established
criteria for a new fire station in a particular area of need in the city could be based
on a number of factors including, but not limited to an actual increase in the number
of calls for service, an increase in response times, the type of development (e.g.
industrial, commercial) or a tangible household density calculation in the area. A
maximum threshold or benchmark could be set and adopted by the jurisdiction that
prompts responsibly managed growth while at the same time ensuring that
adequate levels of fire protection are available in the established city center and the
newly developed fringe.
34


CHAPTER 4
INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION
City of Grand Junction
The City of Grand Junction is situated in a large agricultural valley in Mesa County,
Colorado. First settled in 1882 near the confluence of the Gunnison River and the
Colorado River, the city has turned from an area centered on agriculture to an
actual metropolitan center that serves as a regional retail, educational, health,
industrial and recreational hub.
Figure 4.1 City of Grand Junction Downtown Area
35


The City of Grand Junction lies at an elevation of 4,586 feet above sea level and
sees roughly 24 inches of snow fall a year. The city is nestled in the Grand Valley"
and is surrounded by mountains and ridges that reach 10,500 feet above see level
at their highest. Local amenities include a regional trauma hospital, public
transportation, regional rail and air service, a major state college and a multitude of
entertainment venues. Natural wonders include the worlds largest flat-top
mountain, Grand Mesa, and the spectacular canyons of the Colorado National
Monument (Grand Junction Data Book).
The US Census Bureau listed Grand Junctions population in 1990 at 29,034
permanent residents. By 2000, that number had grown to 41,986 residents. It was
estimated that approximately 44,693 people called the City of Grand Junction home
in 2004. The City of Grand Junction is the center piece of the Grand Junction
Metropolitan Statistical Area. The majority of the MSAs residents reside in
unincorporated Mesa County and that area has seen a 1.5% increase in
population. In 2003, it was estimated that over 125,000 permanent residents were
located in Mesa County which includes statistics from the City of Grand Junction
(Daily Sentinel, Nov. 2004).
Grand Junction Fire Department
The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Rick
Beaty.
The Grand Junction Fire Department serves an estimated population of 75,000
people within a land area of about 84 square miles. Because the City of Grand
Junction serves as a regional urban, commercial and academic center, the
populations increase by additional 30,000 people at various times of the year. The
departments service area consists of mixed land uses that include mostly urban
36


and suburban land use patterns. Some rural areas exist in the service area, but
they are scattered and mostly considered small in size. The organization is a
municipal fire department (a department of the City of Grand Junction), but is the
emergency response provider by contract with the Grand Junction Rural Fire
Protection District which mainly covers unincorporated areas of Mesa County near
the citys edge. Most of the district is considered to be urban or suburban in nature
and is located within Grand Junctions urban growth boundary. A small portion of
the district located northwest of the city is outside the urban growth boundary and is
considered somewhat rural in nature.
Figure 4.2 GJFD Station #3
The Grand Junction Fire Department consists entirely of career personnel. There
are eighty seven (87) sworn and six (6) civilian staff members. According to the
Grand Junction Fire Departments latest annual report, the department responded
to a total of 7,703 calls for service of which 329 responses were strictly related to
37


fire suppression incidents in 2004. Another 6,189 calls for service dealt mainly with
emergency medical situations. The other calls for service addressed matters such
as hazardous material response, mutual aid calls, false alarms, etc. (2005 GJFD
Annual Report).
Deployment
The Grand Junction Fire Department has five (5) fire stations that are fully staffed
by fire fighting personnel over a three shift time period. The department has
identified the future need for additional fire stations in their jurisdiction via long
range planning, although budgeting and funds had not been secured at the time of
this research. The department has identified geographic regions where fire stations
may be slated to go in the future as the city grows in population and urbanization
expands. Those areas are located in the Pear Park neighborhood on the east side
of the city (an area of high rates of annexation) and the more industrialized area of
the city situated near the intersection of Interstate 70 and US Highway 6 & 50
(West). The departments long range planning efforts have identified an additional
location for a possible eighth fire station in the Appleton neighborhood area situated
northwest of Grand Junction. All of the areas identified with the exception of the
Appleton neighborhood are located in the citys urban growth boundary.
The Grand Junction Fire Department has an ISO rating(s) of 4/9. An ISO rating of
four (4) is in an area typically located within the urbanized portion of the jurisdiction.
The ISO rating of nine (9) is the current assessed rating for the remaining areas in
the service area and is mainly a result of water supply issues.
With regard to response time guidelines, the GJFD has not formally adopted NFPA
1710 (Deployment Guidelines), but does utilize the documents established
response time standards by acknowledging the document by reference. The
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department strives to meet those very stringent deployment standards, despite the
fact that they have not formally adopted NFPA 1710 officially. The Grand Junction
Fire Department does follow the performance standards set up for EMS responses
that were recently adopted by local government resolution.
As stated previously, the Grand Junction Fire Department as a whole has
historically exhibited a 6 minute response time (four or five stations involved
dependent upon when statistics were gathered). In the absence of an officially
adopted deployment standard such as NFPA 1710, the Grand Junction Fire
Department engages in an internal trend analysis study of response times. This
style of performance measurement, which measures and correlates personnel
hours, staffing levels, and response times trends, was developed strictly for the
Grand Junction Fire Department approximately twelve (12) years ago and the
analysis is still consistently utilized by the department in order to measure the
deployment effectives in the community.
The Grand Junction Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710
(Deployment Standards) because of a lack of current political/community will mainly
based on the fiscal burdens that the national standards would require of the
community (i.e. station distribution, high staffing level requirements, etc.) Although
the Grand Junction Fire Department has identified the need for and supports the
desire to have established deployment standards, they are currently concerned that
NFPA 1710 response standards have not resulted in the expected outcomes.
Planning for Development
The Grand Junction Fire Department is guided by the 2000 International Fire Code.
The comprehensive code addressed a multitude of development issues such as
39


access, fire flow and construction parameters for development projects that are
proposed and ultimately built in the service area.
The Grand Junction Fire Department has adopted an internal strategic plan that
addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the department will meet the
challenges a growing community, however the plan was written approximately
fifteen (15) years ago and its functionality and implementation strategies are
reportedly a bit disjointed due to the lack of element updates. Because 15 years
has passed, much of the plan is not applicable anymore because staffing,
resources, apparatus and departmental policy have changed. The Grand Junction
Fire Department is in the process of updating their strategic plan making it a
broader, more comprehensive document that will set current goals, objectives, and
action strategies to meet the community growth pressures that are currently
present and/or sure to come in the near future. In the new strategic plan, the
department plans to address personnel issues first, a thought-process that
indicates that personnel matters are the foundation of the services they provide.
One-third of the departments staff members (35 positions) will be fifty five years of
age or older by the year 2012. One hundred percent (100%) of the departments
current administration and command staff will fall within that category leaving the
department concerned over how they plan to replace that base of knowledge and
experience. Thus, training for department personnel in order to develop and
enhance staff skill sets will likely be an essential ingredient when it comes time to
draft the new strategic plan. Then, once the assessment of personnel issues has
been completed, the strategic plan will address level of service standards. The
strategic plan is expected to be completed in late 2006 and the goal is to review the
document annually to ensure progress updates are recorded and new strategies
are integrated.
The Grand Junction Fire Department is starting to explore the possibility of
becoming an accredited fire agency by meeting specific criteria as deemed
40


appropriate by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, Inc. The
department has determined that the accreditation process will be more effective in
helping them address community growth pressures than the Insurance Services
Organization (ISO) program that measures mainly resource related criteria (i.e.
water availability). The GJFD feels that the accreditation process takes a broader,
more comprehensive look at the entire organization and the community it serves by
assessing many different components of the overall system such as fire loss
statistics, suppression, prevention, hazardous materials and emergency medical
services just to name a few. It is the perception of the GJFD, that the accreditation
process forces fire departments to identify performance measurements which in
turn requires an improvement plan that can be used to guide the future of the
organization. The identified improvement plan, a set of strategies to help the
department improve service levels for a growing community, will eventually
integrate with or actually become the departments strategic plan. The
accreditation process ensures that those plans are revisited frequently in order to
assess the department's level of service standards and to correct any deficiencies
that may be identified.
The Grand Junction Fire Department is represented at development review
meetings with local city planning officials on a weekly basis in order to discuss fire
department requirements for newly proposed development projects in the area.
Typically, the fire department is concerned with development factors such as
access needs, street design standards, life safety matters and fire code
requirements. Topics of special interest are also discussed when such
development matters are brought to the departments attention. GJFD does not
regularly participate in development review meetings with the Mesa County
planning officials (unincorporated areas of the fire district). The fire department
does assess new development from both the City of Grand Junction and Mesa
County by reviewing proposed plans contained in agency review packets that are
sent to the department by the local planning organizations. Proposed projects
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typically come in the form of residential subdivisions, commercial developments
and multi-family residential plans. Issues that generally arise during the review
process tend to deal with construction standards such as sprinkler plans (require a
certification from engineer), fire door partitions, ingress/egress requirements, water
delivery systems, hydrant spacing and alternative fire plans.
The Grand Junction Fire Department does actively take part in community-wide
planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans, or neighborhood
plans. The fire department reports that they are afforded the opportunity to provide
an extensive amount of input when it comes to long range planning efforts. The
department takes part in community meetings, open houses, and comments on
plan drafting. It has been described as a good process. Station placement needs
and the effects that density has on level of service standards are just a few of the
key issues that have been identified by the fire department in the past during long
range planning efforts in the service area.
The fire department has not played a significant role in the development of Mesa
Countys community wildfire protection plan since the city has limited wildfire risk
with the exception of high vegetative areas along the Colorado River which dissects
the Grand Junction metropolitan area.
Issues and Thresholds
The Grand Junction Fire Department perceives that the community has seen
moderate growth as it relates to population in the last ten years, however their
service area has decreased in that time frame because a portion of the rural fire
protection district was discontinued when the Lands End Fire Protection District
took over emergency response activities in the remote Whitewater, Colorado area.
The fire department has experienced a gradual slowing in response times as
42


population density, traffic congestion and call volumes have increased in the
service area.
The main ISSUES that were identified by the completely career Grand Junction
Fire Department as being significant when addressing community growth concerns
are internal strategic planning, deployment standards and development review
standards.
The first and foremost ISSUE identified by the department was the need for a more
comprehensive strategic planning process previously discussed. While no tangible
threshold(s) were identified, the department has determined that they intend to
review the documents elements annually once the strategic plan update has been
completed in late 2006. The fire department has identified the updated strategic
plan as being central to their operations.
The second ISSUE identified by the department was deployment standards.
Although the Grand Junction Fire Department feels that the systematic
establishment of deployment standards might benefit the fire service as a whole in
general, there is some concern that those standards would not take in to account
matters of local concern or issues unique to any given community. Thus, a
standardized threshold with regard to response time has been established for the
department. Currently, the fire department utilizes the internal trending analysis
previously discussed. The tending analysis is dynamic and level of service
response adjustments are made by command staffs assessment of the
circumstances based on their training and experience. The fire department has
indicated that simply building new fire stations might not be the only answer to
response time deficiencies when they arise, but rather, deployment issues may be
addressed by re-assigning or obtaining new equipment and personnel to various
stations already having a set location in the network. For instance, a station might
be experiencing a high call volume in a particular area of the city. The impacts of
43


placing a second company at the existing fire station that is affected or utilizing
another station (overlap coverage) that is in close proximity to the area of increased
calls might be more efficient and fiscally responsible than actually building a new
station to accommodate the higher call volume. Although fiscal considerations and
efficiency are always of great concern, another important factor must be considered
when addressing deployment concerns and that is community sentiment and local
political will. The construction of new stations and the identification of acceptable
community response time standards are sometimes outside the control of local fire
departments because those factors are driven by community opinion and
consensus.
The third and final ISSUE identified by the Grand Junction Fire Department was the
desire to continue with the efforts to generally address development review
requirements as dictated by informal and formally adopted policies, guidelines and
codes. A tangible threshold was not identified, nor likely would one be applicable,
with regard to development review desires. The Grand Junction Fire Department
currently attends a multitude of development review meetings with city planning
staff and as well as consistently reviews agency review packets concerning new
development projects in both the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County.
Furthermore, the fire department is actively represented at long range planning
projects such as master plan updates and area neighborhood plans where
significant issues such as housing density, population density and land use types
(i.e. industrial, commercial, residential). The fire department supports community
development plans such as mixed use developments that intermingles different
types of housing types (e.g. single-family residences, multi-family) and diverse land
uses (e.g. light commercial, high density residential), although the department
suggests that light to heavy industrial uses should be distinctly separated from
other land use types.
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Unique
The Grand Junction Fire Department identified one ISSUE that they have deemed
to be a unique circumstance when it comes to their service area and in general,
western Colorado. The Grand Junction Fire Department is the largest agency on
the western slope serving the largest community between the City of Denver and
Salt Lake City. The City of Grand Junction would likely resemble a suburban city
on the outskirts of a major urban center if it were located in one of those two
metropolitan areas. But since its location is on the western slope of Colorado, the
City of Grand Junction is the regions urban center and the fire departments
service area resembles that of an island in isolation. The fire department must be
self dependent when it comes to delivering efficient emergency and fire related
services. Appropriate levels of equipment, personnel and other resources are a
must if the department is going to meet the needs of an ever growing, ever
changing Grand Valley population. It must be understood that mutual aid for any
given major incident if needed would be located far away and would have a
significantly long response time should the Grand Junction Fire Department require
additional support. With that in mind, the community should be cognizant that a
major incident such as a high-rise fire located towards the top of one of the citys
tallest structures, a large office building in the downtown area, would likely present
a significant challenge to the fire department both in terms of personnel deployment
(the incident would likely need the entire department), equipment/apparatus and
fire suppression strategy (limited water supply source). Because of the citys
isolation from other departments and cities of comparable size, the Grand Junction
Fire Department would have limited help for a significant period of time to meet the
challenge of such a high-risk, major emergency response event. The lack of a
significant amount of mutual aid availability, coupled with the City of Grand
Junctions existing built environment and isolation in rural western Colorado make
for a truly unique circumstance when it comes to planning for the pressures that
community growth has presented over the last two to three decades.
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City of Grand Junction Growth Plan
The City of Grand Junctions Growth Plan adopted in 1996 and last updated in
2003 has specifically identified service dilemmas due to a rapid urbanization of
unincorporated areas surrounding the City. In the 1980s, a significant amount of
population growth had occurred within the urbanized areas of Mesa County. The
unincorporated areas surrounding the City of Grand Junction had grown at a rate of
27% while the Citys population grew at a rate of 3.2%. Annexation of
unincorporated areas and interagency coordination with county and other service
providers (i.e. fire districts) were identified as being the two main issues that would
help the City alleviate the problem to an extent and help provide adequate urban
services in an equitable manner. (GJ Growth Plan 1-5).
According to the City of Grand Junctions community data book, the annexation
effort accelerated the Citys growth rate. Besides annexation techniques, another
key component of the Citys municipal growth plan was to development better
coordination with other agencies such as Mesa County and area special districts
mainly involved in water delivery, sanitation, and fire protection. A desire for
meaningful interagency coordination and planning of areas that will one day be in
the City of Grand Junction are an integral part of the growth plan as it will assist
planners with ensuring that patterns of development come about in a logical
manner that does not strain public facilities and services.
The Citys Growth Plan does an excellent job of identify pertinent demographic
information that will allow for a proper assessment of existing conditions as well as
projected conditions. The section called a Context for Planning provided an
overall analysis of the natural environment, the built environment and population
statistics (i.e. aging, employment, school, housing, poverty and household
populations). All three of the elements will have a significant affect on growth in the
area and will provide the City with a basis when it comes to determining adequate
46


levels of services delivery standards that will be needed to meet future demands.
Although identifying those issues are a first step in the process, the City has
determined that coordination with county and special districts is key to the overall
success when it comes to managing growth and the delivery of adequate services.
The only way that a comprehensive solution to growth related pressures can be
obtained is by sharing ideas and plans, developing common standards, creating
overlay districts, coordinating city/county reviews of proposed development and by
working together to maintain adequate levels of services (GJ Growth Plan 5-6)
A major issue identified by the City of Grand Junction was the ability to responsibly
manage community growth by working in a coordinated effort with Mesa County
and other service providers to prohibit the extension of services to developments
that do not adhere to the jointly adopted plans and regulations. It is the goal of the
growth plan to require that adequate public facilities and services are present or
can be present to serve a proposed development within the city or in the
unincorporated areas of the county. The growth plan sets policy that the City and
County will adopt consistent urban level of service and concurrency standards for
the following services: water, wastewater, streets, fire stations, schools and storm
water management. Since water distribution and fire protection goes hand in
hand, another policy was set up that states the city will develop and maintain a
supply of water and a distribution system that will meet existing and future domestic
and fire protection demands throughout the City's water service area (GJ Growth
Plan 20).
City of Montrose
The City of Montrose is located in the center of the Uncompahgre Valley near the
intersection of US Highways 50 & 550 in Montrose County, Colorado. Montrose
was first settled in 1881 and became an incorporated town in 1882. The City of
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Montrose is situated at 5,794 feet above sea level and sees little snow
accumulations in the winter months. The city is in close proximity to natural
wonders like the San Juan Mountains, Black Canyon National Park and the
Uncompahgre Plateau. The citys early years centered on agriculture and serving
various mining settlements in the San Juan Mountain region (City of Montrose
Website).
Figure 4.3 Development in the City of Montrose
According to the US Census Bureau, Montrose had a permanent population of
8,854 people in 1990, but that statistic had grown to 12,344 residents in the year
2000. The City of Montroses population as of 2004 was estimated to be at 14,771
permanent residents.
The Montrose region is considered to be the 18th fastest growing micropoliton
area in the United States. A micropoliton area as defined by the US Census
48


Bureau is a core municipality of 10,000 people but a regional population of no more
than 50,000 people. Approximately 36,000 permanent residents called the
Montrose area home in 2003 (Daily Sentinel Sept. 2005). The City of Montrose has
seen steady growth for many years since its incorporation, but now seems to have
embarked on a brisker pace with regard to community growth as new subdivisions
and commercial areas dot the once agricultural landscape.
Montrose Fire Protection District
The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Bob
Pistor.
The Montrose Fire Protection District serves an estimated population of 29,000
people within a land area of about 186 square miles (Fire Protection) and 1000
square miles (Emergency Medical Services). The district is considered to be
located in a mixed land pattern area which includes urban, suburban and rural
settings. The Montrose Fire Department consists of both career and volunteer
personnel. There are twenty two (22) career and twenty volunteer personnel (eight
volunteers are paid reserves who assist with staffing gap coverage). The
Montrose Fire Protection District has one (1) fire station that is staffed by six (6)
firefighters per shift (three shifts in all).
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Figure 4.4 MFPD Fire Station
Deployment
The Montrose Fire Protection District only has one fire station which is located in a
residential area near downtown Montrose, but the district is asking for two new fire
stations to be funded by mill levy in the upcoming local elections later in the year.
A citizens group in the locality is supporting the initiative. If approved by the
voters, the first fire station would be built and staffed within the next year, while the
construction of the second new fire station would be initiated in five years. The
proposed stations would be a welcome addition to the district and should help
alleviate response times that were greater than four minutes in coverage areas
outside the main urban core of Montrose.
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The department has an ISO rating of 5/10. An ISO rating of five (5) is in an area
typically within or just outside the city limits of Montrose. The ISO rating often (10)
is currently the assessed rating for areas in the rural portions of the district. The
average emergency response time for MFPD is estimated to be four (4) minutes
within the area considered to be Montrose proper and more than four (4) minutes in
areas outside of the City of Montrose. The Montrose Fire Protection District is quite
large and extends in some rural remote areas. For instance, a portion of the MFPD
extends clear to the south along Hwy 550 in Ouray County. Since MFPD has only
one fire station, it is not uncommon for a response time to exceed twenty (20)
minutes sometimes.
The MFPD has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Guidelines), but
does utilize the document's established response time standards as a best practice
policy. In the absence of an officially adopted response time standard such as
NFPA 1710, the MFPD has engaged in dialogue with the citizens group that
supports the construction of two new fire stations regarding their desired set of
response time standards. The citizen group reportedly would like a five-minute
response time standard established from both the current and future stations. The
MFPD has not recognized this proposed standard and the community is still
engaging in dialog regarding what response time standards are desired.
Planning for Development
The Montrose Fire Protection District is guided by two different formal fire codes,
one for the City of Montrose and one for Montrose County. The City of Montrose
utilizes the 2003 International Fire Code as well as the 2003 International Building
Code, while Montrose County uses the 1997 Uniform Fire Code and the 1997
Uniform Building Code.
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The Montrose Fire Protection District has adopted a district-wide strategic plan that
addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the district meets the
challenges that community growth pressures will present in the years to come. The
plan outlines a multitude of goals and objectives as well as strategy for addressing
each of those identified issues. The document serves as a guide for the
department and is reviewed and updated accordingly every two years. The current
strategic plan has identified several significant areas that need attention -
additional fire stations, address equipment/apparatus concerns, and the possible
likelihood of an organizational transformation to a completely career department
within 6 to 7 years.
A representative of the Montrose Fire Protection District regularly attends
development review meetings with planners from the City of Montrose on a weekly
basis in an effort to review newly proposed developments. The MFPD is not a
regular attendee of development review meetings with Montrose County planning
officials. The district does receive agency review packets from each of the
jurisdictions in order assess the development aspects of new projects in the area.
It would appear that the majority of the new development in the region is taking
place in close proximity to the City of Montrose and that leads to annexation
typically.
Development criteria that are of major concern to the fire district which is addressed
through the agency review process have been identified as access, hydrant
placement and in some cases, the type of land use proposed. Although the fire
district does not comment normally on land use and zoning matters as long as the
fire code requirements are met, sometimes the district plays a significant role as to
whether a project gets approval or not via the public hearing process. For instance,
in the past there have been a few large-scale industrial proposals in unincorporated
Montrose County which due to there rural location exhibited an extreme deficiency
in the availability of water. It was identified that should a major incident, or a minor
52


one for that matter, occur at the proposed industrial site, the lack of water
availability would have severely hindered fire department operations placing life
and property possibly at risk. The proposal for the industrial use was not approved.
In addition to subdivision plats, commercial site plans and industrial development
projects, the Montrose Fire Protection District also reviews construction plans for all
of the structures associated with those development projects (commercial
structures, multi-family structures, etc.) with the exception of single-family
residences and duplex style homes.
The Montrose Fire Protection District does actively take part in community-wide
planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans and neighborhood
plans. The fire district reports that they have been given the opportunity to make
comment on varied long-range plans in the region and utilize that time to address
future station placement concerns if warranted. The fire district also plays a
significant role when it comes to city annexations. A newly proposed annexation of
a 900-acre master planned community consisting of somewhat high housing
densities of mostly single-family residences was recently discussed with the project
developers and the City of Montrose. A small commercial component of low
intensity businesses was likely going to be apart of the project as well. A major
issue arose when the plan for the housing development indicated that one access
point for ingress and egress was proposed for the entire project. The fire district
made comment on the proposal stating additional access points were necessary
and have been in negotiations with the project developers in an attempt to secure
acreage for a future fire station because of the severe impact the development
would have on level of services. The annexation is proposed in an area where the
fire district has determined that response times could benefit from the construction
and staffing of a new fire station.
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The Montrose Fire Protection District has actively taken part in the drafting of the
Montrose community wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that discuss
significant community wildfire related issues that should be identified in the draft
plan. The plan has not yet been adopted and is being facilitated by the Department
of Emergency Management of Montrose County.
Issues and Thresholds
The Montrose Fire Protection District perceives that the community has seen heavy
growth as it relates to population and service area increases in the last ten years
when compared to the Montrose region of a decade ago. Although the actual fire
response district has not grown in the last decade, in 1999 the district took over
emergency medical services from a private company and expanded their response
area to roughly 1000 square miles. The fire district feels as though community
growth pressures in the Montrose area have significantly affected fire district levels
of service. One contributing factor is an increase in call volume. The fire district
has responded to 1,858 calls for service between January and September of 2005.
Of those calls for service, 304 of them (16% of the total) came at a time when their
district was already on another call for service. The district has determined that is a
significant trend that will likely affect staffing levels and response times and
warrants tracking for future evaluation. Another factor that the fire district has
deemed a significant indicator of growth is the amount of calls the district receives
in a day per month. For example, between September 1 and 22 of 2005, the
district experienced six (6) days when they responded to ten (10) or more calls for
service in a single day. The fire district also has deemed this analysis significant
and has started to track the information for evaluation purposes on a monthly basis.
The daily call for service analysis had not been done in years past.
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The main ISSUES that were identified by the Montrose Fire Protection District as
being significant when addressing community growth concerns are deployment
issues (stations and personnel), continued involvement in the entire urban and
regional planning process, transportation planning efforts, and internal strategic
planning. The district has determined that these levels of service ISSUES are
important because it is imperative that the fire district maintain effective and
efficient service levels as the community grows while also avoiding strains that may
negatively impact equipment, apparatus and personnel.
The first ISSUE identified by the fire district was the need to address new stations
and personnel matters as the community continues to grow at a rapid pace.
Obtaining permission to build new fire stations and staffing those stations are a
major priority for the Montrose Fire Protection District due to the increase in call
volumes that presently exist and the increase they are sure to see should the
areas population and development patterns expand. The district however has not
yet established a standardized threshold with regard to performance
measurements that would assist them with explaining the need for new stations
and personnel to constituents. As previously touched upon, the fire district
currently utilizes the informally adopted response time guideline of four (4) minutes
with regard to desired deployments standards. This response time standard serves
as a sort of best practices guideline for the district at the moment and is not
officially recorded in any district wide policy or standard. The fire district will be
exploring the need to establish formal response time standards when they update
their internal strategic plan and if the newly proposed fire stations and personnel
are approved by the local community.
The second ISSUE identified by the fire district was the ability to remain actively
involved in the entire comprehensive planning process with area community
development departments. The Montrose Fire Protection District did not identify a
particular threshold that would assist them with dealing with the growth of their
55


community, however the district felt the current review system worked well and that
they would prefer to at least maintain the level of review with regard to development
projects and community plans that they have currently. The fire district sticks to the
notation that it is imperative they are afforded the opportunity to discuss
development issues at the pre-planning stages to avoid problems and coordinate
fire service needs in the newly developed communities of the Montrose Fire
Protection District.
The third ISSUE identified by the fire district was the desire to become more
integrated into local and regional transportation planning efforts. The fire district
has just started to become more involved in the process. They meet with local
officials from a diverse set of groups (i.e. planning, public works, and police) about
every two weeks in order to review significant transportation issues that may have a
affect on level of service standards, particularly emergency response times. The
fire district provided an example by advising that a new beltway has been in the
discussing for the area that would essentially loop around various portions of the
city. However, preliminary plans for the beltway indicated that the thoroughfare
would cross actively used railroad tracks at approximately five areas, thus limiting
emergency service response times should a train be presently stopped or moving
thorough the Montrose area. The fire district felt their perspective on the matter
has contributed significantly to the community discussion being held on the Beltway
topic. Because of the important role transportation planning plays when shaping a
community and guiding development patterns, the fire district would like to remain
involved in the current process as well as maintain the two week meeting timeframe
as an interagency cooperation threshold.
The fourth and final ISSUE identified by the fire district was the need to consistently
review and update the district's internal strategic plan. The process is a dynamic
one and priorities often change as the local community within the service district
develops and expands. The fire district would like to maintain the current standard
56


of two years when it comes to reviewing and making adjustments to the internal
strategic plan for the Fire district.
Unique
The Montrose Fire Protection District did not specifically identify any ISSUES or
THRESHOLDS that were unique to their particular district or the western slope in
general; however the district did provide insight into how they perceive themselves
as an island on the western slope of Colorado when it comes to mutual aid
concerns. Major incidents, like with any fire departments across the United States,
present a significant challenge to the Montrose Fire Protection District when it
comes to deploying the appropriate amount of resources and personnel to combat
an emergency situation. Montrose is surrounded by the rural high county
landscape that typifies western Colorado and because of that rural setting, mutual
aid requests to help assist with a major incident in the Montrose region would have
to come from a significant distance. Grand Junction has the only major all career
fire department on the western slope and their response time to a mutual aid
request would be hampered by distance. The rest of the surrounding fire
departments in the tri-county region (Mesa, Delta and Montrose) are either all
volunteer or a combination of career and volunteer personnel. Although the
services of volunteers fire fighters are highly respected by the Montrose Fire
Protection District, the use of volunteers presents a significant challenge when
attempting to meet personnel deployment standards, thus relying on volunteer
organizations to answer the call for mutual aid with the needed personnel and
resources at times can be questionable due to staff shortages and other obligations
the volunteers might have to address. In essence, the district perceives that mutual
aid can be difficult to depend on due to their isolated geographical location and
other department situations with regard to staffing types and levels. Based on
those circumstances, the Montrose Fire Protection District strives to be self
57


sufficient as they must rely on their own resources to address matters of community
concern.
City of Montrose Comprehensive Plan
The Montrose Comprehensive plan, last revised in 1998, seems to generally take
an active approach when it comes to integrating fire services as an element of the
community based plan. In chapter three, policy 14, the document encourages the
establishment of coordination and cooperation among city departments and other
regional entities. A general policy statement encourages better coordination and
improved working relationships with other entities like the fire protection district so
that the citizens of the community benefit in a more positive manner (Montrose
Comp Plan 3-7).
Chapter six, the public facilities and services section, states the citys
comprehensive plan was put in place to ensure that future public facilities
development coincides with future population growth within the city. A major issue
that was identified by the plan as being deficient was that the number of fire
stations and fire personnel had not kept pace with growth in the area. As a result, a
general objective was established indicating that future growth would need to be
supported by adequate community facilities, including fire protection, in order to
serve proposed property types and project population densities. It became an
official policy of the City of Montrose that proper coordination with affected
agencies such as the fire protection district concerning plans for future municipal
growth would be required (Montrose Comp Plan 6-1). This statement would also
apply to coordination between city utilities such as the water department.
A specific goal listed in the Montrose comprehensive plan was to ensure that
adequate fire protection was available for all properties within the city limits. A
58


broad objective of this realistic goal was to strive to improve fire safety for all
residents and property owners by developing standards for water pressure and
storage and by coordinating development proposals which impact water services
with the fire protection district. In addition, the City of Montrose also made it a
policy to try and improve the communitys fire ratings and water service to areas
with industrial uses (Montrose Comp Plan 6-5).
The comprehensive plan provides a good general overview of the Montrose Fire
protection District. The plan reports that the existing fire station was of adequate
size as related to population statistics, but staffing levels were deficient when it
came to serving a community of Montroses size according to the National Fire
Protection Association. The plan indicated that response times were increasing
and adequate funding for staffing improvements were not available at the time the
plan was drafted. The city enjoyed a quick five-minute response time, but residents
outside the city limits saw a greater 18-minute response time. The City of Montrose
concluded that a quick response to an emergency in the city limits might be
unnecessarily delayed if the fire department had been dispatched to a call in the
rural area in the same time frame. The comprehensive plan identified that an
additional fire station would likely serve the community more appropriately and
efficiently. A fire service study conducted in 1994 identified two locations in the
community as being appropriate for the placement of future fire stations based on
calls for service and future development patterns. One fire station would be located
five miles to the south and another approximately five miles west of the city.
Funding for the construction of the stations had not been secured at the time the
comprehensive plan had been drafted (Montrose Comp Plan 6-10). An
implementation action program was established by the citys comprehensive plan
and indicates that the construction of a second fire station plus additional staffing
would be promoted within a one to two year time frame in order to meet safety
standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. A third fire
station for the district would be promoted in the six to twenty year time frame. The
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addition of two fire stations would be dependent upon the key participants like
citizen voters (i.e. mill levy), fire district official, as well as city and county officials
(Montrose Comp Plan 9-1).
City of Delta
The City of Delta is located in a large agricultural valley at the confluence of the
Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers in Delta County, Colorado. Delta is the county
seat and is center to the area's commercial and governmental services.
Figure 4.5 City of Delta Commercial Area
Known as the City of Murals, Delta boasts a large number of beautiful murals that
adorn the sides of old buildings in the city center. The City of Delta lies at 4,980
feet above sea level and is in close proximity to recreational opportunities in the
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Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests. The climate is mild in the area
as the average annual snowfall is limited to 16 inches. Agriculture is still a way of
life in Delta as the area is home to a multitude of orchards, wineries and other
agricultural operations (Delta Area development Inc Website).
The City of Delta had 3,789 permanent residents in 1990, but grew to 6,400
residents by the year 2000. Population statistics for the city were estimated to be
at 8,064 in the year 2004 (US Census). According to an article published by the
Delta County Independent in March of 2001, the entire county had an increase in
population of 33% between 1990 and 2000. According to that same article, the City
of Delta increased its population by an estimated 68.9% during that same time
frame.
Like much of the western slope, the City of Delta consistently sees in excess of 300
days of sunshine each year making the area a desirable place to live, work and
play. It is no wonder that community has seen significant population growth in
recent decades.
Delta Fire Protection District
The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Volunteer Fire
Chief Adam Suppes.
The Delta Fire Protection District serves an estimated population of 14,000
residents within a land area of about 236 square miles. The district is considered to
be located in an urban and rural setting. Limited suburban type development
appears to be located in the district. The Delta Fire Department is a completely
volunteer organization, including the Fire Chief, and has responded to 146 calls for
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service with regard to fire suppression and rescue efforts between August 2004
and August 2005.
Figure 4.6 DFPD Fire Station
The department does not have an EMS component and does not conduct formal
code inspections, but has on occasion taken part in informal inspections of daycare
facilities, schools, and assisted living centers when requested.
Deployment
The Delta Fire Department has one fire station and like many volunteer
organizations, the station remains un-staffed until a need arises that would require
personnel to be present. The department has an ISO rating of 6/9. The ISO rating
of 6 is perceived to generally cover the urban portion of the City of Delta, while the
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ISO rating of 9 covers the rural areas of the district. The average response time for
the fire & rescue responses is estimated to be at about 10 to 12 minutes due to the
districts size; however they have an 8 minute estimated response when it comes to
structure fires.
The Delta Fire Department has not adopted an internal response time guideline
that might take the place of NFPA 1710 (Response time guidelines).
Planning for Development
The Delta Fire Protection District has not adopted a formal fire code or any other
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards that could be used as a
guide to address community growth related concerns although personnel consults
NFPA documents as guidelines when needed.
The Delta Fire Department has not drafted or adopted a district wide strategic plan
or master plan that addresses community growth and internal department concerns
as to how the district might deal with growth related concerns. The perception
prevalent as to why the department has not drafted a strategic plan is a lack of
citizen and political will to move forward. Historically, Delta County has not entirely
adopted zoning and building codes that would addresses development (The City of
Delta does have zoning standards that must be met when development takes
place). There has been some discussion on the topic of hiring a possible fire
district director that would handle administrative duties such as strategic planning,
administrative processes and the adoption and administration of relevant fire codes
and standards.
The Delta Fire Protection District will attend coordinated development review
meetings with county and city planning authorities, but they attend those meetings
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only if requested and attendance is sporadic with the County of Delta and less so
with the City of Delta. The Fire Districts role at the development review meetings
when they do attend mainly deals with development criteria desires that address
access issues, turn radius for cul-de-sacs (i.e. 60 degree turn radius), and hydrant
placement (i.e. hydrant located at every intersection and/or within 1,000 feet of
each other in rural areas and no more than 500 feet from a property.)
The Delta Fire Protection District reviews and does comment on proposed
development projects in both Delta County and the City of Delta via agency review
packet information. The typical project reviewed by the district comes in the form of
subdivisions. Like in development review meetings, the district is mainly concerned
with development criteria associated access, turning radii, and hydrant placement
(fire flow is also a concern, however the areas fire flow is considered to be quite
positive based on the gravity fed systems including a 27 inch water line that comes
from the Montrose region providing a more than acceptable per-square inch (240
PSI) pressure). The majority of the agency review requests come from the Delta
County Planning Department, however on occasion they will receive a request from
the city to make comment on a particular project or for the pre-planning of hydrant
locations. The District may not be an integral part of the development review
process (meetings, agency review packets, etc.) due to their status as a completely
volunteer department and due to the fact that the district has not adopted any
relevant fire codes and/or standards. The district does not take part in construction
plan reviews, other than school reviews as they are required by the State of
Colorado to have the local fire department take part in the process.
The district has not taken part in major community-wide planning efforts such as
Master Plan Updates, Rural Area Plans, or neighborhood plans. It should be noted
that the City of Delta Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 1997 according to
city planning staff (Fire Chief Suppes has worked in that capacity for the last 2
years). The County of Delta has been actively working on a community wildfire
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protection plan and the Delta Fire District has been taking part in that planning
process by attending meetings and providing comments.
The District perceives that the community has seen moderate growth as it relates to
population and service area increases in the last ten years. The land area that the
district covers has grown an estimated 30 to 40 percent and calls for fire service
have steadily increased over the years. The district has attempted to deal with
these growth pressures by adding six (6) additional volunteers to the fire
department, however simply adding personnel has proven difficult because in a
volunteer environment it at times has been difficult to retain manpower at previous
levels let along with the additional crew members (i.e. # of volunteers, the time of
day, time of year, all appear to play a significant role in when a volunteer firefighter
can respond to call for service).
Issues and Thresholds
The main ISSUES that were identified by the completely volunteer Delta Fire
Protection District as being significant when addressing community growth
concerns in the district were not directly associated with planning related principles,
but did indirectly correlate with that process.
The first ISSUE identified by the district was the training and retention of qualified
volunteer firefighters. Due to staff shortages and volunteer turnover, the district
consistently believes it is playing catch up with regard to personnel retention
matters. Community growth will likely require additional personnel and retaining
current volunteers will be a significant priority for the district. The District does not
have a formal written standard or established threshold with regard to how much
staff will be required at a particular call for service, but they have informally
established a best-practice of twelve (12) volunteer firefighters needed to combat a
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rural daytime structure fire. This informal number was established by assessing
individual tasks that volunteer firefighters might need to accomplish during the
incident. Those tasks and corresponding staffing requirements are:
One firefighter per piece of apparatus at the scene.
One fire officer to direct at scene.
Two firefighter attack team.
Two firefighter back up team.
Water supply crews needed to address needs of water supply
shuttle operation which consist of tenders shuffling water from the
nearest hydrant to a reservoir tank that is attached to Fire Engine on
scene (staffing dependant operation size).
The second ISSUE identified was the ability to obtain a district administrative
director to assist the fire chief with matters such as departmental strategic planning,
the possible adoption of fire related codes and by dealing with the day to day
practical administrative matters of the district. A fire district threshold has not or
cannot be established to measure this need or performance.
The third ISSUE identified by the district was the desire to identify and adopt fire
related codes (i.e. NFPA standards, etc.) that can be utilized in the district to help
manage existing and future conditions in the district. A fire district threshold has
not or cannot be established to measure this need or performance.
The fourth ISSUE that was identified was the need for a separate substation in the
area that is referred to as North Delta. This station would not be a personnel
staffed structure, but would rather house useful fire suppression apparatus. The
district has not identified the need to staff the desired second station based on
perceptions that two separate locations when it comes to monitoring volunteer staff
would be more complex than managing those resources from one central location.
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However, the district has identified that if a substation was constructed in the North
Delta area, then apparatus would be housed there in an attempt limit high response
times and to assure that the fire equipment needed was readily available in the
region affected.
A final ISSUE that was discussed was fire flow criteria. Although in most areas, the
reported fire flow in the Delta Fire Protection District is at acceptable levels, the
department is still tasked informally with establishing fire flow requirements by
working with local community development departments. Through the subdivision
process, the fire district reviews plans and subdivision layouts in order to determine
if the identified threshold, an appropriate 6-inch water line, has been proposed and
where hydrants will be placed according to previously discussed location criteria
(i.e. intersections, 1000 feet apart)
Unique
The district did not identify any ISSUES or THRESHOLDS that were unique to the
Delta Fire Protection District or the western slope in general, however the water
supply shuttle operation was considered somewhat of a unique process that the
district often must employ to effectively and efficiently fight structural fires. Another
circumstance that is not particularly unique to either the fire district or the western
slope, but is considered unique to a their all volunteer organization is the district felt
that it had a sufficient amount of good quality apparatus and equipment because
the department could secure and guide funding towards the purchasing of such
equipment rather than spending significant sums of funding on full-time employees
(FTEs).
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City of Delta Comprehensive Plan
The City of Deltas Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 1997, although the
community is considering an update in the near future. The current comprehensive
plan as it relates to fire protection appears to be limited as the plan briefly
discusses emergency services as a whole by providing a few goal orientated
statements. The Citys Comprehensive Plan indicates that the goal is to ensure
rapid, efficient, and economical emergency services within the community and is
guided by playing an active role in the Delta County Emergency Planning
Committee. A desired set of actions associated with addressing community
growth concerns were identified and included statements that called for a reduction
in emergency response times, better coordination and participation in county-wide
emergency preparedness plans, and to review subdivision specifications with
emergency service providers. The comprehensive plan listed a generic statement
under the action section that read plan for growth of services as the City grows
and expands, however the document did not elaborate on the particulars that
would accomplish that task (Delta Comp Plan 28-29).
City of Glenwood Springs
The City of Glenwood Springs is located at 5,746 feet above sea level along the
Colorado River in Garfield County, Colorado. The city is situated on the west side
of beautiful Glenwood Canyon at the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 82.
The City of Glenwood Springs is within a short distance drive of two world class ski
resorts, Aspen and Vail. Glenwood Springs is considered to be in an alpine climate
as the area receives an average of 67 inches in snow annually. Because the city
serves as both a commercial center and resort town, it is well known for its retail,
recreational and cultural amenities. The City of Glenwood is surrounded by
spectacular Colorado scenery which draws thousands of visitors to the area each
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year to enjoy skiing at Sunlight Mountain, taking a dip in the hot springs pools,
hiking the local alpine meadows or simply fishing in the regions gold medal waters.
Figure 4.7 City of Glenwood Springs Downtown Core
The City of Glenwood Springs had a permanent population of 6,561 residents in
1990. In 2000, the resident population had increased to 7,736 and was estimated to
be at 8,475 permanent residents in 2004. During the 2000 census, the
municipalitys land area was 4.80 square miles and population density statistics per
square mile was 1,611 (US Census Bureau).
Glenwood Springs Fire Department
The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Michael
Piper.
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The Glenwood Springs Fire Department serves an estimated fulltime resident
population of 20,000 people within a land area of about 72 total square miles.
Figure 4.8 CSFD Station #2
Since the City of Glenwood Springs sees a significant amount of tourist visitors and
because it is the county seat of Garfield County, its population rises to about
30,000 visitors daily. The fire department is a municipal department of the City of
Glenwood Springs, but also serves an additional 64 square miles that
encompasses the fire district outside the city limits, much of which is located in
unincorporated areas of the county. The district is considered to be located in a
mixed land use pattern area which includes urban and suburban settings.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department currently employs 20 career sworn
firefighters and 1 civilian administrative assistant. The organization has 2 regular
volunteers and 7 reservists that supplement career personnel. The Glenwood
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to offset impacts caused by the development. After four years, the development
has not yet been built.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has an ISO rating of 4/9. An ISO rating of
four (4) is typically within areas where hydrants are present and water is more
readily available, in this case the urban core and surrounding areas. The ISO
rating of nine (9) is currently the assessed rating for areas that do not meet those
parameters mostly in situations that exhibit a more rural like appearance within the
service area. For the most part, the service area boasts an excellent water supply
that meets fire flow needs as there are 597 fire hydrants that can be utilized to
suppress fire.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710
(Deployment Guidelines) and has not established a set of benchmark response
times that would act as a best practices model. The organization has not received
a directive from the community that would suggest that a maximum response time
criteria be established. The GSFD has indicted that adopting NFPA 1710 is
unrealistic in their current state as they operate on a daily basis with minimum
staffing levels. It is also not uncommon that the fire department responds to
incidents outside their fire district because the need presents it self and no other
agency has been assigned to do the task. An example of this would be a hurt hiker
on the long steep trail that leads to hanging lake located within Glenwood Canyon.
Such a call could take hours as the effort would likely include hiking to the victim,
treatment and then a transport back down the mountain. Because each fire station
is staffed by only two firefighters, that would take one of the stations out of
commission and another station, again with only two firefighters, from farther away
would need to fill the gap. Although the fire department has not yet adopted or
identified a set of response time standards, the organization has adopted a
maximum standard that they feel is within their ability to address and that is turn-out
time. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department identified the appropriate turn-out
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time as being one minute or less, thus at least expediting their initial response to an
emergency call.
Planning for Development
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has adopted and is guided by the 2003
International Fire Code when assessing development proposals within their
jurisdiction.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has not adopted a district-wide strategic
plan at this time; however the department recognizes the importance of such a
document and has engaged in discussions with city administration officials in an
attempt to start the process. The fire department has already significantly
addressed deficiencies in terms of needed stations and replacing old apparatus
and other equipment in the year 2000 when the organization asked for and
received permission from the voters to pass a bond. If and when the fire
department starts the strategic planning process, it has already been determined
that the main focus of the document would be to address personnel needs in terms
of staffing levels. In essence, the fire department feels that identifying a
benchmarking process in terms of response times would not be an attainable goal if
the department was unable to realistically meet the standard due to limited staffing
levels. Thus, the organization has determined that personnel safety and the need
to respond quickly and with appropriate resources is the key component to the
departments overall success at this juncture in time.
A representative of Glenwood Springs Fire Department does not typically attend
development review meetings with community planners from city and county
governments; however they will meet with private developers who desire to talk
about code criteria that will be required for their development. The organization
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has identified a lack of personnel and a lack of time as being the reason as to why
they do not attend development review meetings on a regular basis. The
department has one fire prevention officer and that employees time is limited due
to the amount of assignments that person has currently.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department also receives agency review packets
associated with all new development and major projects from local community
development departments. This process is utilized to make comment on
development standards that the proposed project must adhere to. Typical
development criteria that the department is concerned with are access, road width,
grading and water supply. It was at this time, that the fire department was able to
secure property for a possible fourth fire station in the planned unit development
that was previously discussed.
The GSFD has also taken a proactive approach when it comes to trying to contact
homeowners who have applied to the county to build a single family home in the
fire district that is over 5,000 square feet. The fire department has asked county
officials to send such proposals to them so that they can meet with the home
owners and discuss the opportunities and constraints that might present
themselves when they build their new home in areas that may have limited access
or fire flows. The fire department utilizes the meetings as an education tool and to
discuss citizen expectations should they be based on where the citizen came from
and not based on existing conditions there in the Glenwood Springs area.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department does in limited ways take part in many
community-wide planning efforts such as comprehensive plan updates, rural area
plans and neighborhood plans. The fire chief is considered a risk manager and
therefore the department will interface with other governmental departments such
as public works and planning regarding issues that are more geared towards the
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fire department such as fire flows, grades, street planning and the urban/wildfire
interface.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has actively taken part in the drafting of
the local communitys wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that discuss
significant community wildfire related issues that take place in and around the City
of Glenwood Springs. The organization has identified high risk areas around the
city and district that may be subject to possible wildfire situations.
Issues and Thresholds
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department perceives that the community has seen
moderate growth as it relates to population increase in the last ten years, but their
emergency response service area has not grown in land area in the last decade.
The fire department feels as though community growth pressures in the Glenwood
Springs area have significantly affected fire district levels of service. As stated
previously, the city is the county seat and serves as a regional hub for commercial,
industrial and tourism enterprises and welcomes a total daytime population of
roughly 30,000 people. This concern will be further exacerbated due to the influx of
the oil and gas industry as workers and industrial companies move to the area and
by a major commercial project involving large big box developments that house
corporations like Target, Lowes, and other significant large scale retail projects in
the West Glenwood Springs region. Thus, the organization does expect an
increase in service demands as the community grows and develops further.
The main ISSUES that were identified by the Glenwood Springs Fire Department
as being significant when addressing community growth concerns were providing
meaningful fire service, retention and training of personnel and obtaining adequate
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staffing levels to address emergency situations. Since all relate to personnel
matters, the three common issues have been consolidated into one common issue.
The most critical ISSUE identified by GSFD was the need to identify and meet a
minimum threshold in the community where the department could provide
meaningful fire and emergency response services. The organization has
determined that they have never caught up with the past community growth and
this has detracted from the departments current ability to respond to todays
emergency situation with adequate resources. It is believed that the Glenwood
Springs Fire Department of the past did not effectively plan for future community
growth as calls for service increased, but rather maintained a status quo. In
addition, volunteer firefighters are difficult to hire, coordinate, keep trained and to
ultimately retain. Moreover, the fire service is required to do more now than in
decades past (i.e. swift water rescue) and customer expectations can be both too
high and simply unattainable at times. All of these factors place a significant strain
on current staffing levels and other resources within the fire department. As the
community reaches a build-out scenario, the department would like to be ready to
meet the needs of the community with regard to staffing levels. The organization
feels that they currently operate in a fashion that resembles a hybrid system that is
constantly trying to address basic staffing level issues while at the same time
attempting to deliver efficient and professional fire and emergency services. In
essence, the fire department is trying to focus on obtaining basic resources that
they must have to operate effectively (i.e. appropriate staffing levels), rather than
obtaining resources that simply are luxuries to have.
Currently, the fire department indicates that it does not meet the generally accepted
standard of 1 fire fighter per 1,000 residents. There are two firefighters at each of
the three fire stations during any given time. Those two staff members address all
aspects of emergency response including fire suppression, rescue efforts and
emergency medical calls for service. If one of the two person teams has been
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dispatch to an incident, that leaves a gap in the overall system that must be
plugged by personnel from another fire station which in many instances is farther
away from the emergency call than is desirable. The limited staffing issue also
leaves no room for station coverage when vacation or sick leave is taken by the
current personnel. On at least one occasion the fire department had to shut down
one of the fire stations for an entire day due to shortages in staffing levels leaving
the city and district protected by two of the three fire stations. Such a predicament
is not a desirable situation for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, thus the
organization has determined that limited staffing levels are of the utmost concern
and serve as the most significant factor in their delivery of service system.
The second factor identified by GSFD was the need to retain and properly train
their personnel. The department takes great pride in its people and desires that
personnel be adequately trained for the challenges ahead, that job growth is
available and that they be able to live and work in the community they serve (i.e.
approximately half of the fire departments personnel reside outside the service
area because they cant afford to live within the Glenwood Springs area due to the
cost of living, particularly real estate). Also, properly trained personnel such as
paramedics in the past have left the area to serve else where thus retention of
quality individuals is always a concern.
Unique
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department did not specifically identify a major ISSUE
that was believed to be unique as it pertained to their particular jurisdiction or the
western slope, but did provide comment on the western slope fire service in
general.
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From a local perspective, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department serves both the
municipality of Glenwood Springs and the greater fire district that lies in
unincorporated portions of Garfield County. Most of the city consists of commercial
and industrial development with some residential development. The fire
department perceives that the majority of the residential development within the fire
service area lies outside city limits in unincorporated areas. New annexations to
the City of Glenwood have a tendency to be commercial in nature. The citys
assessed value is roughly 300 million dollars while the mostly residential areas in
the fire district are at about 45 million dollars. City funding for the fire department is
derived from the general fund that is reliant on sales tax while the fire district fiscal
dollars come in the form of a mill levy strictly for fire protection services. Funds in
the City of Glenwood Springs are limited due to this process and monies must be
dispersed between city departments at a rate determined by the budget which is
adopted by political officials. For instance, police services have been allocated
roughly twice the amount of funding the fire department has been granted in the
upcoming 2006 city budget. That is significant because police services only covers
8 square miles of the incorporated municipality while the fire department covers
approximately 72 square miles. Then one must consider that 77% of the calls for
fire service are located within the City of Glenwood Springs. The fire department
has concluded it might be more equitable and easier to manage budgetary affairs if
the fire department was placed within the fire district rather than being reliant on
two significantly different funding sources.
From a western slope perspective, it is thought by the Glenwood Springs Fire
Department that development growth often forms in isolated pockets that are
scattered about western Colorado and that type of development will significantly
challenge the local fire service when it comes to the delivery of their own
jurisdictions as well as providing mutual aid assistance to nearby communities.
Many communities on the western slope are not prepared for the development and
population growth that is to come and that growth is sure to outpace services and
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infrastructure unless community mentalities change from that once small town
perception to one of acceptance. Fire departments must evolve to meet growth
pressures as the day of the volunteer firefighter seem to be fading due to ever
increasing job and family obligations arise. Fire service jobs are now quite complex
and more sophisticated than ever and communities must understand that it will be a
significant challenge to the fire service should they choose to address new
community growth as they have done in the past.
City of Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan
A review of the citys most recent comprehensive plan, adopted in 1998, indicated
that the residents of Glenwood Springs have expressed an interest in retaining the
characteristics if a small town" as development occurs in the area. To Glenwood
Springs, that small town feel might include, but may not be limited to compact
urban development, tree lined streets and a dynamic urban core all the while
addressing community transportation needs. The community wide planning
document is separated into eight elements that were identified as being important
to the community. The eight elements deal with small town character, cultural
resources, natural resources, directed development, balanced development, social
diversity, economic diversity and recreation & tourism.
The comprehensive plan makes a clear distinction between the term growth and
the term development. The City of Glenwood Springs has determined that growth
consists of the uncontrolled, inefficient extension of already over-burdened
community systems which detracts from the whole of the community.
Development is perceived to be efficient, managed" while addressing the needs of
the city by helping it to attain overall community goals (Glenwood Springs Comp
Plan 4).
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The document did not directly speak to public safety, nor did it mention the fire
department by name. The plan did identify that a compact urban form was
desired and that development should be directed in a manner that that allows the
city to allow specific development nodes within the urbanized area to expand. The
document stated the City of Glenwood Springs should assure" that adequate
facilities would be concurrent with the proposed development as it took place. An
adequate facility appears to mean infrastructure such as water, wastewater, electric
and streets. A key action identified by the comprehensive plan indicated that a
public facilities ordinance should be adopted to assure that properly sized
infrastructure satisfies the needs of the existing community as well as potential
development. Any development outside the urban area boundary would be
discouraged by the city (Glenwood Springs Comp Plan 14).
Town of Breckenridae
The Town of Breckenridge is located in Summit County, Colorado and is
approximately 5.5 square miles in size. Breckenridge is situated 86 miles west of
Denver and rests in a beautiful mountain valley at 9,603 feet above sea level on the
west side of the Continental Divide. First settled in the 1840s, the Town of
Breckenridge was incorporated in 1880 and has grown from a mining town in the
gold rush era to a world class ski resort within the last 100 years. The area is home
to the Breckenridge Ski Resort which hosts roughly 18,000 visitors on a peak day
and will see over 1.4 million visitors annually. The Breckenridge Ski Resort
averages about 300 inches of snowfall annually.
In 1990, the town had 1,285 permanent residents and grew to 2,408 permanent
residents by the year 2000, a 6.5% annual increase from 1990. In addition to the
ski resort, the Town of Breckenridge boasts a multitude of bikeways and hiking
trails as well as two Nordic centers, ice arena, kayak park, events center, 27-hole
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municipal golf course and recreational center. Breckenridge is also host to many
festivals and events during various times of the year. Due to an immense amount
of entertainment and recreational opportunities in the area, population numbers
which include visitors, second home owners and full time residents during peak
season can reach over 36,000 in a single day (Town of Breckenridge 2005
Overview).
Red. White and Blue Fire Department
The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Gary
Green.
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The Red, White and Blue Fire Department serves an estimated fulltime resident
population of 9,000 people within a land area of about 138 square miles (Fire
Protection and Emergency Medical Service). The fire department serves the
incorporated towns of Breckenridge and Blue River as well as a significant portion
of unincorporated Summit County. Its organizational structure is enabled by
special district. The district boundaries stretch from Lake Dillon at Farmers Corner
(north) to the Hoosier Pass area located south of the Town of Blue River. The
district is considered to be located in a mixed land use pattern area which includes
urban and rural settings.
Figure 4.10 Red, White and Blue Fire Department Main Street Station
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department recently has turned entirely into a career
fire department in the last three years, as volunteer personnel have been or are in
the process of being phased out of the organization. The organization boasts forty
seven (47) sworn members and five civilian personnel. The fire department
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responds to approximately 1,300 calls for service annually, 65% of which are EMS
related. The fire department completes on average of two code inspections a day
resulting in about 750 inspections annually.
Deployment
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has three fire stations which are
geographically scattered in linear form along State Hwy 9 ranging in a north to
south direction. The districts main station is located on Main Street in the historic
Town of Breckenridge and houses the organizations administrative offices as well
a significant amount of personnel and apparatus. The main street fire station in
Breckenridge handles roughly 75% of the total calls for emergency service in the
fire service district, likely due to higher residential densities, commercial
developments and the influx of vacationing visitors. The departments second fire
station is located in the Blue River area just south of Breckenridge. Blue River is a
small incorporated low density town situated in a rural forested environment. The
Blue River fire station also covers some areas situated near the southern end of the
service district that are located in unincorporated Summit County. The third fire
station is located north of Breckenridge along Highway 9 near the area referred to
as Tiger Run. Despite its distance from the main street station, the Tiger Run fire
station is still within Breckenridge town limits and mainly covers the north part of the
service area which at times also consists of unincorporated Summit County. The
fire stations have an average collective total response time of five (5) minutes. The
Main Street fire station has an average response time of three (3) minutes while the
Blue River (south) and Tiger Run (north) have average response times of six (6)
minutes and five (5) minutes respectively.
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department does not currently have plans to add any
new fire stations to the service area in the near future.
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The fire department has an ISO rating of 4/9. An ISO rating of four (4) is in an area
typically within areas where hydrant and water is more readily available. The ISO
rating of nine (9) is currently the assessed rating for areas that do not meet those
parameters mostly in the areas that exhibit a more rural like appearance with the
service district.
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710
(Deployment Guidelines), but does utilize the documents established response
time and staffing level standards as a guideline. The reason the fire department
has not officially adopted the standard is due to fiscal and enforcement matters.
The station location and staffing requirement standards dictated in NFPA 1710 are
perceived at times to be quite strict making the standards criteria difficult to meet
and fiscally unlikely to support.
In the absence of an officially adopted response time standard such as NFPA 1710,
the Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not adopted a response time
deployment standard as response times in the district appear to be reasonably
adequate. The fire department has in turn focused their attention on another matter
which is expected to assist them with taking a more comprehensive assessment of
their entire organization. The fire department has initiated the accreditation
process currently offered by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International to
accomplish that task. They are currently involved in the self-assessment portion of
the process which should eventually lead to the identification of performance
measurements that will help the fire department manage and prepare for upcoming
community growth pressures.
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Planning for Development
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department is guided by the 2000 International Fire
Code when assessing development proposals within their jurisdiction.
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not adopted a district-wide strategic
plan that addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the district will meet
the challenges presented by community growth pressures. However, the
department recognizes the importance of such a document and is in the process of
drafting a strategic plan. The fire department had tried to draft and adopt an
internal strategic plan in the past, but key figures in the departments administration
and command staff changed and the process was placed on hold until personnel
could become familiar with the new organizational makeup. The new strategic plan
should be completed and available near the end of 2005.
A representative of the Red, White and Blue Fire Department will on occasion
attend development review meetings with planners from the various municipalities
and Summit County when needed. This typically occurs on a monthly basis and is
often due to a particular development proposal having difficulties and fire
department consultation is required or when large scale projects similar to that of
Vail Resorts' proposed expansion of Peak 8 and 7 at the Breckenridge Ski Resort
occurs. The fire department also receives agency review packets associated with
all new development and major projects from local community development
departments. The fire departments general role at typical development review
meetings and when they review development packets is to generally ensure that
fire code requirements are met. The fire department will comment on specific
development criteria such as access points, turning radius, road grades and widths,
water lines, fire flow, emergency response concerns, alternative fire plans and
other life safety matters. The department may at times comment on construction
materials used and actual structure types in order to minimize the risk of fire.
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The Red, White and Blue Fire Department does actively take part in community-
wide planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans and
neighborhood plans.
The fire department reports that they have been given the opportunity to make
comment on a wide range of long-range plans in the region and have utilized that
time to address fire department concerns. Typically, the Red, White and Blue Fire
Department will take part in major planning projects like the current main street
revitalization study currently being conducted in the Town of Breckenridge or the
Town's visioning project that took place approximately five years ago which tried to
determine how the residents wanted the Breckenridge area to grow and develop.
The fire department believes that they take part in approximately three to four long
range planning projects a year. Mainly, those discussions involve the fire
department expressing their opinion on development patterns, transportation
corridors, station placement, and at times building construction types.
With regard to development patterns, the fire department has determined that they
would like to see development remain on the valley floors rather than scattered
throughout the ridgelines and mountainous areas of their district. Valley floor
development is more conducive to quicker response times as the ability to get to
the scene to combat a structure fire or treat a patient in an EMS situation might be
hindered otherwise. Because of the physical constraints that the natural
environment exhibits in the form of steep terrain, the fire department supports
Summit Countys transfer of development rights program (TDR) which allows an
owner to transfer density/development rights in the more mountainous areas
(mining claims) to designated areas that are more manageable when it comes to
delivery of services. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department discourages
development within the fire district when those locations are in the backcountry
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because access, mobility and a rapid response are likely to be hindered resulting in
possible fire loss.
Transportation corridor planning is also of particular concern to the Red, White &
Blue Fire Department because decisions at the pre-planning level can have a
significant impact on future apparatus mobility, rapid response times and the
decision making process involving alternative routes if needed. Upcoming or in
progress transportation projects within the Town of Breckenridge that might
possible affect fire department mobility were the main street revitalization project
which will likely result in the built environment becoming more pedestrian orientated
and the new highway improvements and subsequent roundabout that was being
constructed at one of the busiest intersections in the north area of town.
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has actively taken part in the drafting of
the Summit County community wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that
discuss significant community wildfire related issues. The draft has been
completed and will be taken to the local town boards for a review soon.
Issues and Thresholds
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department perceives that the community has seen
moderate growth as it relates to population increase in the last ten years, but their
emergency response service area has not grown in land area in the last decade.
The fire district feels as though community growth pressures in the Breckenridge
area have significantly affected fire district levels of service. The increase in
service demand in recent years coupled with available fire service resources have
led the department to transform itself from a combination department consisting of
career and volunteer staff to an organization that is now completely career.
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The main ISSUES that were identified by the Red, White and Blue Fire Department
as being significant when addressing community growth concerns were interagency
cooperation, internal strategic planning and continuously changing area
demographics.
The first ISSUE identified by Red, White and Blue Fire Department was the need to
constantly maintain an open line of communication with other agencies at the start
of the planning process so that major issues and level of service needs could bed
addressed as soon as practical, thus helping to avoid significant problems once
development was established within the community. A tangible threshold for this
criterion was not established, but the fire department would like to continue their
important role in the development review process allowing them to address the
needs of the fire district. A higher degree of involvement in development review
meetings and community planning may be sought in the future when possible or
when complex development project circumstances dictate.
The second ISSUE identified by the fire department was the need to draft and,
once completed, consistently review and update the districts internal strategic plan
annually. The annual review process of this guiding document would help the fire
department establish district wide priorities that are important to the district and the
community as a whole when it comes to area development and growth concerns.
Once priorities have been established, the fire department can make strategic
adjustments to the internal strategic plan that may help the fire district function in a
more efficient and effective manner when it comes to the delivery of key emergency
services. Again, an exact threshold or trigger could not be identified with this type
of issue due to its broad role in the fire service. However, the department has
determined that as the Breckenridge/Blue River communities grow and build out,
the more self sustainable the community will become. That in turn will allow the
department to turn its attention to a more long term pre-planning process that
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spans roughly five to ten years in the future rather than reviewing community
growths impacts only in the short term.
The third and final ISSUE identified by Red, White and Blue Fire Department was
the ability to ensure that the department remains aware of the current and projected
demographics for their fire service area. A continuing assessment and trend
analysis of population and demographics in the area should assist the fire
department monitor when service levels for any one of the components (i.e. EMS)
listed in the strategic plan need to be addressed. An example of a demographics
issue that the fire department would deem significant would be a significant
increase in permanent residents in the service area. Since most of the housing
units in the service area are second homes and condominiums geared towards the
vacationing public, the area tends to see peaks and valleys as to when a high
population is present in the district. Higher population numbers are typical in the
winter months (December through March in particular) when the ski season is in
operation while other months of the year see significantly lower population numbers
with the exception of July and August as they are now exhibiting higher visitor
rates. With that in mind, high call volumes in the service area tend to be limited to
the winter months in a typical year. An increase in the areas permanent resident
base would likely result in added calls for service during times of the year that in the
past were considered a slow time period for the department.
Unique
The Red, White and Blue Fire Department specifically identified two major issues
that were believed to be unique as it pertained to their particular jurisdiction, a
resort community.
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Breckenridge is a major ski resort town and with that status comes the resort life
style which exhibits high visitor numbers, higher rates of second homes, and a
fluctuating resident population base that can be quite transient in nature. The first
issue the fire department identified involved the resorts transient and fluctuating
population. This migration trend appears to have a negative affect on public
education outcomes and fire prevention efforts. The fire department sees very little
return on their investment when it come to such community initiatives because
once the educational or preventative message has been dispersed to the public,
the transient work force population shifts or moves from the area taking that
message elsewhere creating an educational and prevention void ultimately
resulting in efforts being duplicated later. In addition, second home owners are
typically only in town for brief periods of time and likely do not benefit as much as
they could from the preventative efforts made by the Red, White and Blue Fire
Department.
A second issue of concern that was identified by the fire department was the lack of
resources on the western slope. Due to the geography of western Colorado,
access to mutual aid and other resources (i.e. equipment, specifically trained
personnel) are limited and not as readily available as they would be if the district
was located on the Front Range in the Denver Metropolitan Area. For example, the
typical employee of the fire departments workforce cannot afford to live in the
community due to the high cost of real estate, thus local fire service personnel are
unable to live in the community that they serve.
Town of Breckenridge Comprehensive Plan
The Town of Breckenridges comprehensive plan has not been updated since
1983, but still appears to provide a thorough review of the towns existing
conditions at the time as well as a well planned view of the areas goals and
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objectives to meet future growth pressures head on. The plan discussed fire
protection in a limited fashion, but addressed overall public facilities and services
as whole quite well. With regard to area urbanization, Breckenridges goal was to
control growth and development in such a manner as to not overtax the
communitys ability to provide facilities and services in both the present and future
(Breckenridge Comp Plan 4-15).
One element of the comprehensive plan indicated that the overall goal was to
develop a public facilities policy plan that could be utilized as a guide in order to
determine appropriate locations and development levels for facilities and services
that was consistent with long-range community needs. Policies related to facility
and services development required that such services contributed to efficient
development and that due consideration would be completed with regard to
impacts on facilities prior to approving new development or annexing areas in to the
town limits. These policies would be supplemented by means of a growth trend
analysis and by requiring development to bear a portion of the cost for needed
support facilities (Breckenridge Comp Plan 7-22).
Specific objectives associated with fire protection that were identified by the Town
of Breckenridge included a generic statement which indicated The Town shall
continue to work with the Red, White and Blue Fire District to provide for the
communities fire protection needs. However, more tangible statement followed
and clearly spelled out the Town of Breckenridges desire to ensure that fire
protection needs were met prior to development. The objective stated The Town
shall continue to provide water lines and maintenance on them adequate to provide
fire flow requirements, and the Town shall not allow new developments unless
adequate fire protection can be provided." The objective reinforced that if fire
protection was deficient (i.e. fire flows), new developments would not be approved
which certainly is a positive when it comes to interagency cooperation
(Breckenridge Comp Plan 7-23). The Town of Breckenridge has determined via
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Full Text

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COLORADO'S WESTERN SLOPE: COMMUNITY GROWTH AND THE CHALLENGE IT PRESENTS TO THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE RESPONSE by Steven W. Kollar B.A., State University of New York at Plattsburgh, 1993 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Urban and Regional Planning 2005 I ._j,_

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This thesis for the Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree by Steven W. Kollar has been approved by ' --

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Kollar, Steven W. (Master of Urban and Regional Planning) Colorado's Western Slope: Community Growth and the Challenge It Presents to the Urban Fire Service Response. Thesis directed by Professor Michael Holleran. ABSTRACT This study attempted to identify what were the urban planning related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measured effectiveness of current and future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorado's western slope communities as they grew and developed. Five communities were selected based on there size and functionality. Communities selected were the City of Grand Junction, City of Montrose, City of Delta, City of Glenwood Springs and the Town of Breckenridge. The overall goal of the project was to analyze how the various communities and their respective fire departments attempted to adequately meet the challenge of providing appropriate and effective fire protection service as their communities continued to grow. The research project identified issues that fire officials deemed critical when it came to evaluating level of service standards in their jurisdictions. The identification of significant issues was left completely open and to the discretion of the organization that was interviewed. Once those issues had been identified by the fire departments, the research then went further by attempting to determine what were the thresholds associated with those issues that would trigger the local fire service to actively address or upgrade level of service standards as their communities grew. The research project concluded with policy recommendations and a determination as to whether or not a model plan could be established to assist those communities lll

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when integrating fire service needs with community development desires as growth pressures take place in their communities. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. recommend its publication. lV

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my wife, Lisa, for her unwavering love and support while I was working to complete this research project. Her patience and sacrifice during the entire academic process was a true inspiration to which I am eternally grateful.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to thank the entire administrative and academic staff at the University of Colorado at Denver for their support and assistance over the past few years as I embarked on a new adventure in the urban and regional planning field. I would like to also acknowledge my academic and thesis committee advisor Professor Michael Holleran for is meaningful advise throughout my time at the University of Colorado at Denver; my thesis committee members Professor Brian Muller of the University of Colorado at Denver and Jon Schier of the Colorado Center for Community Development for their review, constructive advise and willingness to be apart of my thesis committee. Lastly, my appreciation is extended to Fire Chief Rick Beaty of the Grand Junction Fire Department; Fire Chief Gary Green of the Red, White and Blue Fire Department; Fire Chief Michael Piper of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department; Fire Chief Bob Pistor of the Montrose Fire Protection District; and Volunteer Fire Chief Adam Suppes of the Delta Fire Protection District, whom without I would not have been able to complete this research project as their patience and willingness to help was extraordinary.

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CONTENTS Figures ................................................................................................................. x CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 1 The Purpose ................................................................................ 2 Research Content ........................................................................ 4 Research Methodology ................................................................ 5 Assumptions ..................................................................... 6 Literature Review .............................................................. 6 Focused Interviews ........................................................... 7 Community Site Visits ....................................................... 8 Data Collection ................................................................. 9 Policy Recommendations ................................................. 9 2. PREPARING FOR COMMUNITY GROWTH ................................... 10 United States Fire Service .......................................................... 14 Community Growth and the Fire Service .................................... 18 3. THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE TOOL BOX ....................................... 22 A Rapid Response to Emergency Incidents ............................... 22 Internal Strategic Planning ......................................................... 25 Deployment ................................................................................ 28 Integrated Development Review and Long Range Planning ....... 30 4. INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION ................................................ 35 City of Grand Junction ................................................................ 35 Grand Junction Fire Department. .................................... 36 Deployment .................................................................... 38 Planning for Development .............................................. 39 Issues and Thresholds .................................................... 42 Vll

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Unique ............................................................................ 45 City of Grand Junction Growth Plan ................................ 46 City of Montrose ......................................................................... 4 7 Montrose Fire Protection District. .................................... 49 Deployment .................................................................... 50 Planning for Development .............................................. 51 Issues and Thresholds .................................................... 54 Unique ............................................................................ 57 City of Montrose Comprehensive Plan ............................ 58 City of Delta ............................................................................... 60 Delta Fire Protection District ........................................... 61 Deployment .................................................................... 62 Planning for Development .............................................. 63 Issues and Thresholds .................................................... 65 Unique ............................................................................ 67 City of Delta Comprehensive Plan .................................. 68 City of Glenwood Springs ........................................................... 68 Glenwood Springs Fire Department. ............................... 69 Deployment .................................................................... 71 Planning for Development .............................................. 73 Issues and Thresholds .................................................... 75 Unique ............................................................................ 77 City of Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan ............. 79 Town of Breckenridge ................................................................ 80 Red, White and Blue Fire Department ............................ 81 Deployment .................................................................... 83 Planning for Development .............................................. 85 Issues and Thresholds .................................................... 87 Unique ............................................................................ 89 Town of Breckenridge Comprehensive Plan ................... 90 Vlll

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5. ASSESSMENT ................................................................................ 93 Community Growth and the Fire Service .................................... 93 Deployment .................................................................... 93 Planning for Development .............................................. 97 Issues and Thresholds .................................................. 1 03 Unique to Western Colorado ........................................ 115 6. CONCLUSION ............................................................................... 117 A Model Plan ............................................................................ 120 What's Next .............................................................................. 120 APPENDIX A. FOCUS INTERVIEW AGENCY WORK SHEET. ................. 122 BIBLIOGRAPHY .................................................................................. 127 IX

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FIGURES Figure 1.1 Map of Colorado ...................................................................................... 8 2.1 Rural Landscape of Mesa, Colorado ...................................................... 10 2.2 Agricultural Field in Montrose County .................................................... 13 2.3 Low Density Development in Grand Junction ......................................... 18 4.1 City of Grand Junction Downtown Area ................................................. 35 4.2 GJFD Station #3 .................................................................................... 37 4.3 Development in the City of Montrose ..................................................... 48 4.4 MFPD Fire Station ................................................................................. 50 4.5 City of Delta Commercial Area ............................................................... 60 4.6 DFPD Fire Station ................................................................................. 62 4. 7 City of Glenwood Springs Downtown Core ............................................ 69 4.8 GSFD Station #2 ................................................................................... 70 4.9 Town of Breckenridge ............................................................................ 81 4.1 0 Red, White and Blue Fire Department Main Street Station .................... 82 5.1 Before and After the 30 Road Project .................................................. 111 X

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION One of the primary purposes of the urban and regional planning profession is the desire to adequately and effectively plan for community growth. To ensure that the community currently has the resources or can obtain those resources as the urban fabric expands beyond the borders of what once was thought of as "comfortable". To continue that comfortable feeling, otherwise known as our "quality of life", planning professionals have been given the somewhat daunting task of ensuring that desired community growth, a real phenomenon that has the potential to bring about real problems associated with transportation connectivity, urban density, and the delivery of services, remains in check and the expected city services are delivered in an adequate manner. One of the most essential services delivered by a governmental agency is that of public safety which comes in many forms, but for the purposes of this research project, will come to mean urban fire protection. This research will analyze the fire protection component of urban growth and how a selected few communities on the western slope of Colorado are attempting to actively deal with one of Colorado's most significant urban growth phases. The research will review how those communities are evaluating their levels of fire protection in terms of bench marking processes, how the fire service integrates long range planning efforts with community development departments and how they develop and maintain facilities/processes that will adequately address the current and future fire protection needs of their communities. The typical mission of the Fire Service is to provide public safety services in the form of fire suppression and prevention, emergency medical services, and other 1

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emergency response situations that may arise in a given community. It is a service that most communities have come to expect. It is a service that the community requires to operate efficiently while maintaining the same level of standards and professionalism as the community grows in both physical size and population. Communities in Western Colorado are no different. Western Colorado communities have been rapidly growing both in physical size and in population numbers since the early 1990s. With that growth came a multitude of difficult issues that has and still is challenging the respective Fire Service agencies in those areas. Western Colorado Fire Service issues as they pertain to urban planning are constantly in need of evaluation as a community grows. Some of those issues may include personnel needs, the ever changing role of the firefighter, the increasing demand for service (fire, EMS), adequate public education, appropriate station placement, interagency cooperation, population densities, land use locations and intensities (residential, commercial and industrial), residential growth, urban/rural interface, infrastructure needs, the availability of fire flows and the adoption of various fire codes. It is imperative that the Fire Service and the Community Development Departments of those communities throughout western Colorado work together to address the challenges that future urban growth and development will present. The Purpose The primary purposes of this project was to (i) identify what are the urban planning related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measure effectiveness of current & future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorado's western 2

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slope communities as they grow and develop, and (ii) make policy recommendations and determine if a model plan can be established to assist those communities when integrating fire service needs with community development desires as that change takes place. In short, the goal of the project was to analyze how the various western slope communities and their respective fire departments attempted to adequately meet the challenge of providing appropriate and effective fire protection service as their communities continued to grow. The research project identified ISSUES that fire officials deemed critical when it came to evaluating level of service (LOS) standards in their jurisdictions as the community grew in land area and population. The identification of ISSUES was left completely open and to the discretion of the organization that was interviewed. Once ISSUES that were important to the respective fire departments were identified, the research then went further by attempting to determine what were the THRESHOLDS associated with those identified ISSUES that would trigger the local fire service to actively address level of service (LOS) standards-i.e. what would prompt the placement of a new fire station in a particular area or what fire flow (water) or alternative fire protection plan would be needed to approve a new residential subdivision on the fringe of the municipal boundary? The project provides three final products: (1) Research information that identifies level of service standards utilized by a diverse set of western slope fire departments which measure the effectiveness of current and future services as their communities grow and develop. (2) Development of a set of policy recommendations that deal directly with growth related pressures. (3) Determine if there is enough information that would indicate that a model plan could be established to assist those western slope communities when integrating fire service needs with community 3

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development desires as that change in physical and population growth takes place. Research Content Chapter one introduces the topic, main question and purpose of the project. Research methodology is discussed in detail. Chapter two discusses community dynamics, urban geography and urban development patterns as well as the fire service in general and its role in Western Colorado. Chapter three contains the review of relevant and available information associated with fire service needs as a community grows and culminates with the identification of the three main ISSUES that the researcher determined must present in order to effectively meet current and future service level demands. Those ISSUES are internal strategic planning, deployment, and involvement in community wide development review and long range planning processes. Chapter four introduces the reader to the five western slope communities involved in the research. A summary of five focus interviews with Fire Chiefs from the City of Grand Junction, City of Montrose, City of Delta, City of Glenwood Springs and the Town of Breckenridge have been presented that provides the reader with a view of the fire department's existing conditions, philosophies and policies as they relate to urban planning. Focus interviews were conducted in an attempt to identify what were the critical ISSUES in their jurisdictions when it came to determining if level of service standards were adequate and appropriate. The research then attempted to discover specific THRESHOLDS that were associated with the identified ISSUES as well as discuss matters that the fire service officials felt were 4

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possibly unique to the western Colorado. Each section concludes with a review of the communities adopted comprehensive plans. Chapter five is an assessment and break down of the information that was obtained during the focus interviews. The assessment focused on how well the fire service organizations integrated with local community development departments via plan review, development review and long range planning. The chapter further analyzed ISSUES, THRESHOLDS and INTEGRATION as a whole in an attempt to identify level of service needs and gaps. Lastly, the analysis concludes with policy recommendations. Chapter six encompasses the project conclusion and a determination as to if it would be logistically possible to draft an urban fire service model plan for agencies on the western slope of Colorado. A brief discussion called "What's Next" concluded the chapter which discussed potential projects that might be utilized to determine how the topic could be expanded and researched further. Research Methodology The project will transgress though six steps (i) Listing of assumptions that guided the research analysis. (ii) A literature review of current standards, guidelines, regulations, research and other available material associated fire service levels of service (LOS) at a national, state and local levels when applicable (iii) Focused interviews were conducted with various community fire officials on the western slope in an attempt to ascertain critical information and the identification of key issues. (iv) Community site visits when practical were conducted. (v) Data collection in the form of primary and secondary sources. (vi) Policy recommendations were drafted and integrated into the report that addressed whether LOS guidelines identified were thought to be sufficient or if they could be 5

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improved upon and how western slope communities can affectively meet or attempt to meet those desired goals as their communities grow in population and in physical size. Assumptions One assumption that can be made from the previously stated information is that Fire Departments in western Colorado communities will experience an increase for calls for emergency service (fire suppression, EMS, rescue) as their cities and towns grow in population and physical size and as citizen expectations of the fire service change and even expand. A second assumption is that it will increasingly be more difficult for the fire departments that serve those western slope cities and towns to adequately meet widely accepted emergency response-times and development standards established by the NFPA and ISO if those communities do not take those fire service guidelines into account when creating and administering community comprehensive and growth plans. If low-density and/or "leap frog" development continues without an interagency plan adopted which takes into consideration the ability of the fire service to meet community needs, it would likely be difficult to meet the ever growing challenges that present themselves to the fire service as the communities grows. Literature Review Literature review of available current standards, guidelines, regulations, research and other available material associated with fire service levels of service (LOS) at a nation, state and local level has been conducted and evaluated. The literature review started with widely recognized guideline/assessment documents associated 6

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with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Fire Administration. See the bibliography section of this report for more information. Some of the critical documents that have been reviewed are: NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments (Note: NFPA 1720 has similar standards for all volunteer organizations). Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (National) completed by the USFA and NFPA. Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service (Colorado) completed by the USFA and NFPA. Various articles and books associated with low-density development and the term "sprawl". A multitude of relevant governmental planning related documents consisting of comprehensive plans, community growth plans, strategic plans, land development codes, etc. The literature review provided a basic understanding of the terms, concepts, issues, guidelines, and regulations that are critical to the Fire Service nation-wide. The information obtained from the reviews and case studies have provided an invaluable insight into how the US Fire Service measures their effectiveness and how they plan on improving service levels if needed. Focused Interviews Focused interviews were conducted with Fire Chiefs from the cities and towns that were apart of this study in an attempt to ascertain critical information and the identification of key issues. The interviews centered around five main themes which have been identified below: 7

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Introduction to the Fire Department. Deployment Planning for Development Issues and Thresholds Uniqueness to Western Colorado Community Site Visits Five communities located in western Colorado were selected to be apart of the research study. MOffAT :ir.Wbcn MESA DUTA ) MONTU.UMA ) LA P'l.ATA I"CA Figure 1.1 Map of Colorado (State of Colorado Website) Community site visits when practical have been conducted. Communities that have been identified as being included in the study are the City of Grand Junction (Pop. 8

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44,693), City of Montrose (Pop. 14,771), City of Glenwood Springs (Pop. 8,475), City of Delta (Pop. 8,064) and the resort Town of Breckenridge (Pop. 2,663) and have been included because of their location on the western slope of Colorado, their population statistics and due to the likelihood of relevant data being available. For the purposes of this study, Grand Junction was considered a large community, Montrose a medium sized community and Delta a small community. Because the western slope is dotted with a multitude of resort towns, it was determined that the Town of Breckenridge, which functions as a ski resort, would be included in the study. The City of Glenwood Springs was chosen to be apart of the study sample due to it being considered both a typical small size community as well as a significant tourist destination. Data Collection Data collection is in the form of primary and secondary sources. Primary source data include information obtained from focused interviews, photos, and site visits. Secondary data includes information and statistics from the U.S. Census, U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association, Insurance Services Office, and research conducted by various other governmental, collegiate and private organizations. Policy Recommendations Policy recommendations have been drafted and integrated into the final phases of this research project. This analysis includes a determination as to whether or not the researcher believes a model plan can be established in the future that would integrate fire service needs with community development desires. 9

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CHAPTER 2 PREPARING FOR COMMUNITY GROWTH The western slope of Colorado consists of twenty two counties. It is an expansive land area located west of the continental divide and stretches to the Utah state line. It's mixture of settlements and pastoral agricultural fields coupled with the many well known natural landmarks of the American west resemble the finished work of an artist's canvas when viewed upon from aircraft, vehicle or on foot. Figure 2.1 Rural Landscape of Mesa, Colorado Natural wonders like the Grand Mesa, San Juan Mountains, Colorado Canyon Country and the Colorado River are scattered about the high-country desert region 10

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serving as recreational oasis' for the local residents and the many tourists that visit the western slope each year. Treasured national parks such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado National Monument, and Mesa Verde are abundant in the area and call upon the local residents and visitor's alike to explore, photograph or just stand in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds them. But just as nature's landscapes contribute greatly to those memorable settings, so too does the man made built environment of the rural communities, towns, cities, and resorts that are scattered across the spectacular western slope country side. Western Colorado would likely be considered a "rural" area by most Coloradoans if you ask them. That is because at first glance agriculture seems to visually dominate one's first impressions, but the region is unique in that it also boasts its very own metropolitan area. The City of Grand Junction with its 45,669 residents is the center of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area which is the 5th largest MSA in Colorado having an estimated population in 2003 of 124,676 residents according to the United States Census and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (GJ Economic Partnership 1 ). Much of the Grand Junction MSA's population is concentrated in unincorporated areas of Mesa County exhibiting significant land development related growth pressures outside the city center and in many cases, the urban growth boundary. Grand Junction is the largest settlement between Salt Lake City (Utah) and the City of Denver (Colorado), roughly a 250 mile radius. The city serves as a regional health, banking, industrial and retail center for most of western Colorado and large portions of eastern Utah. But there is more to the western slope than this isolated urban center. The term "rural" is still a pretty good fit when it comes to describing most of what western Colorado has to offer. The region exhibits a large scattering of unincorporated settlements like Gateway, small towns such as Delta, medium sized cities like Montrose and Glenwood Springs and a multitude of world-class resort-towns such as Aspen, Vail, Telluride and Breckenridge. 11

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Many of those cities, towns and communities, although set in a rural western landscape, have taken on an urban feel, even if that urbanity is somewhat limited in scope when compared to what most would perceive to be truly "urban". Residents and visitors a like have been attracted to the region based on its desirable quality of life attributes less traffic congestion, a small town feel with urban amenities, relatively affordable housing, employment opportunities, outdoor recreation, large amounts of federal lands, national parks, wide open spaces, moderate to mild climate, spectacular views, and close proximity to world class vacation resorts. Thus, it has not been a surprise to see that the western slope has been steadily feeling the pressure of population growth for several decades. The State of Colorado loses agricultural lands at a rate of 250 acres per day (nationally it's at 11 ,300 acres per day). Colorado's western slope, particularly the tri-river region consisting of Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Ouray Counties, is considered to be home to some of the state's most valuable farmlands (e.g. fruit orchards, wineries, sweet corn). The organization known as the American Farmland Trust (AFT) has targeted the tri-river region of western Colorado as being an area where agricultural lands are seriously being threatened by urban growth (American Farmland Trust website). The study entitled "How Policies Affect growth and the Cost of Services in Delta, Mesa, Montrose and Ouray Counties, Colorado" specifically analyzed data in a manner that would provide insight in how land use policies might influence development patterns in those areas. Costs associated with local governmental services were also a significant part of the research as it provided an in depth look at the projected costs associated with the various development patterns studied in the land use model. The model's "business-as-usual" scenario concluded that 100,000 acres of open space and 23,000 acres of farmland would be consumed by development at low densities and at high costs to local governments in the region. The "cost of service analysis" segment in the study concluded that the alternative 12

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development strategies identified (e.g. urban growth areas, land protection and rural clusters) likely yielded a more efficient fiscal response when it came to the delivery of services and could save local governments millions of dollars over the "business-as-usual" scenario (American Farmland Trust website). Figure 2.2 Agricultural Field in Montrose County The study was important in that it not only discussed growth's impact with regard to the loss of agricultural lands and open space, but also hinted that higher service costs would result as development growth expanded into the rural landscape resulting in a significant impact on the delivery of services in Western Colorado. Although, low density sprawl and an increase in population are not necessarily synonymous when it comes to assessing community growth, an increase in population does present challenges to western slope communities when it comes to how they will try and manage the area's growth in terms of land use, densities and development. 13

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For instance, Mesa County's population between 1990 and 2000 grew at a rate of 24.8%. This increase in population placed Mesa County in the top 10% of counties nationwide as it pertained to population change. It has been projected by the Colorado Department of the Local Affairs that Mesa County's population alone (excluding other portions of the western slope) will increase to about 224,820 residents by the year 2025 (Mesa County Website). If that projection were to come to fruition, the community's population as it is today would nearly double bringing with it a increase in traffic congestion, more households, greater amounts of commercial/industrial developments, and if business-is-as-usual a likely increase in low-density residential development patterns that stress the community's ability administer adequate services (i.e. fire protection). It is reasonable to conclude that other western slope communities will also see a significant rise in population change as the future draws near and the region's secrets are revealed to more and more individuals who wish to relocate in order to attain a higher "quality of life". That change in population will likely bring a set of diverse residential development patterns, changes in economic strategies, new commercial and industrial developments and extra demands on government, infrastructure, facilities and emergency services such as police and fire protection. United States Fire Service It is thought that basic fire protection first became an organized phenomenon near the timeframe of 24 BC in Rome where night watches were organized to enforce city-state regulations aimed at attempting to prevent damaging fires. From there, as cities grew in population and land area, mercantile and residential areas of historic settlements grew closer and closer together thus increasing the fire risk (MFARS 105). The American Colonies were one of the first local communities to set up what many call the "fore runner'' of today's organized fire departments. New 14

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Amsterdam (New York) is considered to be the first major colony in America to initiate an organized attempt at firefighting. In the 1648, the colony appointed fire wardens to inspect chimneys and issue fines should they violate established rules. The colony later appointed a group of citizens to the "Rattle Watch". When a fire was observed, the individuals would shake large rattles and direct a citizen bucket brigade (Hashagen). Boston was the first colony to establish a fire department whose members who were employed for fire suppression purposes and not just volunteers (MFARS 1 05). In 1678, twelve men and a captain, name Thomas Atkins, were hired to form the first organized engine company in colonial America. Captain Atkins is considered to be the first firefighting officer in the country (Hashagen). Today's fire departments and fire districts that make up the entire country's fire service are comprised of a multitude of different kinds of organizational structures and membership types. The fire service organization can be in many forms and are likely governed by federal, state, regional, county or local organizational structures. Furthermore, they may consist of paid employees, volunteers or a combination of the two different personnel types. This diverse composition, known as the modern day fire service, serves our major metropolitan areas, urban city centers, sprawling and not so sprawling suburban communities, compact rural villages, rural agricultural hamlets and a great number of other settlement patterns scattered throughout the United States. In addition, today's fire service is called to action in unsettled or unpopulated areas in the United States that take place in areas such as federal lands, national forests, treasured national parks, and on the fringe of those previously mentioned human settlements. According to the International Fire Chief's Association, there are about 1.1 million men and women serving in roughly 30,000 fire departments throughout the entire United States fire service. The majority of those individuals, nearly 800,000 of 15

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them, are considered to be volunteer firefighters serving their local communities. The United States Fire Administration estimates that a fire department responds to a fire in the US every 20.0 seconds. USFA reported that in 2003 the fire service responded to 1 ,584,500 fire-related calls, Emergency Medical calls tallied at 13,631,500 and Hazardous Materials/Other Hazardous related incidents accounted for 1,010,000 calls for service. Additional reporting statistics from the USFA in 2004 indicated that there were 3,900 civilian deaths and 17,785 citizen injuries as a result of fire. Fire-related incidents killed more people than all of the natural disasters that year combined. Direct property loss in association with fire-related incidents was totaled at about $9.8 billion in the United States that year (USFA website) According to the book Managing Fire and Rescue Services published by the International City/County Management Association (pp1 05-1 06), the universally accepted main goal of the modern day fire service is to protect the community from the "uncontrolled" fire and that local circumstances contribute the most when it comes to completing its main mission of protecting life and property from fire related incidents. The modern fire service not only deals with urban fire suppression efforts, but also responds to emergency medical incidents (EMS), hazardous material spills, wildfire suppression, conducts code enforcement inspections, engages in technical rescue efforts, conduct fire investigates as to the origin and cause of those incidents and as of recent, as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, be an "all-hazards, all-risk response entity" (IFCA). Research has indicated that the most critical criterion in which Fire Service agencies in the United States measure their level of service is by analyzing response times to emergency calls. In general terms, response time is typically thought of as the time when an emergency call for service is initiated to when the emergency service provider arrives on scene. Several organizations, including the 16

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National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Insurance Service Office (ISO), have identified widely accepted response-time guidelines which many fire service agencies across the country strive to meet. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a nonprofit membership organization consisting of over 75,000 members worldwide who's mission is to "reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by developing and advocating scientifically based consensus codes and standards, research, training and education"(NFPA website). The NFPA defines the term "Response Time" as the "time that begins when units are en route to the emergency incident and ends when units arrive at the scene" (NFPA 171 0). The Insurance Service Office (ISO) is an advisory organization based in the northeastern portion of United States and serves the property and casualty insurance industry by providing inspection services and statistical analysis assessments among other services. By utilizing a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), the ISO assigns communities rankings (Public Protection Classes -1 [Best] to 1 0 [Worst]) typically based on various fire service capabilities (water distribution, department equipment, etc.) and the ability to meet emergency response times. The local fire department's ability to meet strict timeframes with regard to response times becomes a critical issue when looking at how a community deals with its population and land area growth. It is imperative that local fire service needs are considered and addressed when growth plans are adopted and land use development has taken place. This requires a seamless integration of interagency dialogue and public policy planning in order to accomplish well-planned communities where local fire department level of service standards are not diminished due to community growth, but rather, are enhanced as the locality expands in both population and land area in a responsible manner. 17

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Community Growth and the Fire Service Urban development consumes rural land at a projected rate of 5 million acres annually in the United States. Much of the development is considered low density and there is concern that the growth is not being managed properly. If the current rate of development continues, it is thought that nearly 100 miles of all the privately owned land situated around each of the country's metropolitan areas will nearly be developed by the year 2040. Facility and service costs for these low density areas are expected to be high as services cost between lower density development and mixed density developments can be in excess of $50,000 per dwelling unit (ICMA PLGP 398). Figure 2.3 Low Density Development in Grand Junction One significant issue that both the fire service and community development agencies have been wrestling with since World War II has been the concept of 18

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"urban sprawl". According to the report entitled "Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact: The Character and Consequences of Metropolitan Expansion", sprawl has been defined as the process in which the spread of development across the landscape far outpaces population growth. One of the four dimensions of sprawl indicated in the research project was the issue of very spread out low-density development patterns on the exterior fringes of urban centers (Ewing; Reid; Pendall; Executive Summary). These less densely populated developments have the potential to both directly and indirectly place substantial fiscal and level of service burdens on local governments when it comes to providing the necessary infrastructure needed to maintain a safe and healthy community (i.e. desired fire service response times). Infrastructure costs for low-density subdivisions can rise to as much as twice the amount that would be needed for a more traditional, compact development closer to the urban core (Livingston; Ridlington; Baker 5). Identified characteristics of a sprawling city might include, but may not be limited to low density development in an unlimited outward expansion often dominated by the need for automobiles for mobility, leap frog development, and a lack of clustering, mixed land uses and urban-village like centers. It's a process of fragmentation in that large tracts of land are separated into smaller pieces to accommodate society's need for cheaper, more private lands with a view. Most of the time that piece of perceived paradise is located on the fringe of a rural town or large city, on mountain sides or along streams and wetlands. As a result, development is no longer compact; there is limited means of delivering expected services because a patchwork of expansive development coupled with open undeveloped spaces are now dominating the landscape. (Campoli; Homestone; Maclean 66). Such spread out low-density development can significantly hinder a community's ability to locate needed fire stations in appropriate areas that would meet desired emergency response-time standards dictated by the NFPA and the ISO. It is 19

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evident that community development practices in the form of local policy, community interactions, zoning and private development can detrimentally impact the fire service's ability to adequately meet their own desired response-times. Public policy when it comes to land use must take into account the needs of the local fire service to effectively and efficiently deliver services if community planning is ever truly going to be considered a success based on the idea that urban planning is there to see to the health, safety and welfare of the community. Sprawl can cost the taxpayers more money when development is allowed to take place on or beyond the fringe of a city (special governments such as fire districts are also affected) (ICMA PLGP 389). It is readily accepted that one of the main goals of urban and regional planning is to unsure that adequate facilities and services are present when new development takes place in their community. A fundamental tenant of planning is "development should be permitted only where it can be accommodated by key public facilities and services." (ICMA PLGP 389). In order to determine if facilities and services are adequate, the governing entity should embark on a study that would establish a base line revealing a set of level of service (LOS) standards. Such standards can be maintained and used to effectively measure if a proposed development meets realistic and accepted community desires. LOS standards assist the modern day planner with coordinating and conducting a comprehensive look at the new development by evaluating existing capacities, projecting future needs and determining fiscal costs (i.e. the number of fire stations in a given response area). (ICMA PLGP 390). In June of 2003, the president of the NFPA, James M. Shannon, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee of Science, at which time he advised that the shortage of fire stations throughout the United States was one of their organizations greatest concerns when it came to providing emergency services. Shannon remarked, "at least 65% of our nation's cities and towns don't have 20

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enough fire stations to achieve the widely recognized ISO response-time guidelines. Those guidelines recommend that first-cal/ companies in "built upon" areas of the city be located to ensure travel distances within 1 Y2 miles. That guidance is consistent with the requirements of NFPA 1710 that firefighters respond wfthin four minutes, 90% of the time." Shannon stated that an estimated 25,000 to 35,000 career firefighters are needed to staff the number of fire stations that would be required to meet the accepted response-time guidelines. Shannon cited the troubling findings indicated in a recent December 2002 study on the US Fire Service (NFPA Article). A needs assessment of the US Fire Service study conducted by the NFPA on behalf of the United States Fire Administration had revealed that nationwide, an estimated three-fifths to three-fourths of all fire departments had too few fire stations to meet the maximum response distance guidelines as identified by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and simple models of response distances developed by the Rand Corporation. Furthermore, the national study revealed that an estimated 83.9 million people (29% of the US population in 2001) were protected by fire departments that did not provide some form of plan review and 128 million (45%) people were protected by fire departments that did not provide permit approval (USFA Needs Assessment Executive Summary). Station location and response time statistics specifically pertaining to the State of Colorado have not been developed according to a similar statewide needs assessment report prepared by the NFPA in June of 2004. 21

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CHAPTER 3 THE URBAN FIRE SERVICE TOOL BOX A Rapid Response to Emergency Incidents "The critical difference between a small, easily controlled fire and a large fire that threatens to destroy an entire building is time" (MFARS 121). The term utilized by fire departments to measure the time it takes to respond to an emergency call for service is referred to as "response time". The key word in that important phrase is "time". We have all heard the statement "time is of the essence" and when it comes to the fire service that is an absolute. Time is of the essence when it comes to rescuing a trapped motorist at an automobile accident, when a medical patient needs life saving treatment or when it comes to effectively battling structure fires. To understand how important time is when it comes to fighting fires, one must understand the science behind how a fire migrates throughout a room and eventually an entire structure. When a room is engulfed by fire it will naturally progress through a three stage sequence of development. The first phase is the incipient stage, otherwise known as the growth stage. It starts at the moment in time when the fuel source ignites, but the fire remains localized. At this stage, the fire is fuel regulated and not totally reliant on oxygen within the room. It is a situation where the "fire propagation is not regulated by the available oxygen but by the configuration, mass and geometry of the fuel itself." The heating process known as convection causes a plume of hot gases to rise to the room's ceiling where if the right conditions exist, causes an up and outward spread of the fire within the room (NFA Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-10). 22

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The second phase is known as the free-burning stage. It is where the fire develops and becomes more intense due to the consumption of fuels located within the burning environment. Hot smoke and gases migrate toward the ceiling and then begin to gravitate downward once again through the radiation heating process. The temperatures at higher levels in the room near the ceiling are extremely hot. Lower levels also increasing become hotter and eventually other fuels reach ignition temperatures and ignite. This migration of heat and gases in a room can result in a much larger, hotter fire known as "flashover'' if fire service resources are not present on scene to prevent it from happening or to stop it from spreading (NFA Fire/Arson, SM 2-9 thru 2-10). The event known as flashover is when a room and its contents are completely engulfed by fire. It can occur within six to ten minutes. Flashover consists of the upper layer in a room reaching a temperature of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit ultimately resulting in the ignition of all fuels (contents such as furniture, books, etc.) in the entire room. This circumstance places life and property located in that environment in a situation where survival is unlikely. Once flashover has occurred in a room, generally the entire structure will follow suit shortly thereafter and become a fully involved fire. This will require additional resources in the form of personnel, equipment and apparatus to carry out the strategy needed to successfully combat the blaze and to prevent the destruction of life and property (NFA Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-10). The final phase in the development of a fire is called the smoldering stage. It is when oxygen levels have been reduced to below 15 percent due to containment or the fuel in the room has been entirely consumed by the previous fire stages (NFA Fire/Arson SM 2-9 thru 2-1 0). A fire's development though the incipient, free-burning and smoldering stages can be quite rapid. It depends greatly on fuels, oxygen availability, and the heating 23

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process that is present (i.e. convection, radiation, conduction). Because there are many factors that contribute to how rapidly a fire spreads throughout a building or area, it is imperative that the fire department take no chances when it comes to their deployment as a quick response time is critical when it comes to preserving life and property. Because flashover in a fire can occur very rapidly, the best way to combat the fire's development is by limiting its spread. This can be achieved by effectively deploying personnel and equipment as rapidly as possible in order to conduct an aggressive primary interior attack as close as possible to the fire's origin (NFPA 1710, A.5.2.2.2.1 ). A typical way of measuring "response time" for a fire department is to determine the time that transpires between when the call is received by emergency dispatch to when the fire department arrives on scene at the emergency, thus it is not a surprise that the reaction of emergency service personnel (firefighters, dispatchers, etc.) and actual drive time are significant factors that heavily contribute to overall response times (MFARS 121). But there are more factors involved in obtaining rapid response times than the immediate reactions of quality emergency service personnel. It is reasonable to conclude that a number of factors can influence a fire department's ability to deploy its resources during an emergency incident. For instance, interagency cooperation between fire officials and community development planners by means of development review processes and long range planning are integral to the success of the fire department's ability to meet the challenges presented by a growing community. Community development related factors that can significantly influence fire department response times include, but may not be limited to fire station networks, transportation corridor planning, streetscape and road design, development patterns, zoning densities, suburban sprawl, and development types and intensities. If the fire service can review potential development projects prior to that land use's establishment in the community, then impacts on levels of service can be lessened or at least anticipated. 24

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The literature review produced three major issues that can significantly affect the fire department's ability to address level of service concerns as their community grows in both population and land area. These issues have been deemed important by the author due to their relationship with the urban planning profession. Certainly, there are a multitude of issues which are important to the fire service, however the three major issues identified overlap jurisdictional boundaries and speak to the level of coordination that is present when it comes to the delivery of community services. The three main ISSUES are internal strategic planning, deployment and integrated community development review & long range planning. Internal Strategic Planning As communities grow and develop into urban centers, the general delivery of services by the fire department becomes more difficult as resources can be significantly affected if the department has not attempted to meet the needs of the growing community. Maintaining appropriate staffing levels, building new fire stations, meeting personnel training needs and purchasing new equipment and apparatuses, can all be strained by the unintended pressures associated with community growth such as an increase in call volumes, greater response times, and a change in call for service types (i.e. hazardous materials, emergency medical, etc.). The fire department must also be cognizant that competition for available budget related funding within the government's organizational structure is critical as well, as the fire department is likely not the only organization that would be experiencing pressures to maintain level of service standards. The limited funds must be dispersed accordingly as growing communities still need parks and open space, police protection, roads and other utility services such as trash pick up, water, and sewer. 25

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The need to engage in the internal strategic planning process is crucial if the fire department is going to deliver "competent" and "effective" service levels to their growing community (MSARS 39). According to the article entitled "Strategic Planning: Q&A", written by Guy Boyd and published in Fire Chief magazine, strategic planning is defined as "a process of questioning that channels us into critical thinking on important issues to improve bottom-line service for our customers" A strategic plan is a "formal plan prepared for a specific service which examines the current state of the service, future needs for the service, and recommended means of meeting identified future needs (APA Planner's Dictionary). It helps the fire department to prioritize issues that are important and organize a response to effectively manage and implement solutions for those issues. This in turn will eventually assist the fire department with the difficult task of maintaining adequate levels of service as community dynamics, needs and cultures change and evolve over time. Strategic planning allows the department the ability to use its creativity and openness to move beyond what the department has always done to a place that exhibits organizational growth and a forward looking perspective. Because strategic planning reacts to mainly "political trends, voter moods, citizen welfare and organizational values" it is considered a qualitative process for the most part that is supplemented with appropriately used quantitative data collection (Boyd). According to the ICMA, a comprehensive attempt at a strategic plan should encompass a three stage system of evaluation. The process includes the fire risk stage, internal audit stage and the culmination stage (MFARS 39-40). The fire department should first conduct an assessment of the community's fire risk which is an evaluation of a multitude of criterion including structure types and ages, 26

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building construction, land use classifications, population statistics and water availability. This is an important community assessment that serves as a visual window for the fire department as to what existing conditions are present in their locale and how they should logistically prepare to address matters of public concern. The main goal of the fire risk analysis process is to determine how the fire department will meet its objective when it comes to "minimizing or reducing risk". That issue can only be addressed by first assessing the community' level of fire risk and then compare the existing conditions exhibited to the level of risk the community has identified as being an acceptable threshold. Identifying those tangible thresholds is not an easy task, but can be accomplished by assembling community stakeholders in the form of fire service employees, elected officials, urban and regional planning professionals, citizen groups and local business leaders. Each community's will is different; each will decide what level of risk they are willing to take when it comes to the expected delivery of fire department services in their area (MFARS 39-40). The second stage encompasses an internal audit of the fire department's existing services. This is done in order to determine if current services are capable of meeting community delivery of service expectations and to determine if departmental resources and programs are up to par will existing conditions. The audit entails a complete review of how the fire department at the time the strategic plan was developed delivers services in the specialized areas of fire suppression, fire prevention, code enforcement, public education, fire investigations and emergency response (MFARS 39-40). The final stage culminates in taking a comprehensive look at the strategic planning process as a whole. The strategic plan is placed in official written format and typically adopted by fire department management and/or the elected officials in the applicable governmental body (municipality, fire district, etc.) (MFARS 39-40). A written strategic plan typically includes sections on the planning process, existing 27

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conditions, and the identification of goals and objectives which are followed up by an implementation section that dictates how the goals and objectives are to be logistically carried out. The development of a fire department strategic plan often includes the SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The assessment analyzes the fire department's internal plans, programs, resources and overall performance to discover the organization's strengths and weaknesses. The SWOT evaluation then concludes with a PEST analysis of that looks at the community's political, economical, social and technological issues that may have a significant affect on fire department policy and overall performance when it comes to identifying opportunities and threats (MFARS 63-65). It is by this process that the department's goals, objectives and implementation steps are identified. Strategic plans should be reviewed and updated at an incremental time frame established by the fire department in order to be certain that plan elements are still applicable. This is can be done on an annual basis, every two years or every five years. Deployment The fire department's internal strategic plan often times includes an element known as the staffing and deployment plan. The deployment plan typically refers to the desired arraignment of personnel amongst the service area's network of fire stations in a manner that maximizes efficiency while delivering timely, effective and organized emergency response services. The resource book entitled "Managing Fire and Rescue Services" published by the International City/County Management Association indicates that the basic 28

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deployment concept for fire departments is for "fire stations to be located to form an orderly pattern or network of stations from which emergency service is delivered in a timely manner" (MFARS 121 ). The network consists of several self-sufficient fire stations and each serve as a base of operations in a designated coverage plan in the service area. Rapid response times are the goal and are achieved by maximizing efficient personnel activities and by traveling short distances to calls for service. A thoughtful deployment strategy is vital to the over all success of the fire department when it comes to achieving response time goals. In a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association, structure fire data collected between 1994 and 1998 indicated that a rapid and aggressive interior attack on a fire contained within the room of origin would significantly reduce the loss of life and property. Civilian deaths were limited to 2.3 deaths per 1000 fires when the event was confined to the room of origin, but jumped sharply to 19.68 civilian deaths per 1,000 fires when the event moved beyond the room of origin, but remained on the same floor of the structure. If the fire progressed outside the room of origin and beyond the floor of origination, then the civilian death rate per 1 000 fires increase to 26.54. Typical structures in the study consisted of residential single family, duplexes, multi-family units, hotels, and dormitories (NFPA 1710 A.5.222.1). Since flashover generally occurs in less than 10 minutes with the room of origin and has the potential to result in a fully engulfed structured ultimately increasing the potential for loss of life and property significantly, it is imperative that the fire department be able to respond to an incident as rapidly as possible in order to minimize fire loss. In 2001, the National Fire Protection Association, after great debate between community and governmental stakeholders, approved and issued NFPA 1710 (Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations, and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments). It became one of the first nationally recognized deployment 29

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standards in the United States that dealt directly with fire suppression, emergency medical and special operation responses. NFPA 1710 established minimum standards that addressed emergency response delivery systems including response times and staffing resources. A similar document, NFPA 1720, was established for volunteer organizations. NFPA 1710 (2004 edition) established the following response time objectives: 1. One minute (60 seconds) for turnout time. 2. Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of the first engine company at a fire suppression incident and/or eight minutes (480 seconds) or less for the deployment of a full first alarm assignment at a fire suppression incident. 3. Four minutes (240 seconds) or less for the arrival of a unit with first responder or higher level capability at an emergency medical incident. 4. Eight minutes (480 seconds) or less for the arrival of an advanced life support unit at an emergency medical incident, where this service is provided by the fire department. NFPA 1710 called for a performance objective that required the fire department to achieve the above-mentioned response time standards 90 percent of the time and to evaluate deployment delivery service levels on an annual basis. NFPA 1710 is a voluntary standard and is not required to be adopted. Integrated Development Review and Long Range Planning An article entitled "Growing Pains" published by Fire Chief Magazine in January of 2004, reported on a survey of over 500 randomly sampled fire chiefs, fire marshals and commissioners from varied jurisdictional sizes in the United States which asked a number of questions regarding service area growth and the effects that 30

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development has had on the local fire department's ability to deliver services. The survey also discussed development growth that was likely to occur within the next three years. The article indicated that some "troubling conclusions" were derived from the survey and "without careful attention, long-term planning and adequate funding, communities risk an alarming deterioration in fire protection, especially in fast-growing areas." (Mclaughlin) The article advised that 73% of the fire officials surveyed indicated that growth within the last three years was straining the fire department's resources and 71% of the respondents stated that the community growth had taken place in areas of their jurisdiction that needed improvements in water availability (e.g. mains, hydrants). The article also indicated that 50% of the respondents reported that the community growth had occurred in areas still needing a new fire station. Of those surveyed, 84% said their jurisdiction had experienced heavy or moderate community growth in the last three years. About a third of the fire officials stated their communities had annexed geographical areas that were once outside their jurisdiction; 41% of which had "nonexistent or inferior" services prior to annexation. Lastly, the survey results revealed that 37% of the fire officials who said their communities had made annexations indicated the newly acquired areas "challenged" their ability to deliver adequate services (Mclaughlin). When it came to future predictions, of those surveyed, 81% of the fire officials stated that growth in the next threes years will likely stain departmental resources further. In areas of reported heavy or moderate community growth, 90% of the fire officials indicated the next three years would strain resources even more than current growth pressures had already done. About 77% of the respondents stated that community growth in the next three years will take place in sections of the service area that had deficiencies when it came to water related infrastructure and availability; 51% stated that the growth would take place in areas where the fire department would need additional fire stations (Mclaughlin). Clearly, community 31

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growth is of great concern to fire officials of local jurisdiction as delivery of services can be severely impacted should current and long term planning not be a adequately addressed. A complete assessment of development proposals and community plans are required in order to address fire department concerns. The ability of the fire department to review development proposals is critical if the department is going to maintain or improve level of services to both the existing developed areas and the ones that will soon be built within their service area. In order for the community as a whole to benefit, complete and effective coordination must take place between the fire department and other applicable planning organizations such as community development, public works and utility companies when it comes to assessing proposed developments. This coordination may stretch beyond jurisdictional boundaries and may involve a number of entities such as local municipalities, county governments, special districts and federal agencies. It is imperative that this effort is made in order to ensure that adequate public facilities and services are present at appropriate levels as determined by the local community when an increase in population and development takes place. The term development review is used to describe the formal evaluation of proposed development projects by governmental organizations in order to determine if the development meets applicable standards and to identify significant impacts the proposed project might bring about. Projects that are typically reviewed are site specific developments, rezones, final development plans, subdivisions, annexations and administrative reviews (i.e. minor subdivisions, boundary line adjustments, and residential site plans.) This is often, dependant upon complexity and scope, a coordinated effort that allows the fire department to formally give comment on newly proposed site specific development in their service area. This may come in the form of attending official development review meetings with community development staff or by receiving agency review packets that contain relevant 32

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information such as subdivision plats, site plans, construction drawings and utility composites that are specific to the project being proposed. By reviewing the plans and proposals up front at the start of the project, the fire department can ensure that required development criteria dictated by locally adopted fire codes can be integrated into the final plans and eventually constructed according to standards. Some typical site specific development standards that are of constant concern for the fire service have to do with access points, fire flow, water availability, fire hydrant placement, road width, site grading, and building construction types. Since long range planning is critical when it comes to addressing future community growth, it is also imperative that the fire service, like all utility and service providers, play a significant role in the development of the community's comprehensive plan. According to the Planner's Dictionary, published by the American Planning Association, a comprehensive plan is "the adopted official statement of a legislative body of a local government that sets forth (in words, maps, illustrations, and/or tables) goals, policies and guidelines intended to direct the present and future physical, social, and economic development that occurs within its planning jurisdiction and that includes a unified physical design for public and private development of land and water" (APA Planner's Dictionary). On a smaller scale, participation in area and neighborhood plans also serves as a critical need as they are typically more manageable and act as plan implementation steps much of the time. By taking part in such important processes, the fire service will be able to responsibly coordinate with urban planning professionals in an effort that first assesses an entire area or region's strengths and weaknesses; and then culminates in the identification of goals, plans and implementation techniques that will help the fire department adapt to change and address level of service concerns as pressure from development expansion is guided in a responsible manner. 33

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Taking part in a community-wide planning process will allow the fire department to take a broader view of the growth that is likely to take place in a given area or region within their jurisdiction. It allows the organization the opportunity to proactively address level of service needs through the implementation of pre planning policies and procedures. This broader assessment of growth via the long range planning process will help the agency look at the big picture when it comes to evaluating the merits of site specific development by removing the narrow tunnel vision that can come with reviewing a plan in the proverbial vacuum. Well thought out and established long range planning goals, objectives and policies will assist the jurisdiction when it comes to cooping with development pressures that may threaten to diminish fire protection service levels in the urban center and the outlaying urban fringe developments that would place a heavy burden on the organization ultimately ushering in a significant increase in fiscal costs as well as a need for additional fire department resources (i.e. personnel, apparatus). By being apart of the long range planning process, the organization could identify community thresholds that would provide insight into what response times are acceptable to their community and the quantity and type of resources they would like to allocate to the fire department. For instance, a deployment threshold that established criteria for a new fire station in a particular area of need in the city could be based on a number of factors including, but not limited to an actual increase in the number of calls for service, an increase in response times, the type of development (e.g. industrial, commercial) or a tangible household density calculation in the area. A maximum threshold or benchmark could be set and adopted by the jurisdiction that prompts responsibly managed growth while at the same time ensuring that adequate levels of fire protection are available in the established city center and the newly developed fringe. 34

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CHAPTER4 INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION City of Grand Junction The City of Grand Junction is situated in a large agricultural valley in Mesa County, Colorado. First settled in 1882 near the confluence of the Gunnison River and the Colorado River, the city has turned from an area centered on agriculture to an actual metropolitan center that serves as a regional retail, educational, health, industrial and recreational hub. Figure 4.1 City of Grand Junction Downtown Area 35

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The City of Grand Junction lies at an elevation of 4,586 feet above sea level and sees roughly 24 inches of snow fall a year. The city is nestled in the "Grand Valley" and is surrounded by mountains and ridges that reach 10,500 feet above see level at their highest. Local amenities include a regional trauma hospital, public transportation, regional rail and air service, a major state college and a multitude of entertainment venues. Natural wonders include the world's largest flat-top mountain, Grand Mesa, and the spectacular canyons of the Colorado National Monument (Grand Junction Data Book). The US Census Bureau listed Grand Junction's population in 1990 at 29,034 permanent residents. By 2000, that number had grown to 41,986 residents. It was estimated that approximately 44,693 people called the City of Grand Junction home in 2004. The City of Grand Junction is the center piece of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area. The majority of the MSA's residents reside in unincorporated Mesa County and that area has seen a 1.5% increase in population. In 2003, it was estimated that over 125,000 permanent residents were located in Mesa County which includes statistics from the City of Grand Junction (Daily Sentinel, Nov. 2004). Grand Junction Fire Department The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Rick Beaty. The Grand Junction Fire Department serves an estimated population of 75,000 people within a land area of about 84 square miles. Because the City of Grand Junction serves as a regional urban, commercial and academic center, the populations increase by additional 30,000 people at various times of the year. The department's service area consists of mixed land uses that include mostly urban 36

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and suburban land use patterns. Some rural areas exist in the service area, but they are scattered and mostly considered small in size. The organization is a municipal fire department (a department of the City of Grand Junction), but is the emergency response provider by contract with the Grand Junction Rural Fire Protection District which mainly covers unincorporated areas of Mesa County near the city's edge. Most of the district is considered to be urban or suburban in nature and is located within Grand Junction's urban growth boundary. A small portion of the district located northwest of the city is outside the urban growth boundary and is considered somewhat rural in nature. Figure 4.2 GJFD Station #3 The Grand Junction Fire Department consists entirely of career personnel. There are eighty seven (87) sworn and six (6) civilian staff members. According to the Grand Junction Fire Department's latest annual report, the department responded to a total of 7, 703 calls for service of which 329 responses were strictly related to 37

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fire suppression incidents in 2004. Another 6,189 calls for service dealt mainly with emergency medical situations. The other calls for service addressed matters such as hazardous material response, mutual aid calls, false alarms, etc. (2005 GJFD Annual Report). Deployment The Grand Junction Fire Department has five (5) fire stations that are fully staffed by fire fighting personnel over a three shift time period. The department has identified the future need for additional fire stations in their jurisdiction via long range planning, although budgeting and funds had not been secured at the time of this research. The department has identified geographic regions where fire stations may be slated to go in the future as the city grows in population and urbanization expands. Those areas are located in the Pear Park neighborhood on the east side of the city (an area of high rates of annexation) and the more industrialized area of the city situated near the intersection of Interstate 70 and US Highway 6 & 50 (West). The department's long range planning efforts have identified an additional location for a possible eighth fire station in the Appleton neighborhood area situated northwest of Grand Junction. All of the areas identified with the exception of the Appleton neighborhood are located in the city's urban growth boundary. The Grand Junction Fire Department has an ISO rating(s) of 4/9. An ISO rating of four (4) is in an area typically located within the urbanized portion of the jurisdiction. The ISO rating of nine (9) is the current assessed rating for the remaining areas in the service area and is mainly a result of water supply issues. With regard to response time guidelines, the GJFD has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Guidelines), but does utilize the document's established response time standards by acknowledging the document by reference. The 38

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department strives to meet those very stringent deployment standards, despite the fact that they have not formally adopted NFPA 1710 officially. The Grand Junction Fire Department does follow the performance standards set up for EMS responses that were recently adopted by local government resolution. As stated previously, the Grand Junction Fire Department as a whole has historically exhibited a 6 minute response time (four or five stations involved dependent upon when statistics were gathered). In the absence of an officially adopted deployment standard such as NFPA 1710, the Grand Junction Fire Department engages in an internal trend analysis study of response times. This style of performance measurement, which measures and correlates personnel hours, staffing levels, and response times trends, was developed strictly for the Grand Junction Fire Department approximately twelve (12) years ago and the analysis is still consistently utilized by the department in order to measure the deployment effectives in the community. The Grand Junction Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Standards) because of a lack of current political/community will mainly based on the fiscal burdens that the national standards would require of the community (i.e. station distribution, high staffing level requirements, etc.) Although the Grand Junction Fire Department has identified the need for and supports the desire to have established deployment standards, they are currently concerned that NFPA 1710 response standards have not resulted in the expected outcomes. Planning for Development The Grand Junction Fire Department is guided by the 2000 International Fire Code. The comprehensive code addressed a multitude of development issues such as 39

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access, fire flow and construction parameters for development projects that are proposed and ultimately built in the service area. The Grand Junction Fire Department has adopted an internal strategic plan that addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the department will meet the challenges a growing community, however the plan was written approximately fifteen (15) years ago and its functionality and implementation strategies are reportedly a bit disjointed due to the lack of element updates. Because 15 years has passed, much of the plan is not applicable anymore because staffing, resources, apparatus and departmental policy have changed. The Grand Junction Fire Department is in the process of updating their strategic plan making it a broader, more comprehensive document that will set current goals, objectives, and action strategies to meet the community growth pressures that are currently present and/or sure to come in the near future. In the new strategic plan, the department plans to address personnel issues first, a thought-process that indicates that personnel matters are the foundation of the services they provide. One-third of the department's staff members (35 positions) will be fifty five years of age or older by the year 2012. One hundred percent (100%) of the department's current administration and command staff will fall within that category leaving the department concerned over how they plan to replace that base of knowledge and experience. Thus, training for department personnel in order to develop and enhance staff skill sets will likely be an essential ingredient when it comes time to draft the new strategic plan. Then, once the assessment of personnel issues has been completed, the strategic plan will address level of service standards. The strategic plan is expected to be completed in late 2006 and the goal is to review the document annually to ensure progress updates are recorded and new strategies are integrated. The Grand Junction Fire Department is starting to explore the possibility of becoming an accredited fire agency by meeting specific criteria as deemed 40

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appropriate by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, Inc. The department has determined that the accreditation process will be more effective in helping them address community growth pressures than the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) program that measures mainly resource related criteria (i.e. water availability). The GJFD feels that the accreditation process takes a broader, more comprehensive look at the entire organization and the community it serves by assessing many different components of the overall system such as fire loss statistics, suppression, prevention, hazardous materials and emergency medical services just to name a few. It is the perception of the GJFD, that the accreditation process forces fire departments to identify performance measurements which in turn requires an improvement plan that can be used to guide the future of the organization. The identified improvement plan, a set of strategies to help the department improve service levels for a growing community, will eventually integrate with or actually become the department's strategic plan. The accreditation process ensures that those plans are revisited frequently in order to assess the department's level of service standards and to correct any deficiencies that may be identified. The Grand Junction Fire Department is represented at development review meetings with local city planning officials on a weekly basis in order to discuss fire department requirements for newly proposed development projects in the area. Typically, the fire department is concerned with development factors such as access needs, street design standards, life safety matters and fire code requirements. Topics of special interest are also discussed when such development matters are brought to the department's attention. GJFD does not regularly participate in development review meetings with the Mesa County planning officials (unincorporated areas of the fire district). The fire department does assess new development from both the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County by reviewing proposed plans contained in agency review packets that are sent to the department by the local planning organizations. Proposed projects 41

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typically come in the form of residential subdivisions, commercial developments and multi-family residential plans. Issues that generally arise during the review process tend to deal with construction standards such as sprinkler plans (require a certification from engineer), fire door partitions, ingress/egress requirements, water delivery systems, hydrant spacing and alternative fire plans. The Grand Junction Fire Department does actively take part in community-wide planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans, or neighborhood plans. The fire department reports that they are afforded the opportunity to provide an extensive amount of input when it comes to long range planning efforts. The department takes part in community meetings, open houses, and comments on plan drafting. It has been described as a good process. Station placement needs and the effects that density has on level of service standards are just a few of the key issues that have been identified by the fire department in the past during long range planning efforts in the service area. The fire department has not played a significant role in the development of Mesa County's community wildfire protection plan since the city has limited wildfire risk with the exception of high vegetative areas along the Colorado River which dissects the Grand Junction metropolitan area. Issues and Thresholds The Grand Junction Fire Department perceives that the community has seen moderate growth as it relates to population in the last ten years, however their service area has decreased in that time frame because a portion of the rural fire protection district was discontinued when the Lands End Fire Protection District took over emergency response activities in the remote Whitewater, Colorado area. The fire department has experienced a gradual slowing in response times as 42

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population density, traffic congestion and call volumes have increased in the service area. The main ISSUES that were identified by the completely career Grand Junction Fire Department as being significant when addressing community growth concerns are internal strategic planning, deployment standards and development review standards. The first and foremost ISSUE identified by the department was the need for a more comprehensive strategic planning process previously discussed. While no tangible threshold(s) were identified, the department has determined that they intend to review the document's elements annually once the strategic plan update has been completed in late 2006. The fire department has identified the updated strategic plan as being central to their operations. The second ISSUE identified by the department was deployment standards. Although the Grand Junction Fire Department feels that the systematic establishment of deployment standards might benefit the fire service as a whole in general, there is some concern that those standards would not take in to account matters of local concern or issues unique to any given community. Thus, a standardized threshold with regard to response time has been established for the department. Currently, the fire department utilizes the internal trending analysis previously discussed. The tending analysis is dynamic and level of service response adjustments are made by command staff's assessment of the circumstances based on their training and experience. The fire department has indicated that simply building new fire stations might not be the only answer to response time deficiencies when they arise, but rather, deployment issues may be addressed by re-assigning or obtaining new equipment and personnel to various stations already having a set location in the network. For instance, a station might be experiencing a high call volume in a particular area of the city. The impacts of 43

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placing a second company at the existing fire station that is affected or utilizing another station (overlap coverage) that is in close proximity to the area of increased calls might be more efficient and fiscally responsible than actually building a new station to accommodate the higher call volume. Although fiscal considerations and efficiency are always of great concern, another important factor must be considered when addressing deployment concerns and that is community sentiment and local political will. The construction of new stations and the identification of acceptable community response time standards are sometimes outside the control of local fire departments because those factors are driven by community opinion and consensus. The third and final ISSUE identified by the Grand Junction Fire Department was the desire to continue with the efforts to generally address development review requirements as dictated by informal and formally adopted policies, guidelines and codes. A tangible threshold was not identified, nor likely would one be applicable, with regard to development review desires. The Grand Junction Fire Department currently attends a multitude of development review meetings with city planning staff and as well as consistently reviews agency review packets concerning new development projects in both the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County. Furthermore, the fire department is actively represented at long range planning projects such as master plan updates and area neighborhood plans where significant issues such as housing density, population density and land use types (i.e. industrial, commercial, residential). The fire department supports community development plans such as mixed use developments that intermingles different types of housing types (e.g. single-family residences, multi-family) and diverse land uses (e.g. light commercial, high density residential), although the department suggests that light to heavy industrial uses should be distinctly separated from other land use types. 44

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Unique The Grand Junction Fire Department identified one ISSUE that they have deemed to be a unique circumstance when it comes to their service area and in general, western Colorado. The Grand Junction Fire Department is the largest agency on the western slope serving the largest community between the City of Denver and Salt Lake City. The City of Grand Junction would likely resemble a suburban city on the outskirts of a major urban center if it were located in one of those two metropolitan areas. But since its location is on the western slope of Colorado, the City of Grand Junction is the region's urban center and the fire department's service area resembles that of an island in isolation. The fire department must be self dependent when it comes to delivering efficient emergency and fire related services. Appropriate levels of equipment, personnel and other resources are a must if the department is going to meet the needs of an ever growing, ever changing Grand Valley population. It must be understood that mutual aid for any given major incident if needed would be located far away and would have a significantly long response time should the Grand Junction Fire Department require additional support. With that in mind, the community should be cognizant that a major incident such as a high-rise fire located towards the top of one of the city's tallest structures, a large office building in the downtown area, would likely present a significant challenge to the fire department both in terms of personnel deployment (the incident would likely need the entire department), equipmenUapparatus and fire suppression strategy (limited water supply source). Because of the city's isolation from other departments and cities of comparable size, the Grand Junction Fire Department would have limited help for a significant period of time to meet the challenge of such a high-risk, major emergency response event. The lack of a significant amount of mutual aid availability, coupled with the City of Grand Junction's existing built environment and isolation in rural western Colorado make for a truly unique circumstance when it comes to planning for the pressures that community growth has presented over the last two to three decades. 45

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City of Grand Junction Growth Plan The City of Grand Junction's Growth Plan adopted in 1996 and last updated in 2003 has specifically identified service dilemmas due to a "rapid urbanization of unincorporated areas surrounding the City." In the 1980s, a significant amount of population growth had occurred within the urbanized areas of Mesa County. The unincorporated areas surrounding the City of Grand Junction had grown at a rate of 27% while the City's population grew at a rate of 3.2%. Annexation of unincorporated areas and interagency coordination with county and other service providers (i.e. fire districts) were identified as being the two main issues that would help the City alleviate the problem to an extent and help provide adequate urban services in an equitable manner. (GJ Growth Plan 1-5). According to the City of Grand Junction's community data book, the annexation effort "accelerated" the City's growth rate. Besides annexation techniques, another key component of the City's municipal growth plan was to development better coordination with other agencies such as Mesa County and area special districts mainly involved in water delivery, sanitation, and fire protection. A desire for meaningful interagency coordination and planning of areas that will one day be in the City of Grand Junction are an integral part of the growth plan as it will assist planners with ensuring that patterns of development come about in a logical manner that does not strain public facilities and services. The City's Growth Plan does an excellent job of identify pertinent demographic information that will allow for a proper assessment of existing conditions as well as projected conditions. The section called a "Context for Planning" provided an overall analysis of the natural environment, the built environment and population statistics (i.e. aging, employment, school, housing, poverty and household populations). All three of the elements will have a significant affect on growth in the area and will provide the City with a basis when it comes to determining adequate 46

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levels of services delivery standards that will be needed to meet future demands. Although identifying those issues are a first step in the process, the City has determined that coordination with county and special districts is key to the overall success when it comes to managing growth and the delivery of adequate services. The only way that a comprehensive solution to growth related pressures can be obtained is by sharing ideas and plans, developing common standards, creating overlay districts, coordinating city/county reviews of proposed development and by working together to maintain adequate levels of services (GJ Growth Plan 5-6) A major issue identified by the City of Grand Junction was the ability to responsibly manage community growth by working in a coordinated effort with Mesa County and other service providers to prohibit the extension of services to developments that do not adhere to the jointly adopted plans and regulations. It is the goal of the growth plan to require that adequate public facilities and services are present or can be present to serve a proposed development within the city or in the unincorporated areas of the county. The growth plan sets policy that "the City and County will adopt consistent urban level of service and concurrency standards for the following services: water, wastewater, streets, fire stations, schools and storm water management". Since water distribution and fire protection goes hand in hand, another policy was set up that states the city "will develop and maintain a supply of water and a distribution system that will meet existing and future domestic and fire protection demands throughout the City's water service area" (GJ Growth Plan 20). City of Montrose The City of Montrose is located in the center of the Uncompahgre Valley near the intersection of US Highways 50 & 550 in Montrose County, Colorado. Montrose was first settled in 1881 and became an incorporated town in 1882. The City of 47

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Montrose is situated at 5, 794 feet above sea level and sees little snow accumulations in the winter months. The city is in close proximity to natural wonders like the San Juan Mountains, Black Canyon National Park and the Uncompahgre Plateau. The city's early years centered on agriculture and serving various mining settlements in the San Juan Mountain region (City of Montrose Website). Figure 4.3 Development in the City of Montrose According to the US Census Bureau, Montrose had a permanent population of 8,854 people in 1990, but that statistic had grown to 12,344 residents in the year 2000. The City of Montrose's population as of 2004 was estimated to be at 14,771 permanent residents. The Montrose region is considered to be the 18th fastest growing "micropoliton" area in the United States. A micropoliton area as defined by the US Census 48

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Bureau is a core municipality of 10,000 people but a regional population of no more than 50,000 people. Approximately 36,000 permanent residents called the Montrose area home in 2003 (Daily Sentinel Sept. 2005). The City of Montrose has seen steady growth for many years since its incorporation, but now seems to have embarked on a brisker pace with regard to community growth as new subdivisions and commercial areas dot the once agricultural landscape. Montrose Fire Protection District The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Bob Pistor. The Montrose Fire Protection District serves an estimated population of 29,000 people within a land area of about 186 square miles (Fire Protection) and 1000 square miles (Emergency Medical Services). The district is considered to be located in a mixed land pattern area which includes urban, suburban and rural settings. The Montrose Fire Department consists of both career and volunteer personnel. There are twenty two (22) career and twenty volunteer personnel (eight volunteers are paid reserves who assist with staffing gap coverage). The Montrose Fire Protection District has one (1) fire station that is staffed by six (6) firefighters per shift (three shifts in all). 49

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Figure 4.4 MFPD Fire Station Deployment The Montrose Fire Protection District only has one fire station which is located in a residential area near downtown Montrose, but the district is asking for two new fire stations to be funded by mill levy in the upcoming local elections later in the year. A citizen's group in the locality is supporting the initiative. If approved by the voters, the first fire station would be built and staffed within the next year, while the construction of the second new fire station would be initiated in five years. The proposed stations would be a welcome addition to the district and should help alleviate response times that were greater than four minutes in coverage areas outside the main urban core of Montrose. 50

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The department has an ISO rating of 5/10. An ISO rating of five (5) is in an area typically within or just outside the city limits of Montrose. The ISO rating of ten (10) is currently the assessed rating for areas in the rural portions of the district. The average emergency response time for MFPD is estimated to be four (4) minutes within the area considered to be Montrose proper and more than four (4) minutes in areas outside of the City of Montrose. The Montrose Fire Protection District is quite large and extends in some rural remote areas. For instance, a portion of the MFPD extends clear to the south along Hwy 550 in Ouray County. Since MFPD has only one fire station, it is not uncommon for a response time to exceed twenty (20) minutes sometimes. The MFPD has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Guidelines), but does utilize the document's established response time standards as a best practice policy. In the absence of an officially adopted response time standard such as NFPA 1710, the MFPD has engaged in dialogue with the citizen's group that supports the construction of two new fire stations regarding their desired set of response time standards. The citizen group reportedly would like a five-minute response time standard established from both the current and future stations. The MFPD has not recognized this proposed standard and the community is still engaging in dialog regarding what response time standards are desired. Planning for Development The Montrose Fire Protection District is guided by two different formal fire codes, one for the City of Montrose and one for Montrose County. The City of Montrose utilizes the 2003 International Fire Code as well as the 2003 International Building Code, while Montrose County uses the 1997 Uniform Fire Code and the 1997 Uniform Building Code. 51

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The Montrose Fire Protection District has adopted a district-wide strategic plan that addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the district meets the challenges that community growth pressures will present in the years to come. The plan outlines a multitude of goals and objectives as well as strategy for addressing each of those identified issues. The document serves as a guide for the department and is reviewed and updated accordingly every two years. The current strategic plan has identified several significant areas that need attention additional fire stations, address equipment/apparatus concerns, and the possible likelihood of an organizational transformation to a completely career department within 6 to 7 years. A representative of the Montrose Fire Protection District regularly attends development review meetings with planners from the City of Montrose on a weekly basis in an effort to review newly proposed developments. The MFPD is not a regular attendee of development review meetings with Montrose County planning officials. The district does receive agency review packets from each of the jurisdictions in order assess the development aspects of new projects in the area. It would appear that the majority of the new development in the region is taking place in close proximity to the City of Montrose and that leads to annexation typically. Development criteria that are of major concern to the fire district which is addressed through the agency review process have been identified as access, hydrant placement and in some cases, the type of land use proposed. Although the fire district does not comment normally on land use and zoning matters as long as the fire code requirements are met, sometimes the district plays a significant role as to whether a project gets approval or not via the public hearing process. For instance, in the past there have been a few large-scale industrial proposals in unincorporated Montrose County which due to there rural location exhibited an extreme deficiency in the availability of water. It was identified that should a major incident, or a minor 52

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one for that matter, occur at the proposed industrial site, the lack of water availability would have severely hindered fire department operations placing life and property possibly at risk. The proposal for the industrial use was not approved. In addition to subdivision plats, commercial site plans and industrial development projects, the Montrose Fire Protection District also reviews construction plans for all of the structures associated with those development projects (commercial structures, multi-family structures, etc.) with the exception of single-family residences and duplex style homes. The Montrose Fire Protection District does actively take part in community-wide planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans and neighborhood plans. The fire district reports that they have been given the opportunity to make comment on varied long-range plans in the region and utilize that time to address future station placement concerns if warranted. The fire district also plays a significant role when it comes to city annexations. A newly proposed annexation of a 900-acre master planned community consisting of somewhat high housing densities of mostly single-family residences was recently discussed with the project developers and the City of Montrose. A small commercial component of low intensity businesses was likely going to be apart of the project as well. A major issue arose when the plan for the housing development indicated that one access point for ingress and egress was proposed for the entire project. The fire district made comment on the proposal stating additional access points were necessary and have been in negotiations with the project developers in an attempt to secure acreage for a future fire station because of the severe impact the development would have on level of services. The annexation is proposed in an area where the fire district has determined that response times could benefit from the construction and staffing of a new fire station. 53

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The Montrose Fire Protection District has actively taken part in the drafting of the Montrose community wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that discuss significant community wildfire related issues that should be identified in the draft plan. The plan has not yet been adopted and is being facilitated by the Department of Emergency Management of Montrose County. Issues and Thresholds The Montrose Fire Protection District perceives that the community has seen heavy growth as it relates to population and service area increases in the last ten years when compared to the Montrose region of a decade ago. Although the actual fire response district has not grown in the last decade, in 1999 the district took over emergency medical services from a private company and expanded their response area to roughly 1000 square miles. The fire district feels as though community growth pressures in the Montrose area have significantly affected fire district levels of service. One contributing factor is an increase in call volume. The fire district has responded to 1,858 calls for service between January and September of 2005. Of those calls for service, 304 of them (16% of the total) came at a time when their district was already on another call for service. The district has determined that is a significant trend that will likely affect staffing levels and response times and warrants tracking for future evaluation. Another factor that the fire district has deemed a significant indicator of growth is the amount of calls the district receives in a day per month. For example, between September 1 and 22 of 2005, the district experienced six (6) days when they responded to ten (1 0) or more calls for service in a single day. The fire district also has deemed this analysis significant and has started to track the information for evaluation purposes on a monthly basis. The daily call for service analysis had not been done in years past. 54

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The main ISSUES that were identified by the Montrose Fire Protection District as being significant when addressing community growth concerns are deployment issues (stations and personnel), continued involvement in the entire urban and regional planning process, transportation planning efforts, and internal strategic planning. The district has determined that these levels of service ISSUES are important because it is imperative that the fire district maintain effective and efficient service levels as the community grows while also avoiding strains that may negatively impact equipment, apparatus and personnel. The first ISSUE identified by the fire district was the need to address new stations and personnel matters as the community continues to grow at a rapid pace. Obtaining permission to build new fire stations and staffing those stations are a major priority for the Montrose Fire Protection District due to the increase in call volumes that presently exist and the increase they are sure to see should the area's population and development patterns expand. The district however has not yet established a standardized threshold with regard to performance measurements that would assist them with explaining the need for new stations and personnel to constituents. As previously touched upon, the fire district currently utilizes the informally adopted response time guideline of four (4) minutes with regard to desired deployments standards. This response time standard serves as a sort of best practices guideline for the district at the moment and is not officially recorded in any district wide policy or standard. The fire district will be exploring the need to establish formal response time standards when they update their internal strategic plan and if the newly proposed fire stations and personnel are approved by the local community. The second ISSUE identified by the fire district was the ability to remain actively involved in the entire comprehensive planning process with area community development departments. The Montrose Fire Protection District did not identify a particular threshold that would assist them with dealing with the growth of their 55

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community, however the district felt the current review system worked well and that they would prefer to at least maintain the level of review with regard to development projects and community plans that they have currently. The fire district sticks to the notation that it is imperative they are afforded the opportunity to discuss development issues at the pre-planning stages to avoid problems and coordinate fire service needs in the newly developed communities of the Montrose Fire Protection District. The third ISSUE identified by the fire district was the desire to become more integrated into local and regional transportation planning efforts. The fire district has just started to become more involved in the process. They meet with local officials from a diverse set of groups (i.e. planning, public works, and police) about every two weeks in order to review significant transportation issues that may have a affect on level of service standards, particularly emergency response times. The fire district provided an example by advising that a new beltway has been in the discussing for the area that would essentially loop around various portions of the city. However, preliminary plans for the beltway indicated that the thoroughfare would cross actively used railroad tracks at approximately five areas, thus limiting emergency service response times should a train be presently stopped or moving thorough the Montrose area. The fire district felt their perspective on the matter has contributed significantly to the community discussion being held on the Beltway topic. Because of the important role transportation planning plays when shaping a community and guiding development patterns, the fire district would like to remain involved in the current process as well as maintain the two week meeting timeframe as an interagency cooperation threshold. The fourth and final ISSUE identified by the fire district was the need to consistently review and update the district's internal strategic plan. The process is a dynamic one and priorities often change as the local community within the service district develops and expands. The fire district would like to maintain the current standard 56

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of two years when it comes to reviewing and making adjustments to the internal strategic plan for the Fire district. Unique The Montrose Fire Protection District did not specifically identify any ISSUES or THRESHOLDS that were unique to their particular district or the western slope in general; however the district did provide insight into how they perceive themselves as an island on the western slope of Colorado when it comes to mutual aid concerns. Major incidents, like with any fire departments across the United States, present a significant challenge to the Montrose Fire Protection District when it comes to deploying the appropriate amount of resources and personnel to combat an emergency situation. Montrose is surrounded by the rural high county landscape that typifies western Colorado and because of that rural setting, mutual aid requests to help assist with a major incident in the Montrose region would have to come from a significant distance. Grand Junction has the only major all career fire department on the western slope and their response time to a mutual aid request would be hampered by distance. The rest of the surrounding fire departments in the tri-county region (Mesa, Delta and Montrose) are either all volunteer or a combination of career and volunteer personnel. Although the services of volunteers fire fighters are highly respected by the Montrose Fire Protection District, the use of volunteers presents a significant challenge when attempting to meet personnel deployment standards, thus relying on volunteer organizations to answer the call for mutual aid with the needed personnel and resources at times can be questionable due to staff shortages and other obligations the volunteers might have to address. In essence, the district perceives that mutual aid can be difficult to depend on due to their isolated geographical location and other department situation!? with regard to staffing types and levels. Based on those circumstances, the Montrose Fire Protection District strives to be self 57

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sufficient as they must rely on their own resources to address matters of community concern. City of Montrose Comprehensive Plan The Montrose Comprehensive plan, last revised in 1998, seems to generally take an active approach when it comes to integrating fire services as an element of the community based plan. In chapter three, policy 14, the document encourages the establishment of coordination and cooperation among city departments and other regional entities. A general policy statement encourages better coordination and improved working relationships with other entities like the fire protection district so that the citizens of the community benefit in a more positive manner (Montrose Comp Plan 3-7). Chapter six, the public facilities and services section, states the city's comprehensive plan was put in place to "ensure that future public facilities development coincides with future population growth within the city." A major issue that was identified by the plan as being deficient was that the number of fire stations and fire personnel had not kept pace with growth in the area. As a result, a general objective was established indicating that future growth would need to be supported by adequate community facilities, including fire protection, in order to serve proposed property types and project population densities. It became an official policy of the City of Montrose that proper coordination with affected agencies such as the fire protection district concerning plans for future municipal growth would be required (Montrose Comp Plan 6-1). This statement would also apply to coordination between city utilities such as the water department. A specific goal listed in the Montrose comprehensive plan was to ensure that adequate fire protection was available for all properties within the city limits. A 58

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broad objective of this realistic goal was to "strive to improve fire safety for all residents and property owners" by developing standards for water pressure and storage and by coordinating development proposals which impact water services with the fire protection district. In addition, the City of Montrose also made it a policy to try and improve the community's fire ratings and water service to areas with industrial uses (Montrose Comp Plan 6-5). The comprehensive plan provides a good general overview of the Montrose Fire protection District. The plan reports that the existing fire station was of adequate size as related to population statistics, but staffing levels were deficient when it came to serving a community of Montrose's size according to the National Fire Protection Association. The plan indicated that response times were increasing and adequate funding for staffing improvements were not available at the time the plan was drafted. The city enjoyed a quick five-minute response time, but residents outside the city limits saw a greater 18-minute response time. The City of Montrose concluded that a quick response to an emergency in the city limits might be unnecessarily delayed if the fire department had been dispatched to a call in the rural area in the same time frame. The comprehensive plan identified that an additional fire station would likely serve the community more appropriately and efficiently. A fire service study conducted in 1994 identified two locations in the community as being appropriate for the placement of future fire stations based on calls for service and future development patterns. One fire station would be located five miles to the south and another approximately five miles west of the city. Funding for the construction of the stations had not been secured at the time the comprehensive plan had been drafted (Montrose Comp Plan 6-10). An implementation action program was established by the city's comprehensive plan and indicates that the construction of a second fire station plus additional staffing would be promoted within a one to two year time frame in order to meet safety standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. A third fire station for the district would be promoted in the six to twenty year time frame. The 59

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addition of two fire stations would be dependent upon the key participants like citizen voters (i.e. mill levy), fire district official, as well as city and county officials (Montrose Comp Plan 9-1). City of Delta The City of Delta is located in a large agricultural valley at the confluence of the Gunnison and Uncompahgre Rivers in Delta County, Colorado. Delta is the county seat and is center to the area's commercial and governmental services. Figure 4.5 City of Delta Commercial Area Known as the "City of Murals", Delta boasts a large number of beautiful murals that adorn the sides of old buildings in the city center. The City of Delta lies at 4,980 feet above sea level and is in close proximity to recreational opportunities in the 60

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Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests. The climate is mild in the area as the average annual snowfall is limited to 16 inches. Agriculture is still a way of life in Delta as the area is home to a multitude of orchards, wineries and other agricultural operations (Delta Area development Inc Website). The City of Delta had 3,789 permanent residents in 1990, but grew to 6,400 residents by the year 2000. Population statistics for the city were estimated to be at 8,064 in the year 2004 (US Census). According to an article published by the Delta County Independent in March of 2001, the entire county had an increase in population of 33% between 1990 and 2000. According to that same article, the City of Delta increased its population by an estimated 68.9% during that same time frame. Like much of the western slope, the City of Delta consistently sees in excess of 300 days of sunshine each year making the area a desirable place to live, work and play. It is no wonder that community has seen significant population growth in recent decades. Delta Fire Protection District The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Volunteer Fire Chief Adam Suppes. The Delta Fire Protection District serves an estimated population of 14,000 residents within a land area of about 236 square miles. The district is considered to be located in an urban and rural setting. Limited suburban type development appears to be located in the district. The Delta Fire Department is a completely volunteer organization, including the Fire Chief, and has responded to 146 calls for 61

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service with regard to fire suppression and rescue efforts between August 2004 and August 2005. Figure 4.6 DFPD Fire Station The department does not have an EMS component and does not conduct formal code inspections, but has on occasion taken part in informal inspections of daycare facilities, schools, and assisted living centers when requested. Deployment The Delta Fire Department has one fire station and like many volunteer organizations, the station remains un-staffed until a need arises that would require personnel to be present. The department has an ISO rating of 6/9. The ISO rating of 6 is perceived to generally cover the urban portion of the City of Delta, while the 62

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ISO rating of 9 covers the rural areas of the district. The average response time for the fire & rescue responses is estimated to be at about 1 0 to 12 minutes due to the district's size; however they have an 8 minute estimated response when it comes to structure fires. The Delta Fire Department has not adopted an internal response time guideline that might take the place of NFPA 1710 (Response time guidelines}. Planning for Development The Delta Fire Protection District has not adopted a formal fire code or any other National Fire Protection Association (NFPA} standards that could be used as a guide to address community growth related concerns although personnel consults NFPA documents as guidelines when needed. The Delta Fire Department has not drafted or adopted a district wide strategic plan or master plan that addresses community growth and internal department concerns as to how the district might deal with growth related concerns. The perception prevalent as to why the department has not drafted a strategic plan is a lack of citizen and political will to move forward. Historically, Delta County has not entirely adopted zoning and building codes that would addresses development (The City of Delta does have zoning standards that must be met when development takes place}. There has been some discussion on the topic of hiring a possible fire district director that would handle administrative duties such as strategic planning, administrative processes and the adoption and administration of relevant fire codes and standards. The Delta Fire Protection District will attend coordinated development review meetings with county and city planning authorities, but they attend those meetings 63

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only if requested and attendance is sporadic with the County of Delta and less so with the City of Delta. The Fire District's role at the development review meetings when they do attend mainly deals with development criteria desires that address access issues, tum radius' for cui-de-sacs (i.e. 60 degree turn radius), and hydrant placement (i.e. hydrant located at every intersection and/or within 1,000 feet of each other in rural areas and no more than 500 feet from a property.) The Delta Fire Protection District reviews and does comment on proposed development projects in both Delta County and the City of Delta via agency review packet information. The typical project reviewed by the district comes in the form of subdivisions. Like in development review meetings, the district is mainly concerned with development criteria associated access, t1:1rning radii, and hydrant placement (fire flow is also a concern, however the area's fire flow is considered to be quite positive based on the gravity fed systems including a 27 inch water line that comes from the Montrose region providing a more than acceptable per-square inch (240 PSI) pressure). The majority of the agency review requests come from the Delta County Planning Department, however on occasion they will receive a request from the city to make comment on a particular project or for the pre-planning of hydrant locations. The District may not be an integral part of the development review process (meetings, agency review packets, etc.) due to their status as a completely volunteer department and due to the fact that the district has not adopted any relevant fire codes and/or standards. The district does not take part in construction plan reviews, other than school reviews as they are required by the State of Colorado to have the local fire department take part in the process. The district has not taken part in major community-wide planning efforts such as Master Plan Updates, Rural Area Plans, or neighborhood plans. It should be noted that the City of Delta Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 1997 according to city planning staff (Fire Chief Suppes has worked in that capacity for the last 2 years). The County of Delta has been actively working on a community wildfire 64

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protection plan and the Delta Fire District has been taking part in that planning process by attending meetings and providing comments. The District perceives that the community has seen moderate growth as it relates to population and service area increases in the last ten years. The land area that the district covers has grown an estimated 30 to 40 percent and calls for fire service have steadily increased over the years. The district has attempted to deal with these growth pressures by adding six (6) additional volunteers to the fire department, however simply adding personnel has proven difficult because in a volunteer environment it at times has been difficult to retain manpower at previous levels let along with the additional crew members (i.e. # of volunteers, the time of day, time of year, all appear to play a significant role in when a volunteer firefighter can respond to call for service). Issues and Thresholds The main ISSUES that were identified by the completely volunteer Delta Fire Protection District as being significant when addressing community growth concerns in the district were not directly associated with planning related principles, but did indirectly correlate with that process. The first ISSUE identified by the district was the training and retention of qualified volunteer firefighters. Due to staff shortages and volunteer turnover, the district consistently believes it is playing catch up with regard to personnel retention matters. Community growth will likely require additional personnel and retaining current volunteers will be a significant priority for the district. The District does not have a formal written standard or established threshold with regard to how much staff will be required at a particular call for service, but they have informally established a best-practice of twelve (12) volunteer firefighters needed to combat a 65

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rural daytime structure fire. This informal number was established by assessing individual tasks that volunteer firefighters might need to accomplish during the incident. Those tasks and corresponding staffing requirements are: One firefighter per piece of apparatus at the scene. One fire officer to direct at scene. Two firefighter attack team. Two firefighter back up team. Water supply crews needed to address needs of water supply shuttle operation which consist of tenders shuffling water from the nearest hydrant to a reservoir tank that is attached to Fire Engine on scene (staffing dependant operation size). The second ISSUE identified was the ability to obtain a district administrative director to assist the fire chief with matters such as departmental strategic planning, the possible adoption of fire related codes and by dealing with the day to day practical administrative matters of the district. A fire district threshold has not or cannot be established to measure this need or performance. The third ISSUE identified by the district was the desire to identify and adopt fire related codes (i.e. NFPA standards, etc.) that can be utilized in the district to help manage existing and future conditions in the district. A fire district threshold has not or cannot be established to measure this need or performance. The fourth ISSUE that was identified was the need for a separate substation in the area that is referred to as North Delta. This station would not be a personnel staffed structure, but would rather house useful fire suppression apparatus. The district has not identified the need to staff the desired second station based on perceptions that two separate locations when it comes to monitoring volunteer staff would be more complex than managing those resources from one central location. 66

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However, the district has identified that if a substation was constructed in the North Delta area, then apparatus would be housed there in an attempt limit high response times and to assure that the fire equipment needed was readily available in the region affected. A final ISSUE that was discussed was fire flow criteria. Although in most areas, the reported fire flow in the Delta Fire Protection District is at acceptable levels, the department is still tasked informally with establishing fire flow requirements by working with local community development departments. Through the subdivision process, the fire district reviews plans and subdivision layouts in order to determine if the identified threshold, an appropriate 6-inch water line, has been proposed and where hydrant's will be placed according to previously discussed location criteria (i.e. intersections, 1000 feet apart) Unique The district did not identify any ISSUES or THRESHOLDS that were unique to the Delta Fire Protection District or the western slope in general, however the water supply shuttle operation was considered somewhat of a unique process that the district often must employ to effectively and efficiently fight structural fires. Another circumstance that is not particularly unique to either the fire district or the western slope, but is considered unique to a their all volunteer organization is the district felt that it had a sufficient amount of good quality apparatus and equipment because the department could secure and guide funding towards the purchasing of such equipment rather than spending significant sums of funding on full-time employees (FTEs). 67

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City of Delta Comprehensive Plan The City of Delta's Comprehensive Plan was last updated in 1997, although the community is considering an update in the near future. The current comprehensive plan as it relates to fire protection appears to be limited as the plan briefly discusses emergency services as a whole by providing a few goal orientated statements. The City's Comprehensive Plan indicates that the goal is to "ensure rapid, efficient, and economical emergency services within the community" and is guided by playing an active role in the "Delta County Emergency Planning Committee." A desired set of actions associated with addressing community growth concerns were identified and included statements that called for a reduction in emergency response times, better coordination and participation in county-wide emergency preparedness plans, and to review subdivision specifications with emergency service providers. The comprehensive plan listed a generic statement under the action section that read "plan for growth of services as the City grows and expands", however the document did not elaborate on the particulars that would accomplish that task (Delta Comp Plan 28-29). City of Glenwood Springs The City of Glenwood Springs is located at 5, 7 46 feet above sea level along the Colorado River in Garfield County, Colorado. The city is situated on the west side of beautiful Glenwood Canyon at the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 82. The City of Glenwood Springs is within a short distance drive of two world class ski resorts, Aspen and Vail. Glenwood Springs is considered to be in an alpine climate as the area receives an average of 67 inches in snow annually. Because the city serves as both a commercial center and resort town, it is well known for its retail, recreational and cultural amenities. The City of Glenwood is surrounded by spectacular Colorado scenery which draws thousands of visitors to the area each 68

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year to enjoy skiing at Sunlight Mountain, taking a dip in the hot springs pools, hiking the local alpine meadows or simply fishing in the region's gold medal waters. Figure 4.7 City of Glenwood Springs Downtown Core The City of Glenwood Springs had a permanent population of 6,561 residents in 1990. In 2000, the resident population had increased to 7,736 and was estimated to be at 8,475 permanent residents in 2004. During the 2000 census, the municipality's land area was 4.80 square miles and population density statistics per square mile was 1,611 (US Census Bureau). Glenwood Springs Fire Department The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Michael Piper. 69

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The Glenwood Springs Fire Department serves an estimated fulltime resident population of 20,000 people within a land area of about 72 total square miles. Figure 4.8 GSFD Station #2 Since the City of Glenwood Springs sees a significant amount of tourist visitors and because it is the county seat of Garfield County, its population rises to about 30,000 visitors daily. The fire department is a municipal department of the City of Glenwood Springs, but also serves an additional 64 square miles that encompasses the fire district outside the city limits, much of which is located in unincorporated areas of the county. The district is considered to be located in a mixed land use pattern area which includes urban and suburban settings. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department currently employs 20 career sworn firefighters and 1 civilian administrative assistant. The organization has 2 regular volunteers and 7 reservists that supplement career personnel. The Glenwood 70

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to offset impacts caused by the development. After four years, the development has not yet been built. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has an ISO rating of 4/9. An ISO rating of four (4) is typically within areas where hydrants are present and water is more readily available, in this case the urban core and surrounding areas. The ISO rating of nine (9) is currently the assessed rating for areas that do not meet those parameters mostly in situations that exhibit a more rural like appearance within the service area. For the most part, the service area boasts an excellent water supply that meets fire flow needs as there are 597 fire hydrants that can be utilized to suppress fire. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Guidelines) and has not established a set of benchmark response times that would act as a best practices model. The organization has not received a directive from the community that would suggest that a maximum response time criteria be established. The GSFD has indicted that adopting NFPA 1710 is unrealistic in their current state as they operate on a daily basis with minimum staffing levels. It is also not uncommon that the fire department responds to incidents outside their fire district because the need presents it self and no other agency has been assigned to do the task. An example of this would be a hurt hiker on the long steep trail that leads to hanging lake located within Glenwood Canyon. Such a call could take hours as the effort would likely include hiking to the victim, treatment and then a transport back down the mountain. Because each fire station is staffed by only two firefighters, that would take one of the stations out of commission and another station, again with only two firefighters, from farther away would need to fill the gap. Although the fire department has not yet adopted or identified a set of response time standards, the organization has adopted a maximum standard that they feel is within their ability to address and that is turn-out time. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department identified the appropriate turn-out 72

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time as being one minute or less, thus at least expediting their initial response to an emergency call. Planning for Development The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has adopted and is guided by the 2003 International Fire Code when assessing development proposals within their jurisdiction. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has not adopted a district-wide strategic plan at this time; however the department recognizes the importance of such a document and has engaged in discussions with city administration officials in an attempt to start the process. The fire department has already significantly addressed deficiencies in terms of needed stations and replacing old apparatus and other equipment in the year 2000 when the organization asked for and received permission from the voters to pass a bond. If and when the fire department starts the strategic planning process, it has already been determined that the main focus of the document would be to address personnel needs in terms of staffing levels. In essence, the fire department feels that identifying a benchmarking process in terms of response times would not be an attainable goal if the department was unable to realistically meet the standard due to limited staffing levels. Thus, the organization has determined that personnel safety and the need to respond quickly and with appropriate resources is the key component to the department's overall success at this juncture in time. A representative of Glenwood Springs Fire Department does not typically attend development review meetings with community planners from city and county governments; however they will meet with private developers who desire to talk about code criteria that will be required for their development. The organization 73

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has identified a lack of personnel and a lack of time as being the reason as to why they do not attend development review meetings on a regular basis. The department has one fire prevention officer and that employee's time is limited due to the amount of assignments that person has currently. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department also receives agency review packets associated with all new development and major projects from local community development departments. This process is utilized to make comment on development standards that the proposed project must adhere to. Typical development criteria that the department is concerned with are access, road width, grading and water supply. It was at this time, that the fire department was able to secure property for a possible fourth fire station in the planned unit development that was previously discussed. The GSFD has also taken a proactive approach when it comes to trying to contact homeowners who have applied to the county to build a single family home in the fire district that is over 5,000 square feet. The fire department has asked county officials to send such proposals to them so that they can meet with the home owners and discuss the opportunities and constraints that might present themselves when they build their new home in areas that may have limited access or fire flows. The fire department utilizes the meetings as an education tool and to discuss citizen expectations should they be based on where the citizen came from and not based on existing conditions there in the Glenwood Springs area. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department does in limited ways take part in many community-wide planning efforts such as comprehensive plan updates, rural area plans and neighborhood plans. The fire chief is considered a risk manager and therefore the department will interface with other governmental departments such as public works and planning regarding issues that are more geared towards the 74

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fire department such as fire flows, grades, street planning and the urban/wildfire interface. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department has actively taken part in the drafting of the local community's wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that discuss significant community wildfire related issues that take place in and around the City of Glenwood Springs. The organization has identified high risk areas around the city and district that may be subject to possible wildfire situations. Issues and Thresholds The Glenwood Springs Fire Department perceives that the community has seen moderate growth as it relates to population increase in the last ten years, but their emergency response service area has not grown in land area in the last decade. The fire department feels as though community growth pressures in the Glenwood Springs area have significantly affected fire district levels of service. As stated previously, the city is the county seat and serves as a regional hub for commercial, industrial and tourism enterprises and welcomes a total daytime population of roughly 30,000 people. This concern will be further exacerbated due to the influx of the oil and gas industry as workers and industrial companies move to the area and by a major commercial project involving large big box developments that house corporations like Target, Lowes, and other significant large scale retail projects in the West Glenwood Springs region. Thus, the organization does expect an increase in service demands as the community grows and develops further. The main ISSUES that were identified by the Glenwood Springs Fire Department as being significant when addressing community growth concerns were providing meaningful fire service, retention and training of personnel and obtaining adequate 75

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staffing levels to address emergency situations. Since all relate to personnel matters, the three common issues have been consolidated into one common issue. The most critical ISSUE identified by GSFD was the need to identify and meet a minimum threshold in the community where the department could provide meaningful fire and emergency response services. The organization has determined that they have never caught up with the past community growth and this has detracted from the department's current ability to respond to today's emergency situation with adequate resources. It is believed that the Glenwood Springs Fire Department of the past did not effectively plan for future community growth as calls for service increased, but rather maintained a status quo. In addition, volunteer firefighters are difficult to hire, coordinate, keep trained and to ultimately retain. Moreover, the fire service is required to do more now than in decades past (i.e. swift water rescue) and customer expectations can be both too high and simply unattainable at times. All of these factors place a significant strain on current staffing levels and other resources within the fire department. As the community reaches a build-out scenario, the department would like to be ready to meet the needs of the community with regard to staffing levels. The organization feels that they currently operate in a fashion that resembles a hybrid system that is constantly trying to address basic staffing level issues while at the same time attempting to deliver efficient and professional fire and emergency services. In essence, the fire department is trying to focus on obtaining basic resources that they must have to operate effectively (i.e. appropriate staffing levels}, rather than obtaining resources that simply are luxuries to have. Currently, the fire department indicates that it does not meet the generally accepted standard of 1 fire fighter per 1,000 residents. There are two firefighters at each of the three fire stations during any given time. Those two staff members address all aspects of emergency response including fire suppression, rescue efforts and emergency medical calls for service. If one of the two person teams has been 76

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dispatch to an incident, that leaves a gap in the overall system that must be plugged by personnel from another fire station which in many instances is farther away from the emergency call than is desirable. The limited staffing issue also leaves no room for station coverage when vacation or sick leave is taken by the current personnel. On at least one occasion the fire department had to shut down one of the fire stations for an entire day due to shortages in staffing levels leaving the city and district protected by two of the three fire stations. Such a predicament is not a desirable situation for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, thus the organization has determined that limited staffing levels are of the utmost concern and serve as the most significant factor in their delivery of service system. The second factor identified by GSFD was the need to retain and properly train their personnel. The department takes great pride in its people and desires that personnel be adequately trained for the challenges ahead, that job growth is available and that they be able to live and work in the community they serve (i.e. approximately half of the fire department's personnel reside outside the service area because they can't afford to live within the Glenwood Springs area due to the cost of living, particularly real estate). Also, properly trained personnel such as paramedics in the past have left the area to serve else where thus retention of quality individuals is always a concern. Unique The Glenwood Springs Fire Department did not specifically identify a major ISSUE that was believed to be unique as it pertained to their particular jurisdiction or the western slope, but did provide comment on the western slope fire service in general. 77

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From a local perspective, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department serves both the municipality of Glenwood Springs and the greater fire district that lies in unincorporated portions of Garfield County. Most of the city consists of commercial and industrial development with some residential development. The fire department perceives that the majority of the residential development within the fire service area lies outside city limits in unincorporated areas. New annexations to the City of Glenwood have a tendency to be commercial in nature. The city's assessed value is roughly 300 million dollars while the mostly residential areas in the fire district are at about 45 million dollars. City funding for the fire department is derived from the general fund that is reliant on sales tax while the fire district fiscal dollars come in the form of a mill levy strictly for fire protection services. Funds in the City of Glenwood Springs are limited due to this process and monies must be dispersed between city departments at a rate determined by the budget which is adopted by political officials. For instance, police services have been allocated roughly twice the amount of funding the fire department has been granted in the upcoming 2006 city budget. That is significant because police services only covers 8 square miles of the incorporated municipality while the fire department covers approximately 72 square miles. Then one must consider that 77% of the calls for fire service are located within the City of Glenwood Springs. The fire department has concluded it might be more equitable and easier to manage budgetary affairs if the fire department was placed within the fire district rather than being reliant on two significantly different funding sources. From a western slope perspective, it is thought by the Glenwood Springs Fire Department that development growth often forms in isolated pockets that are scattered about western Colorado and that type of development will significantly challenge the local fire service when it comes to the delivery of their own jurisdictions as well as providing mutual aid assistance to nearby communities. Many communities on the western slope are not prepared for the development and population growth that is to come and that growth is sure to outpace services and 78

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infrastructure unless community mentalities change from that once small town perception to one of acceptance. Fire departments must evolve to meet growth pressures as the day of the volunteer firefighter seem to be fading due to ever increasing job and family obligations arise. Fire service jobs are now quite complex and more sophisticated than ever and communities must understand that it will be a significant challenge to the fire service should they choose to address new community growth as they have done in the past. City of Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan A review of the city's most recent comprehensive plan, adopted in 1998, indicated that the residents of Glenwood Springs have expressed an interest in retaining the characteristics if a "small town" as development occurs in the area. To Glenwood Springs, that small town feel might include, but may not be limited to compact urban development, tree lined streets and a dynamic urban core all the while addressing community transportation needs. The community wide planning document is separated into eight elements that were identified as being important to the community. The eight elements deal with small town character, cultural resources, natural resources, directed development, balanced development, social diversity, economic diversity and recreation & tourism. The comprehensive plan makes a clear distinction between the term growth and the term development. The City of Glenwood Springs has determined that growth consists of the "uncontrolled, inefficient extension of already over-burdened community systems which detracts from the whole of the community". Development is perceived to be "efficient, managed" while addressing the needs of the city by helping it to attain overall community goals (Glenwood Springs Camp Plan 4). 79

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The document did not directly speak to public safety, nor did it mention the fire department by name. The plan did identify that a "compact urban form" was desired and that development should be directed in a manner that that allows the city to allow specific development nodes within the urbanized area to expand. The document stated the City of Glenwood Springs "should assure" that adequate facilities would be concurrent with the proposed development as it took place. An adequate facility appears to mean infrastructure such as water, wastewater, electric and streets. A key action identified by the comprehensive plan indicated that a public facilities ordinance should be adopted to assure that "properly sized infrastructure satisfies the needs of the existing community as well as potential development." Any development outside the urban area boundary would be discouraged by the city (Glenwood Springs Comp Plan 14). Town of Breckenridge The Town of Breckenridge is located in Summit County, Colorado and is approximately 5.5 square miles in size. Breckenridge is situated 86 miles west of Denver and rests in a beautiful mountain valley at 9,603 feet above sea level on the west side of the Continental Divide. First settled in the 1840's, the Town of Breckenridge was incorporated in 1880 and has grown from a mining town in the gold rush era to a world class ski resort within the last 1 00 years. The area is home to the Breckenridge Ski Resort which hosts roughly 18,000 visitors on a peak day and will see over 1.4 million visitors annually. The Breckenridge Ski Resort averages about 300 inches of snowfall annually. In 1990, the town had 1,285 permanent residents and grew to 2,408 permanent residents by the year 2000, a 6.5% annual increase from 1990. In addition to the ski resort, the Town of Breckenridge boasts a multitude of bikeways and hiking trails as well as two Nordic centers, ice arena, kayak park, events center, 27 -hole 80

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municipal golf course and recreational center. Breckenridge is also host to many festivals and events during various times of the year. Due to an immense amount of entertainment and recreational opportunities in the area, population numbers which include visitors, second home owners and full time residents during peak season can reach over 36,000 in a single day (Town of Breckenridge 2005 Overview). Figure 4.9 Town of Breckenridge Red. White and Blue Fire Department The following is a summary of a discussion that took place with Fire Chief Gary Green. 81

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The Red, White and Blue Fire Department serves an estimated fulltime resident population of 9,000 people within a land area of about 138 square miles (Fire Protection and Emergency Medical Service). The fire department serves the incorporated towns of Breckenridge and Blue River as well as a significant portion of unincorporated Summit County. Its organizational structure is enabled by special district. The district boundaries stretch from Lake Dillon at Farmer's Corner (north) to the Hoosier Pass area located south of the Town of Blue River. The district is considered to be located in a mixed land use pattern area which includes urban and rural settings. Figure 4.10 Red, White and Blue Fire Department Main Street Station The Red, White and Blue Fire Department recently has turned entirely into a career fire department in the last three years, as volunteer personnel have been or are in the process of being phased out of the organization. The organization boasts forty seven (47) sworn members and five civilian personnel. The fire department 82

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responds to approximately 1,300 calls for service annually, 65% of which are EMS related. The fire department completes on average of two code inspections a day resulting in about 750 inspections annually. Deployment The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has three fire stations which are geographically scattered in linear form along State Hwy 9 ranging in a north to south direction. The district's main station is located on Main Street in the historic Town of Breckenridge and houses the organization's administrative offices as well a significant amount of personnel and apparatus. The main street fire station in Breckenridge handles roughly 75% of the total calls for emergency service in the fire service district, likely due to higher residential densities, commercial developments and the influx of vacationing visitors. The department's second fire station is located in the Blue River area just south of Breckenridge. Blue River is a small incorporated low density town situated in a rural forested environment. The Blue River fire station also covers some areas situated near the southern end of the service district that are located in unincorporated Summit County. The third fire station is located north of Breckenridge along Highway 9 near the area referred to as Tiger Run. Despite its distance from the main street station, the Tiger Run fire station is still within Breckenridge town limits and mainly covers the north part of the service area which at times also consists of unincorporated Summit County. The fire stations have an average collective total response time of five (5) minutes. The Main Street fire station has an average response time of three (3) minutes while the Blue River (south) and Tiger Run (north) have average response times of six (6) minutes and five (5) minutes respectively. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department does not currently have plans to add any new fire stations to the service area in the near future. 83

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The fire department has an ISO rating of 4/9. An ISO rating of four (4) is in an area typically within areas where hydrant and water is more readily available. The ISO rating of nine (9) is currently the assessed rating for areas that do not meet those parameters mostly in the areas that exhibit a more rural like appearance with the service district. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not formally adopted NFPA 1710 (Deployment Guidelines}, but does utilize the document's established response time and staffing level standards as a guideline. The reason the fire department has not officially adopted the standard is due to fiscal and enforcement matters. The station location and staffing requirement standards dictated in NFPA 1710 are perceived at times to be quite strict making the standard's criteria difficult to meet and fiscally unlikely to support. In the absence of an officially adopted response time standard such as NFPA 1710, the Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not adopted a response time deployment standard as response times in the district appear to be reasonably adequate. The fire department has in turn focused their attention on another matter which is expected to assist them with taking a more comprehensive assessment of their entire organization. The fire department has initiated the accreditation process currently offered by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International to accomplish that task. They are currently involved in the self-assessment portion of the process which should eventually lead to the identification of performance measurements that will help the fire department manage and prepare for upcoming community growth pressures. 84

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Planning for Development The Red, White and Blue Fire Department is guided by the 2000 International Fire Code when assessing development proposals within their jurisdiction. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has not adopted a district-wide strategic plan that addresses departmental concerns with regard to how the district will meet the challenges presented by community growth pressures. However, the department recognizes the importance of such a document and is in the process of drafting a strategic plan. The fire department had tried to draft and adopt an internal strategic plan in the past, but key figures in the department's administration and command staff changed and the process was placed on hold until personnel could become familiar with the new organizational makeup. The new strategic plan should be completed and available near the end of 2005. A representative of the Red, White and Blue Fire Department will on occasion attend development review meetings with planners from the various municipalities and Summit County when needed. This typically occurs on a monthly basis and is often due to a particular development proposal having difficulties and fire department consultation is required or when large scale projects similar to that of Vail Resorts' proposed expansion of Peak 8 and 7 at the Breckenridge Ski Resort occurs. The fire department also receives agency review packets associated with all new development and major projects from local community development departments. The fire department's general role at typical development review meetings and when they review development packets is to generally ensure that fire code requirements are met. The fire department will comment on specific development criteria such as access points, turning radius, road grades and widths, water lines, fire flow, emergency response concerns, alternative fire plans and other life safety matters. The department may at times comment on construction materials used and actual structure types in order to minimize the risk of fire. 85

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The Red, White and Blue Fire Department does actively take part in community wide planning efforts such as master plan updates, rural area plans and neighborhood plans. The fire department reports that they have been given the opportunity to make comment on a wide range of long-range plans in the region and have utilized that time to address fire department concerns. Typically, the Red, White and Blue Fire Department will take part in major planning projects like the current main street revitalization study currently being conducted in the Town of Breckenridge or the Town's visioning project that took place approximately five years ago which tried to determine how the residents wanted the Breckenridge area to grow and develop. The fire department believes that they take part in approximately three to four long range planning projects a year. Mainly, those discussions involve the fire department expressing their opinion on development patterns, transportation corridors, station placement, and at times building construction types. With regard to development patterns, the fire department has determined that they would like to see development remain on the valley floors rather than scattered throughout the ridgelines and mountainous areas of their district. Valley floor development is more conducive to quicker response times as the ability to get to the scene to combat a structure fire or treat a patient in an EMS situation might be hindered otherwise. Because of the physical constraints that the natural environment exhibits in the form of steep terrain, the fire department supports Summit County's transfer of development rights program (TDR) which allows an owner to transfer density/development rights in the more mountainous areas (mining claims) to designated areas that are more manageable when it comes to delivery of services. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department discourages development within the fire district when those locations are in the backcountry 86

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because access, mobility and a rapid response are likely to be hindered resulting in possible fire loss. Transportation corridor planning is also of particular concern to the Red, White & Blue Fire Department because decisions at the pre-planning level can have a significant impact on future apparatus mobility, rapid response times and the decision making process involving alternative routes if needed. Upcoming or in progress transportation projects within the Town of Breckenridge that might possible affect fire department mobility were the main street revitalization project which will likely result in the built environment becoming more pedestrian orientated and the new highway improvements and subsequent roundabout that was being constructed at one of the busiest intersections in the north area of town. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department has actively taken part in the drafting of the Summit County community wildfire protection plan by attending meetings that discuss significant community wildfire related issues. The draft has been completed and will be taken to the local town boards for a review soon. Issues and Thresholds The Red, White and Blue Fire Department perceives that the community has seen moderate growth as it relates to population increase in the last ten years, but their emergency response service area has not grown in land area in the last decade. The fire district feels as though community growth pressures in the Breckenridge area have significantly affected fire district levels of service. The increase in service demand in recent years coupled with available fire service resources have led the department to transform itself from a combination department consisting of career and volunteer staff to an organization that is now completely career. 87

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The main ISSUES that were identified by the Red, White and Blue Fire Department as being significant when addressing community growth concerns were interagency cooperation, internal strategic planning and continuously changing area demographics. The first ISSUE identified by Red, White and Blue Fire Department was the need to constantly maintain an open line of communication with other agencies at the start of the planning process so that major issues and level of service needs could bed addressed as soon as practical, thus helping to avoid significant problems once development was established within the community. A tangible threshold for this criterion was not established, but the fire department would like to continue their important role in the development review process allowing them to address the needs of the fire district. A higher degree of involvement in development review meetings and community planning may be sought in the future when possible or when complex development project circumstances dictate. The second ISSUE identified by the fire department was the need to draft and, once completed, consistently review and update the district's internal strategic plan annually. The annual review process of this guiding document would help the fire department establish district wide priorities that are important to the district and the community as a whole when it comes to area development and growth concerns. Once priorities have been established, the fire department can make strategic adjustments to the internal strategic plan that may help the fire district function in a more efficient and effective manner when it comes to the delivery of key emergency services. Again, an exact threshold or trigger could not be identified with this type of issue due to its broad role in the fire service. However, the department has determined that as the Breckenridge/Blue River communities grow and build out, the more self sustainable the community will become. That in turn will allow the department to turn its attention to a more long term pre-planning process that 88

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spans roughly five to ten years in the future rather than reviewing community growths impacts only in the short term. The third and final ISSUE identified by Red, White and Blue Fire Department was the ability to ensure that the department remains aware of the current and projected demographics for their fire service area. A continuing assessment and trend analysis of population and demographics in the area should assist the fire department monitor when service levels for any one of the components (i.e. EMS) listed in the strategic plan need to be addressed. An example of a demographics issue that the fire department would deem significant would be a significant increase in permanent residents in the service area. Since most of the housing units in the service area are second homes and condominiums geared towards the vacationing public, the area tends to see peaks and valleys as to when a high population is present in the district. Higher population numbers are typical in the winter months (December through March in particular) when the ski season is in operation while other months of the year see significantly lower population numbers with the exception of July and August as they are now exhibiting higher visitor rates. With that in mind, high call volumes in the service area tend to be limited to the winter months in a typical year. An increase in the area's permanent resident base would likely result in added calls for service during times of the year that in the past were considered a slow time period for the department. Unique The Red, White and Blue Fire Department specifically identified two major issues that were believed to be unique as it pertained to their particular jurisdiction, a resort community. 89

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Breckenridge is a major ski resort town and with that status comes the resort life style which exhibits high visitor numbers, higher rates of second homes, and a fluctuating resident population base that can be quite transient in nature. The first issue the fire department identified involved the resort's transient and fluctuating population. This migration trend appears to have a negative affect on public education outcomes and fire prevention efforts. The fire department sees very little return on their investment when it come to such community initiatives because once the educational or preventative message has been dispersed to the public, the transient work force population shifts or moves from the area taking that message elsewhere creating an educational and prevention void ultimately resulting in efforts being duplicated later. In addition, second home owners are typically only in town for brief periods of time and likely do not benefit as much as they could from the preventative efforts made by the Red, White and Blue Fire Department. A second issue of concern that was identified by the fire department was the lack of resources on the western slope. Due to the geography of western Colorado, access to mutual aid and other resources (i.e. equipment, specifically trained personnel) are limited and not as readily available as they would be if the district was located on the Front Range in the Denver Metropolitan Area. For example, the typical employee of the fire department's workforce cannot afford to live in the community due to the high cost of real estate, thus local fire service personnel are unable to live in the community that they serve. Town of Breckenridge Comprehensive Plan The Town of Breckenridge's comprehensive plan has not been updated since 1983, but still appears to provide a thorough review of the town's existing conditions at the time as well as a well planned view of the area's goals and 90

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objectives to meet future growth pressures head on. The plan discussed fire protection in a limited fashion, but addressed overall public facilities and services as whole quite well. With regard to area urbanization, Breckenridge's goal was to control growth and development in such a manner as to not "overtax" the community's ability to provide facilities and services in both the present and future (Breckenridge Comp Plan 4-15). One element of the comprehensive plan indicated that the overall goal was to develop a public facilities policy plan that could be utilized as a guide in order to determine appropriate locations and development levels for facilities and services that was consistent with "long-range community needs." Policies related to facility and services development required that such services contributed to efficient development and that due consideration would be completed with regard to impacts on facilities prior to approving new development or annexing areas in to the town limits. These policies would be supplemented by means of a growth trend analysis and by requiring development to "bear a portion of the cost for needed support facilities" (Breckenridge Comp Plan 7 -22). Specific objectives associated with fire protection that were identified by the Town of Breckenridge included a generic statement which indicated "The Town shall continue to work with the Red, White and Blue Fire District to provide for the communities fire protection needs." However, more tangible statement followed and clearly spelled out the Town of Breckenridge's desire to ensure that fire protection needs were met prior to development. The objective stated "The Town shall continue to provide water lines and maintenance on them adequate to provide fire flow requirements, and the Town shall not allow new developments unless adequate fire protection can be provided." The objective reinforced that if fire protection was deficient (i.e. fire flows), new developments would not be approved which certainly is a positive when it comes to interagency cooperation (Breckenridge Comp Plan 7-23). The Town of Breckenridge has determined via 91

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the comprehensive plan that domestic service and fire flows are essential water services to their community and the town would "diligently" maintain the proper size of water lines and appropriate pressures to support fire protection efforts. According to the plan, "out-of-town" development had been problematic in the past when a service such as domestic water had been extended. The problems were not specifically noted, but a solution was developed to lessen impacts on existing town infrastructure. That solution was to deny water service to parcels outside the Town of Breckenridge and require annexation if service is to be provided. The Town of Breckenridge is currently in the process of updating their community comprehensive plan. 92

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CHAPTER 5 ASSESSMENT Community Growth and the Fire Service Community growth in Western Colorado continues to be of great concern when it comes to the delivery of fire protection services. Of the municipal jurisdictions that took part in the focus interviews, four of the five fire protection agencies perceived that their community had experienced moderate population growth in the last ten years. Only the Montrose Fire Protection District, an area that had increased its population in such a manner that made them the 18th fastest growing "micropoliton" area in the United States, perceived that they had experienced "heavy" population growth in the last decade when compared against their community from ten years ago. Population statistics gathered from the United States Census Bureau seemed to corroborate that significant population growth in the respective jurisdictions had occurred. Such growth in the community is sure to strain fire service resources as this increase in western slope populations is projected to continue as far in to the future as 2025. Deployment General response times for the jurisdictions surveyed were typically within a range of four to ten minutes, most of which centered around five to six minutes. The Delta Fire Protection District, in all likelihood due to mobility issues associated with its status as a completely volunteer organization, had a minimum ten to twelve 93

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minute response time average and was at the higher end of the total response time spectrum for all of the fire organizations in the study. These response times were generally for built up areas within the urbanized section of the city or district. The fire departments did acknowledge that more rural areas in their sometimes very large and expansive fire protection districts had a response time that were quite high at times (i.e. Montrose Fire Protection District reported that it has on occasion taken in excess of twenty-minutes to respond to a call for service in the remote areas of their district). When it came to deployment standards, the focus interviews revealed that none of the five fire service organizations involved in the study had officially adopted NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations, Emergency Medical Operations and Special Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments (NFPA 1720 for a volunteer department such as the Delta Fire Protection District). As stated in a previous chapter, NFPA 1710 would require that the first arriving engine company of firefighters respond within four minutes for a fire suppression incident, 90% of the time. The focus interviews indicated that NFPA 1710 was thought to be too strict when it came to station placement and staffing levels, difficult to enforce adherence, fiscally burdensome and in some cases ineffective because stations might not be utilized enough to justify their costly existence if the entire response system was set up to adhere to NFPA 171O's four minute response times everywhere within the jurisdiction (i.e. roughly 1.5-miles apart). When asked if the participating departments had adopted their own internal response time standards, none of the five agencies identified a specific set of guidelines that were adhered to in order to measure performance when it came to response time goals. Two of the organizations, Montrose and Grand Junction, advised that they do utilize NFPA 1710 in limited capacities. The Montrose Fire Protection District used the standard as a best practices format although not 94

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officially adopted as one, while the Grand Junction Fire Department utilized the deployment standards by reference. Grand Junction indicated that they supplement the use of NFPA 1710 by reference with an internal trend analysis assessment that helps the fire department make a determination if response times are migrating away (e.g. higher) from a reasonable time frame that has been deemed acceptable to the agency. The third organization, the Glenwood Springs Fire Department, simply stated that adhering to NFPA 171O's standards would be logistically impossible in their current circumstance due to a limited amount of staffing present and available to respond to an incident with enough personnel and within the designated four-minute time frame. Saddled with that reality, Glenwood Springs indicated that they set an internal standard of one-minute for turnout time which was the lone portion of the response that they felt they had control over. Neither the Delta Fire Protection District, nor the Red, White & Blue Fire Department in Breckenridge had established an internal response time standard that would substitute for NFPA 1710. Policy Recommendation: None of the agencies in the study revealed that they had formally adopted a set of response time standards that would dictate a desired maximum time limit. It is recommended that these agencies, when the ability presents itself fiscally, adopt the NFPA 1710 deployment standard if possible in official capacity or at least unofficially as a "best practices" or "by reference" capacity. Although a uniform and systematic standard spread across the nation with regard to fire service deployment standards would be a positive thing, it is acknowledged that a one size fits all set of regulations does not meet every communities needs or desires. In the absence of a nationally recognized standard like NFPA 1710, it would benefit the organizations to adopt an internal response time standard unique to their jurisdiction that is acceptable to the community they serve. 95

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This response time would reflect local sentiment and would take into account matters of local concern. This standard might come in the form of an actual performance measurement associated with a maximum response time (i.e. a response time within five minutes, 80% of the time) or it might come as a result of internal trending analysis much like the Grand Junction Fire Department has implemented and accomplished (i.e. a specific threshold has not been established, but migration of response times in an adverse direction, higher than regularly seen, might indicate that deployment in the form of personnel, equipment and stations may need to be re-arraigned to achieve a higher degree of success). At the vary least, an established standard would assist those departments who have not been conducting trending analysis techniques the ability to review and analyze outcomes in a performance based system. Performance measures potentially allow the agency to track the progress of the fire department by monitoring results to ensure efficient and timely delivery of fire protection and EMS services. A statistical analysis based on an established benchmark that sets the maximum desired response time in an area assists the agency when it comes to evaluating if they are meeting departmental goals by delivering adequate levels of services. Meaningful performance measurement systems can be defined as a "measurement on a recurring basis of the outcomes or results and effectiveness of services or programs, is an integral part of deployment delivery systems so that effectiveness can be measured and goals can be consistently evaluated" (Eiroi 24). An article in Arc User magazine entitled "Performance Measurement in local Government" by Daniel Elroi indicated that a performance measurement "only provides support for good judgment" (24-25). Meaning it allows the service provider the ability to track existing conditions in an attempt to analyze services in a manner that would afford them the ability to make sound and informed decisions to improve service quality (Eiroi 24-25). The researcher William Gray in his analysis of fire service benchmarking indicated that it was "a quest for best practices" by leading the department to better implementation strategies for fire and emergency services 96

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(MFARS 310-312). By capturing deployment data and analyzing it in a meaningful way, based on benchmarking standards, the fire departments in need of the process could identify gaps in the service delivery network that might assist them with educating decision makers in the budgetary process thus influencing their decision on allocating needed resources to help the fire department serve their customers in a more efficient and timely manner (e.g. new stations, additional employees). In essence, the fire service should measure what matters most to the department in terms of adequate service delivery systems because "What gets measured, gets done" (MFARS 291 ). The same goes for improving response time standards. Of the five fire protection organizations interviewed, two (Grand Junction and Breckenridge) identified strategic planning efforts as being a significant issue in their jurisdiction when it came to combating community growth related pressures. Those organizations felt that adopting or improving the plans would be a significant factor when it came to addressing the need for adequate fire protection facility and services in their areas. By developing a strong strategic plan, the agencies could utilize the process to help identify needed resources through a strengths and weakness analysis. Once the foundation of the strategic plan is completed, the analysis results can be utilized to help develop a deployment standard that is both acceptable to the respective fire department as well as the community they serve. Planning For Development All of the fire departments involved in the study indicated that they had taken part in the development review process coordinated by the local planning departments either by attending specific review meetings or by assessing proposed projects through the agency review packet process. All of the organizations stated that they were given the opportunity to review development plans via agency review packets, 97

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the concept where packets usually prepared by the developer containing plats, site plans and construction diagrams are sent to the fire protection district in order to allow them the ability to review and ensure that fire code requirements are being addressed (i.e. hydrant placement, access points and road widths). Breckenridge, Montrose, and Grand Junction all reported that in addition to reviewing development packets, personnel from their organizations regularly attended project review meetings in order to discuss proposed subdivisions, commercial developments and other major projects. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department advised that limited staffing levels hindered the organization's ability to attend regular meetings with planning officials, but it was not uncommon for private developers to seek out meetings with fire prevention personnel in order to get a better understanding of what the fire department will require when the development project is submitted for review to the city. The Delta Fire Protection District did attend meetings, but only when requested by either city or county officials. Their involvement is limited due to an apparent lack of adopted fire and building codes in Delta County. Three of the five fire service organizations in the study indicated that they regularly took part in community-wide planning efforts within their jurisdiction that addressed long range goals. Breckenridge, Montrose and Grand Junction all took part in significant planning efforts such as comprehensive plan updates, neighborhood plans and major master planned development projects to some extent. Transportation corridor projects, community wildfire plans as well as municipal annexations were also identified as being integral parts of their involvement. In addition to the previously mentioned long range planning efforts, the Grand Junction Fire Department also had taken part in community meetings, open houses, and the review of community plan drafts. It was reported that the Glenwood Springs Fire Department played a limited role in long range planning processes in their jurisdiction by reviewing proposed large scale development projects, assessing the wildfire urban interface in the area and by commenting 98

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informally on city projects and plans. Of the five organizations studied, only the Delta Fire Protection District indicated that they did not take an active part in long range urban planning endeavors in their area, however the district did report that they had been involved in the local community wildfire protection plan activities. Only two of the five fire service organizations indicated that they currently had an adopted internal strategic plan in place to guide their department's activities into the future. The Grand Junction Fire Department and the Montrose Fire Protection District both had implemented the strategic planning process into the fabric of their organization, however only Montrose had a current document that reflected existing conditions and set relevant goals and objectives for the organization. Updates to the strategic plan for the Montrose Fire Protection District occur on a regularly scheduled basis. The Grand Junction Fire Department reported that its strategic plan was written nearly fifteen years ago and the document's functionality and implementation strategies had become disjointed over time due to a lack of element updates, thus limiting its long range planning effectiveness. The organization is currently in the process of updating their strategic planning document in an attempt to make it a more comprehensive plan that starts with a thoughtful analysis of personnel matters first (e.g. recruitment, training, advancement) and ends with an assessment and identification of level of service standards. Delta, Breckenridge and Glenwood Springs did not have an adopted strategic plan in place at the time this study was conducted and only the Red, White & Blue Fire Department of Breckenridge had indicated that they intended to complete a strategic planning process (The organization's strategic plan was due to be completed in late 2005). Delta did not have any plans at the time to complete the strategic planning process and Glenwood Springs felt it was necessary to first find a solution to their limited staffing level situation, and then focus on the needed strategic planning process at a later time. 99

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Policy Recommendation: Four out of the five fire departments surveyed played a significant role in development review processes (all but the Delta Fire Protection District). Those organizations suggested that continuing to actively participate to some degree in development review processes and long planning efforts was an integral component of the agencies overall success when it came to the delivery of fire protection services in their community. It should be noted that the Delta Fire Protection District acknowledged that development review was important, but their ability to engage in such activity is limited greatly by their status as a volunteer organization (e.g. limited staffing) and because regulations that are typically used in development review procedures have not been fully adopted in Delta County. The main development criteria that the Delta Fire Protection District will often make comment on is that of fire flows and fire hydrant placement in proposed developments. Participation in the review of developments that have been proposed in agency jurisdictions is an integral part of the puzzle when it comes to ensuring quality construction and development. Fire codes, building codes and Land development regulations all play a significant role in the process and often integrate in a manner that compliments each other in most cases. By reviewing land development proposals either by meeting or by agency review packets, the fire service can ensure that the project will be able to accommodate integral fire department needs such as appropriate access points, fire flows, road widths, water availability, and placement of certain land uses (i.e. industrial use in rural area with limited water resources). It is recommended that all organizations continue their efforts as it pertains to development review. Participation in long range planning endeavors such as comprehensive plan updates, transportation corridor planning and neighborhood plans is just as important as commenting on current proposed projects. The fire service should be involved at all levels in the long range planning process (e.g. staff meetings, open 100

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houses, town meetings, plan drafts, etc.) Long range planning is usually a broader based planning perspective than the typical development review system and at times it may seem like a "pie in the sky" set of wishes, but if properly thought out and effectively implemented though a set of pre-determined goals, objectives and specific action tasks, the process can be quite rewarding when it comes to the identification of needed resources in a particular region of the city as population and land areas expand. For instance, an assessment of housing densities, projected populations, and proposed land use types in an area involved in the neighborhood planning process might indicate the likelihood of higher traffic volumes, an increase in the number of senior citizens and an increase in population statistics at denser rates. By being apart of the long range planning process, it would benefit the fire department in that it might suggest that higher traffic volumes would slow response times, an aging population might place a larger burden on emergency medical services (EMS), and larger populations at higher densities would likely indicate that an increase in calls for services for that area would result as the community growths and expands. This would result in the fire service at the very least having the ability to allocate needed services (i.e. a new fire station, new personnel) to the area as it developed instead of after the demand is already present straining the departments resources beyond capacity. By continuing to comment on proposed land use projects via the development review process and by taking an active role in community-wide long range planning efforts, urban fire service organizations on the western slope can significantly increase their ability to effectively ensure that fire protection related facilities and services are present to support new development while maintaining existing levels of service to the built environment that already exists within their jurisdictions. But it does not end with a properly integrated relationship between the fire service and their area's development community. It is also imperative that the organization draft and implement there own internal strategic plan. This will guide the 101

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organization in a manner that would help them achieve the broader goals that were set out in the city's comprehensive plan or other long range endeavors. An example might be if a broad goal in the municipality's comprehensive plan simply states the city should ensure that adequate facilities and services in the form of water fire flows are a precursor to developing areas of growth, then the fire department should have on staff competent personnel who are well trained in fire prevention techniques and who have the ability to correctly analyze and interpret fire code requirements related to water availability. Through the career development and educational element of their own internal strategic plan, the organization can implement training strategies and professional growth for personnel that would ensure employees have the skills to appropriately represent the fire department when it comes to evaluating proposed developments in the community. Another example of how a strategic plan might be utilized to effectively implement general purposes and goals of a community's comprehensive plan, might be to establish a threshold that would suggest or trigger the need to site and construct a new fire station in a growing area of the city that exhibits a gap in deployment coverage. That threshold or trigger might be associated with a specific number of calls for service, an increase in response times over an established threshold time frame (i.e. 4 minutes, 90% of time), or it may be based on the type and amount of land uses present or proposed in the expanding area (e.g. a certain square footage of commercial/industrial space or in the number of residential units occupying an area at a given density rate). These long range planning documents should not be mutually exclusive of each other, but rather the strategic plan should work seamlessly with the community plan in effort to fill gaps and support the specific goals and objects set forth in each. The planning documents could be supplemented by an adequate public facilities ordinance which sets service standards that must be present and adhered to prior to new development and or annexation being approved. The American Planning Association defines an adequate public facilities ordinance as an ordinance that "ties or conditions development approvals to the availability and adequacy of public facilities. Also 102

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known as a concurrence management system. Adequate public facilities are those facilities related to roads, sewer systems, schools, water supply and distribution systems, and fire protection that meet adopted level of service standards" (A Planner's Dictionary 46). The ordinance could address issues such as fire flows capacities, firefighters per 1 000 residents, and thresholds for fire station placement just to name a few. Comprehensive planning is no easy task. It should be functional and coordinated in a manner that allows each governmental agency or service provider the ability to carry out its own goals which are specialized in a sense and specific to their own needs. The general planning agency, namely the planning department in each community, should study this collection of needs (e.g. transportation, fire service) to determine relationships, secondary issues and to identify urban planning priorities. Only then will an appropriate integration of community needs be present and ultimately ready for inclusion in the municipality's comprehensive plan (ICMA PLGP 19). Issues and Thresholds One of the main goals of this research was to identify what were the urban planning related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measure effectiveness of current & future levels of service (LOS) on the western slope of Colorado. This started with an attempt at engaging in focus interviews with fire service personnel in order to ascertain what ISSUES were important to the respective fire service jurisdictions and secondly to determine what THRESHOLDS or triggers were present that would exhibit that a change in service delivery would be needed to keep pace with community growth. 103

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The ISSUES that were identified by the fire protection agencies involved in the study were not always directly related to the ISSUES that the research had suggested should likely be present (i.e. deployment standards in the form of a station placement network what circumstances would need to be present in order to justify the need for an additional fire station in a given area. Would those circumstances be based on calls for serves exceeding a pre-determined amount, would it be based on development and construction types or simply the time it took to respond to an emergency call). The identification of pertinent ISSUES was left completely open and to the discretion of the organization that was interviewed. This made for a dynamic interview, but resulted in a broad collection of insights and ideas that left little ability to identify tangible THRESHOLDS in most cases. For instance, it was difficult to identify an appropriate threshold when a significant ISSUE to the agency was the ability to continue to take part in the development review processes. It is agreed that development review is important when it comes to addressing growth related pressures, but identifying a threshold or trigger does not seem applicable. Even identifying the amount of reviews required would be difficult and should be left the agencies involved (i.e. once a week, once a month, etc.) The following information is a summary of the ISSUES that were identified by the agencies that were apart of the study sample in association with this research project. It is not a complete representation of all ISSUES that were identified during the study in previous chapters, but rather a list of only a few that the researcher felt could lead to policy recommendations and that have not already been discussed previously (i.e. develop a strategic plan or take more active role in development review). THRESHOLDS when applicable have been identified. One of the most interesting ISSUES that came out of the focus interviews was the "catch up" factor. At least two fire agencies expressed in some form that they wished to simply catch up with the growth from the past that had occurred in their 104

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fire service area. The Montrose Fire Protection District and the Glenwood Springs Fire Department indicated that the accelerated community growth in their area's had left them behind with regard to some aspects when it came to the delivery of services. For Montrose, the number one departmental issue related to growth was the need to construct and staff at least two more fire stations. Currently, the Montrose Fire Department has one fire station located centrally almost in the center of the City of Montrose. That location provides excellent coverage for the city center and the immediate surrounding urbanized area near that center, but the City of Montrose has seen significant growth towards the west and south. Development patterns in the form of low and higher densities are dotting the landscape in a manner that will likely result in an increase in the demand for fire and emergency medical services. It will be imperative that at least one new fire station be constructed (likely to the south) if the Montrose Fire Protection District is to be able to deliver services in an efficient and safe in the manner that they would like. The district is currently attempting to obtain funding for two new fire stations by working with a citizen's group that supports the idea. The matter will move to a community vote soon. Attempts at securing funding for the additional resources by election have failed in the past and the district is hoping for a different outcome this time. The term "catch up" meant something entirely different to the Glenwood Springs Fire Department. The organization benefits and enjoys greatly from having good equipment, fire apparatus and newer fire stations (three) thanks to a bonding issue back in 2000, but currently lacks the necessary staffing levels to utilize the equipment and stations as would be necessary to deliver efficient services. Each station is staffed by two individual firefighters. Vacation time, sick leave, or simply a major call for fire suppression or EMS services has the potential to disrupt the delivery of services. The number of desired code inspections cannot be completed, attendance at development review meetings are limited and on at least one 105

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occasion a fire station had to be taken out of service for a day due to limited staffing levels. Such circumstances are a result in having only 20 sworn personnel (including one chief and one fire prevention officer) to staff a three station, three shift schedule. It leaves no room for personnel issues such as vacation and sick time, potentially strains overtime budgets, possible limits service delivery if staff members are already on a call for service and can be a stressful situation for both staff and citizens depending upon the nature of the emergency. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department's sole goal when it came to identifying major issues that they would need to address as their community grew was one thing, the addition of firefighting personnel. It has been determined by the fire department that they have not historically kept pace with the area's development and population increases. Fiscal constraints also have a significant affect on the delivery of service due to the fact that the department receives its revenue sources from the city's general fund and from a mill levy in the unincorporated areas of the service district. Like most municipalities, the general fund -a sales tax driven funding source, is a competitive budgeting process, as many city departments struggle to obtain monies to support their services and staff (i.e. the city's police services budget is about twice the city's fire department budget). Recreation, planning, public works and other community services all compete for a piece of a limited budget which can leave little monies for the addition of full time employees at the fire department. The department feels that one way this matter might be addressed, would be for the service area to be considered one entire fire district rather than a municipal/district. Then, services would be more equitable and the budgetary issues would have less of an impact on the entire process as every one would be subject to the mill levy rather than a fluctuating general fund that is derived solely from only one section of the service area. Policy Recommendation: Consensus and education builds communities. Many community members do not understand the important role of the local fire 106

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department, nor do they fully comprehend all that is done by its members in their day to day duties. Often times it is not until the emergency situation presents itself that people fully comprehend and appreciate the role that the fire service plays in their daily lives. It's the auto accident where a teenager must be extracted from the wreckage, the structure fire that threatens neighboring homes, or the heart attack victim that requires life saving medicines. All of these types of incidents can and do occur every day in the United States and it is these incidents that remind citizens and local decision makers that what a fire department does nearly everyday in America is truly a heroic and meaningful service. But this acknowledgement should not require an extraordinary or tragic event to ignite our memories as to the importance of the fire service. Citizens and politicians can't know all they need to know about the concept of meaningful fire service if the organization does not take it upon itself to provide an adequate education on fire service related issues in their area. It is recommended that local fire departments in western Colorado continue and even expand their educational efforts when it comes to helping citizens and policy makers understand the role of the local fire service and the community-wide benefits that come from having skilled personnel, an adequate number of employees (or volunteers), appropriate equipment, and a sufficient number of fire stations. The fire service should consider developing a program that publicly releases an annual or quarterly report indicating departmental progress and/or organizational needs. Relevant statistics, accomplishments, and agency deficiencies could be exhibited in the report in an effort to help educate community members. In addition, such a report can affectively integrate benchmarking or performance measuring techniques (e.g. deployment standards) that can help decision makers when it comes time to decide on budgeting matters and the distribution of funds (i.e. the need for more personnel or another fire station). A report could be supplemented by an annual presentation prior to budget approval. That presentation would serve as question and answer session where by statistics and trend analysis information could be discussed in a meaningful way that would help local political figures (i.e. city council, county commissioners, fire district board) 107

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make better well informed decisions when it comes to the allocation of limited monies. The need to form strategic alliances with community members is essential. By discussing matters that are important to the fire service and the community at large with citizen groups, politicians, business leaders, and other governmental agencies, consensus can be built and understanding can be obtained. According to a 1997 citizen poll conducted by the national newspaper, USA Today, 78% of the respondents indicated that they trusted their local fire department "a lot" as compared to their police department (46%), public schools (32%), local television news (24%) and local government (14%) (MFARS 7). The survey suggested that the public clearly holds a significant amount of trust in their local fire service. Answers to important issues, such as the need for more personnel, can be discussed with the people who will rely on those proposed resources. The time at civic group meetings should be used to discuss the obstacles presenting themselves to the organization and how those obstacles can be overcome (i.e. discuss the logistics of a structure fire and how many personnel and equipment are needed to safely combat the blaze). Supplement the relationship building with benchmarking and performance measurement data. Explain to the community members that the department or district needs assistance if the organization is going to deliver the services that will be expected by the community. Educational handouts, flyers, and media releases all can be utilized to get the word out that personnel are needed or a new station would be of benefit to the community. Discuss the need to identify, implement and meet best practice standards or adequate facility ordinance requirements for new development. This activity is not a guarantee that local stakeholders will be convinced that additional resources should be allocated to the local fire department, but the dialogue must start somewhere and what better place is there to rest a new fire 108

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station than on a properly built, soundly constructed foundation consisting of community education, consensus and understanding. Another ISSUE that arose during the interviews was that fire departments involvement in transportation planning efforts would remain an integral part of an overall planning policy directed at maintaining services standards as growth pressures became more and more present. In particular, the Montrose Fire Protection District and to some degree the Red, White, and Blue Fire Department of Breckenridge felt that ensuring appropriate mobility in their jurisdictions was one of their most important issues that should be addressed as community growth continues its march through their service areas. The Montrose Fire District had identified that they attended transportation planning meetings and learned that one proposed project, a beltway around the city, would cross railroad tracks several times at several different locations. This proposal would likely hinder mobility when it came to emergency response times in particular because Montrose currently only has one fire station. Obviously, that would be a significant problem if emergency medical or fire suppression services were held up consistently by passing trains, because there would be no other fire stations present to respond and offset the negative consequence that would likely arise due to the delay. Thus, the Montrose Fire Protection District has been actively involved in the planning process in an attempt to minimize the effect that transportation planning might have on their levels of service. Breckenridge, indicated that they too felt transportation issues were a significant factor when it came to the delivery of services, but mainly hinted at that issue through discussions about community development and long range planning. The Red, White and Blue Fire Department indicated that they were involved in all planning efforts that specifically dealt with fire apparatus mobility issues in their jurisdiction. That meant supporting the local transfer of development rights from mining areas in the higher elevations where it's difficult due to topography and 109

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access constraints to provide adequate response service to an area on the valley floor where response times are lessened thanks in part to the design of appropriate road systems and associated development standards (e.g. road widths, lengths, fire flows). Because the Town of Breckenridge is a resort destination, the town often struggles with traffic congestion and the proper flow of vehicles through the city road system at times. This also is a concern of the local fire department for obvious reasons, thus they are consistently represented at local planning meetings that might affect the transportation needs of the fire service (i.e. pedestrian orientated development on main street, new Hwy 9 alignment and roundabout). Policy Recommendation: Street connectivity, construction designs, and regional transportation networks all play a significant part when it comes to the efficient and rapid mobility of a fire apparatus throughout the service area. Fire officials should all take part in the evaluation and objective assessment of new development projects, both public and private, in order to evaluate their effects on mobility issues. Like in the Montrose area, a proposed highway that crosses rail lines at various locations is a major concern for a community that might have only one fire station. By participating in current development review and long range processes, the fire service can provide a unique insight from a delivery of service perspective on the project that planning officials looking at maps and site plans might not have. An example of a successful transportation project took place in Mesa County in recent years. The County and the City of Grand Junction had a significant problem with backed up traffic at the intersection of 30 RD and 1-70 Business Loop near the heart of the Metropolitan area. Traffic backed up for significant distances as trains rumbled though the area on their way to their destination hauling goods and people. This crossing was significant in that it was the only rail crossing in that area and obviously the traffic congestion would adversely affect emergency service crew's 110

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ability to respond timely in an emergency situation. The answer to the traffic congestion and the ultimate delay of emergency services as a result the decreased mobility was the construction of a well designed "underpass" that allowed motor vehicle traffic to smoothly flow under the railroad tracks while simultaneously allowing for rail travel. Based on the above, it is imperative that local fire departments regularly take part in long range planning processes (i.e. traffic studies, highway realignments, corridor studies, etc.) that address community connectivity to ensure that their concerns mainly centered around mobility and a rapid response are being addressed so that effective, efficient and timely fire protection services can be delivered. A final ISSUE that is worth discussion is geared towards organizational survival and mainly stems from the interview with the Delta Fire Protection District. That Ill

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organization did not specifically identify urban planning related items as their main concern when it came to dealing with community growth, but the agency did indicate that retention of volunteer staff, hiring a possible district administrator and the adoption of a fire code was their greatest challenges. The ever changing life and culture of the volunteer seems to have impacted the fire service in negative ways. The lives of volunteers are busy and complex now more than ever. Time constraints, family obligations and employment are a fact of life and limit a person's ability to volunteer and effectively contribute to the team. Training is also a factor as the fire service has increasingly become a more complex form of occupation due to an increase in expected services (i.e. hazardous materials, high rise construction responses, swift water rescue, technical rescue and emergency medical services). So it comes as no surprise that the recruitment and retention of qualified and devoted volunteers has become a critical issue in the everyday organization of the local volunteer fire service. All of the agencies interviewed but one, the entirely career Grand Junction Fire Department, had commented on the phenomenon. Two of the agencies, Montrose and Breckenridge, had either already turned from a combination of career/volunteer department to a completely career department or they were in the process of doing so. The issue of volunteer services was one of the critical issues that prompted the departments to move in that direction. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department also expressed concern that the needed volunteers were no longer available like they once were in years past. Of all the agencies interviewed, the Delta Fire Protection District utilized volunteers the most as that department was entirely a volunteer organization right up to the fire chief. In fact, because of the above constraints, the Delta organization listed it as their number one issue that confronted them as the community grew having the necessary personnel to meet minimum staffing levels needed to respond to incidents. The volunteer chief has a full time day job like most of the people in their 112

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community, but also has the responsibility of responding to fire and rescue emergencies that are bound to happen. The chief must coordinate emergency responses, recruit and retain volunteers, and work with the district board on budgetary issues. This leaves little time to conduct administrative duties, engage in audits of the department, to conduct inspections, and to explore the possibility of adopting a fire code. The organization is hopeful that one day the political will and funding will be available to recruit and hire an administrative official that might alleviate some of these pressures as well as engage in the strategic planning process that would help the agency deal more effectively with community growth. In its current state, the all volunteer department struggles to meet the needs of the current community while balancing the need to prepare for the growth that is sure to come to the area as people discover what the Delta area has to offer in recreation, commerce and quality of life. Policy Recommendation: Limited staffing levels of a jurisdiction's fire department at first glance might not seem to correlate with urban planning processes, but as one takes a closer look at the problem, the relationship becomes clear. Community growth is often desired because it brings prosperity, jobs, diverse commercial activities and new housing opportunities just to name a few. Growth is synonymous with population increases, varied land uses, sometimes higher densities and sometimes lower densities. All place a strain on the local fire department's ability to maintain existing services in already established sections of the urbanized area, while providing an adequate extension of that service in the newly proposed areas. Staffing levels go hand in hand with fire station networks. As Glenwood Springs revealed, you cannot have one without the other and still deliver services in an effective manner that meets organizational desires. Almost all of the agencies surveyed indicated that staff was their key asset when it came to addressing community growth pressures. Those staff members deliver that greatly needed service with skill sets that are difficult to replace, thus the recruitment and 113

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retention of highly trained firefighting personnel is critical to an organizations delivery of service network. Many of the communities on the western slope are experiencing growth at accelerated rates while at the same time the lives of volunteers are becoming more complex and hurried. People's free time is limited and their ability to volunteer is limited as well. As populations increase in towns and cities across Western Colorado, it is inevitable that most departments will have to transform themselves from a volunteer organization to one that is dominated mostly by career professionals. It is a transformation that will be difficult as budgets will have to expand, but necessary because the community will still need and demand fire and EMS services if the volunteers are no longer plentiful. Difficult decisions on taxes, allocation of funds, building facilities and the hiring of full time personnel will have to made if the fire service is able to keep up with the pressures of what some might call progress. In many cases, the cities and towns of the western slope might have to "catch up" to the growth that has already occurred in their settlements and service areas. However, should the community wish to maintain their volunteer fire department, then investments in that system should be made in an effort to increase recruitment and reduce turnover. Volunteerism is defined as uthe umbrella term for all that is done by volunteers" (Snock, Johnson and Olsen, Introduction). Since the majority of fire departments in the United States are volunteer driven, it is likely that many of the communities will continue to be volunteer organizations. If volunteerism in the fire service has declined in the last 20 years (897,750 volunteer firefighters in 1984 to 800,050 volunteer firefighters in 2003) (National Volunteer Fire Council 2}, then it is imperative that the organization attempting to recruit and retain skilled volunteer personnel market their product effectively and provide adequate incentives for retention purposes. Management and recognition are key components when it comes to coordinating an all volunteer effort. The volunteer fire organization must 114

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educate the community on what they do and how well they are doing it. Promote volunteerism by marketing the organization's strengths (e.g. incentive packages, professionalism, camaraderie, training, servitude), thus allowing people to fully understand the organization while possibly encouraging them to take an active role. Promote public awareness that a civic need is present. Utilize the media, public service announcements, editorials, informational booths, etc.) The organization should also be highly visible in the community and should take part in community functions and events (i.e. Fourth of July Festivities or community fund raisers). Retention of qualified volunteer personnel is much like any other organization. Employees, or volunteers in this case, all must have buy in when it comes to organizational values, goals, objectives and actions. Fire Service volunteers value social interaction, the ability to interact with what sometimes feels like a second family. Volunteers also enjoy the opportunity to grow in their profession by receiving additional training in more complex fire rescue techniques that will help them deliver a better service to their community. Respect, recognition and support all play a significant role in a volunteer organization as volunteerism is just that -to volunteer your time, efforts and even sometimes your own monetary funds to a cause that is greater than yourself. Volunteers must feel acknowledged and appreciated. This can be accomplished by providing a work environment that promotes understanding and appreciation particularly when organizations have a mixture of career and volunteer firefighters on staff (i.e. award banquets, incentive packages). Unique to Western Colorado None of the fire protection agencies studied identified a specific factor or circumstance that they thought was truly unique to fire departments located on the Western Slope of Colorado. But most of the agencies, four out of five, had mentioned in limited forms that mutual aid and a lack of resources was a significant 115

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factor when it came to dealing with growth. Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Montrose and Breckenridge all mentioned that mutual aid assistance was difficult to obtain in a timely manner due to what is perceived to be a rural isolation factor between communities. In essence, the communities appeared to resemble urban islands among a vast sea of varying rural landscapes that consist of agricultural lands, mountains, high country desert, and canyon lands. Narrow ribbons of paved highways and interstates (i.e. Interstate 70, US Highway 50) connect the communities, but they weave in and out of challenging topography usually guided by the many rivers, canyons and mountains that make Colorado that beautiful vacation spot everybody loves. But topography is not the sole problem; distance too is a significant problem as no agency in the study was within an approximate thirty minute drive of another. Vast distances between communities are troublesome in that a mutual aid response for a major incident might require an extended period of time prior to help arriving. For instance, the Grand Junction Fire Department serves as a regional response for hazardous materials spills. If an incident were to occur in Glenwood Canyon near the City of Glenwood Springs, the trip would likely take an hour or so for professional hazmat crews to drive to the scene. This timeframe excludes deployment and on scene preparation times. Such circumstances only intensify the need for fire protection agencies in local communities on the western slope to be self sufficient and ready for increasing growth pressures associated with future development and increasing population trends. 116

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CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION The purpose of this study was to identify what were the urban planning related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measured effectiveness of current & future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorado's western slope communities as they grow and develop. The research sample included the City of Delta, City of Montrose, City of Grand Junction, City of Glenwood Springs and the Town of Breckenridge. The study included a literature review of relevant fire service and urban planning related documents and preceded a specific information gathering phase that consisted of a set of standardized focus interviews with fire chiefs from the above mentioned data sample. Secondly, the research study sought to evaluate the information obtained in order to make certain policy recommendations and determine if a model plan could be established to assist those communities when integrating fire service needs with community development desires as their communities grappled with growth pressures resulting from new development and an increasing resident population. In short, the goal of the project was to analyze how a few selected communities on the western slope and their respective fire departments attempted to meet the challenge of providing appropriate and effective fire protection service levels as their communities continued to grow in size and population. The final chapter of this report will provide some final comments on the study, make a determination if a model growth plan could be developed, and compile a "What's 117

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Next" section that suggests future areas of research that may build upon what has transpired in this research project. Although the study had a clear goal, the information that was derived from the literature review and focus interviews deviated greatly from the anticipated research outcome. The study sought to identify urban planning related factors that stretched far beyond the professional borders of the urban planning sector to a place situated squarely in the fire service realm. A common theme, shared by both professions that would be utilized to achieve a firm grip on community growth. For instance, both professions are concerned with the health, safety and welfare of their communities. Planning is more concerned with the broader picture that addresses the totality of the circumstances in their community, while the fire service is more concerned with a smaller element of that picture; namely fire prevention, rescue efforts, and the coordination of emergency medical services. Both, urban planning professionals and fire service officials would want to ensure that efficient and timely fire protection facilities and services would be available to not only the newly proposed development, but to the established built up portion of the community that already exists. One way to accomplish the task of adequate facilities and services was to review station placement issues and that resulted in the assessment of deployment standards. It was learned through the research and focus interviews that none of the communities had officially adopted the widely recognized national standard for deployment drafted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 171 0) and few if any had officially adopted their own internal response time guidelines that would help them evaluate response time performance measures. Fiscal issues, staffing limitations, and political/community perceptions were often forces that hindered development of established response time standards. 118

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So the study became broadened, it became more theoretical in its adaptation to what was being learned from the dedicated fire departments and districts that protect those communities. No longer was it possible to study specific tangible standards like that of NFPA 1710 because it was learned they did not exist. Fire service related concerns relating to community growth on Colorado's western slope was addressed through other means such as development review, strategic planning and participation in long range planning efforts. In the absence of a clear tangible deployment standard, interagency coordination became the key to ensuring that fire protection facilities and services were present to handle the pressures of the future. The fire service providers identified issues that were important to their agencies when it came to dealing with growth. They identified the need for more and better coordinated development review, greater participation in comprehensive planning, the need to implement strategic planning processes, and a need to be fully involved with transportation planning efforts in the community to ensure mobility was not restricted. On a one-on-one human scale, a need for demographic assessments was also identified (i.e. aging populations), as well as an education component that would inform new citizens to the area that expectations of fire service delivery might be different from where they had come from. It was evident that great efforts had been made by all of the fire departments in the study to integrate fire service planning with planning departments in their respective jurisdictions. All had for the most part established strategic alliances that could be relied upon when growth presented itself in an imposing manner. The fire service organizations studied seemed to be doing the best they could with the resources they had allocated to them when it came to dealing with community growth pressures. For some, limitations on staffing levels and the number of fire stations were difficult to deal with, but dedication to the community and its residents prevailed and the fire service continued to move forward in service. 119

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A Model Plan A comprehensive model plan at this stage is not recommended because much is left to be done as a result of this study. The sample population in this study consisted of a diverse collection of communities in both size and functionality, but was limited in scope. Western Colorado consists of historic agricultural settlements, a multitude of resort towns and a wide range of city sizes from small rural communities to a large metropolitan area. As it stands, a one size fits all approach would likely not be possible until at least a consensus had been developed on deployment standards and response times. Even then, communities tend to think acceptable response times and other fire service related matters, with the exception of building codes, tend to be matters of local concern (i.e. funding levels, equipment, staffing levels). Various codes relating to development standards, such as fire, building, and land development codes, are already in existence and have been adopted by most jurisdictions in the study, thus a model plan with that element would not be required. A model growth plan for the urban fire service may be in the future for Western Colorado, but it's undetermined as of yet. If a plan is to be developed, it must be a comprehensive one and for the time being, in order for the plan to act as a comprehensive document, additional studies should be conducted at a more localized level on various smaller scale topics. What's Next The study exposed a multitude of additional research topics that were smaller in scope and could either add or detract from the concept of developing a model growth plan for the western slope fire service. The following topics could be studied in order to gain a better understanding of the relationship involved between community growth on the western slope and the fire service response: 120

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1. None of the five organizations studied had adopted a specific deployment standard, either nationally or locally recognized, that established a maximum threshold for response time delivery. Many issues were reported for the reasoning behind the lack of adoption of a specific standard. A study could be conducted in an attempt to identify other programs, from a national or state level perspective, that have successfully adopted response time standards in order to see how those standards function and if they could be integrated into a western slope community or network of communities. 2. At least two of the five organizations in the study advised that they had either completely transformed or were in the processes of transforming from a combination career/volunteer agency to an entirely career agency. Issues that seem to drive that transformation was a lack of volunteers and the need for more complex fire services (i.e. hazardous materials, emergency medical). A study could be conducted in order to identify the factors that would prompt such as organizational transition and if there were alternatives available. 3. Two organizations indicate that the recruitment and retention of qualified volunteers was difficult and hindered their department's ability to adequately address increases in calls for services and other fire related obligations. A lack of commitment resulting much of the time from the volunteer's having busy private schedules, family duties and employer obligations had seriously challenged the organizations ability to provide an appropriate level of fire protection services by stretching resources thin. A study could be conducted in order to identify an incentive and marketing program that would help attract qualified and committed volunteer firefighters to the team. 121

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APPENDIX A. FOCUS INTERVIEW AGENCY WORK SHEET THESIS RESEARCH PROJECT FOCUSED INTERVIEW Interviewer Work Sheet The primary purposes of this research paper is to (i) identify the urban planning related standards utilized by local fire departments, which measure effectiveness of current and future levels of service (LOS) in a selected number of Colorado's western slope communities as they grow and develop, and (ii) make policy recommendations as well as determine if a model plan can be established if necessary to assist those communities when integrating fire service needs with community development desires as that change takes place. General Information Department Name: Address: Contact: Primary Type of Department: ( ) Career ( ) Volunteer ( ) Municipal ( ) Fire District Number of Personnel: Career # Volunteer # Demographic Information ()Combination-CareerNolunteer ( ) Combination Municipal/District Civilian# Basic information about the department/district and the community they serve. Source and Year of data is important were applicable. Population Served: Response Area Covered (sq miles): Primary Type of Area Served: ( ) Urban ( ) Suburban Total Number of Calls for Service: ()Rural ()Mix __________ Fire Suppression # EMS # Inspections # Other# 122

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Number of Fire Stations: Staffed # Not Staffed# ISO Rating: (do different areas have different classifications?) Average Response Time? What codes and/or best practices have been adopted that address matters of community growth, development standards, etc. (e.g. International Fire Code, NFPA 171 0)? IfYes-NFPA 1710, Is department/district meeting established response criteria? IfNo-NFPA 1710, What response standard does the department utilized to measure performance? Does the department/district plan to add any new fire stations to its service area? Does the department/district have a Mission Statement? Does the department/district have a Vision Statement? Does the department/district have a written internal strategic plan or master plan that helps the fire agency adequately deal with community growth? If Yes, Explain document functionality and the extent it is utilized (i.e. guide vs. standard)? If No, What is the department/districts perception as to why they do not take part in the planning processes? Is the department/district regularly represented at development review meetings with the local planning, building and/or public works department(s)? If Yes, Frequency of development review meetings attended? ()Daily ()Weekly ()Bi-Weekly ()Monthly ( ) Yearly ( ) Other If Yes, Explain role and the extent of participation? If No, What is the department/districts perception as to why they do not take part in the planning processes? Does the department/district take part in plan review other than development review meetings (i.e. building design, construction plans, subdivision projects, etc.)? 123

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Does the department/district actively take part in community-wide planning projects such as Master Plan Updates, Rural Area Plans and Neighborhood Plans? If yes, Explain role and the extent of participation? If No, What is the department/districts perception as to why they do not take part in the planning processes? Does the community in which the department/district serves have a "community wildfire protection plan"? Community Growth Information Intended to identify tbe top five (5) ISSUES tbat tend to bave significant effects on bow tbe department/district implements and/or improves level of service (LOS) standards as their communities grow in population and land area. What kind of perceived community growth (population and service area) has the department/district experienced over the last ten (years)? Population: Service Area: ()Heavy ()Heavy ()Moderate ()Moderate ()Minimal ()Minimal ()None ()None How has community growth/development affected fire department/district levels of service? Preliminary research associated with this project identified a multitude of ISSUES that can have a significant effect on LOS standards as a community grows: I. The number of Fire Stations and their network locations 2. Fire Flow (availability of water) 3. Interagency Cooperation Development standards, Development Review, Community Plans, etc. 4. Types of Land Use (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) 5. Internal Strategic Planning What top five (5) ISSUES, in order of importance, has the department/district identified as being significant when it comes to implementing and/or improving levels of service (LOS) standards as the community grows? I. 2. 3. 4. 5. Why has the department/district determined the previously mentioned ISSUES are important when it comes to implementing and/or improving LOS standards as the community grows? 124

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Are there any growth related LOS ISSUES that the department/district feels are unique to the following (that separate it from the typical fire service agency elsewhere): I. Service Area 2. Colorado's Western Slope Growth Issue Threshold Information (An effort to determine what are the THRESHOLDS associated with the above ISSUES tbat would trigger tbe department/district to address LOS standards as tbe community grows i.e. what would prompt tbe placement of a new fire station in a particular area or wbat fire flow (water) or alternative fire protection plan would be needed to approve a new residential subdivision on tbe fringe of tbe municipal boundary?) Preliminary research associated with this project identified a multitude of THRESHOLDS that may assist the department/district when it comes to identifying when a particular ISSUE has crossed its threshold and may need attention in order to maintain or improve their LOS standards as the community grows: I. Increase in Population/Population Density 2. Increased Calls for Service. 3. Increased Emergency Response Times. 4. Fire Flow Availability Data. 5. Type ofLand Use/Development What are the associated "THRESHOLDS'' as they relate to the previous top 5 growth "ISSUES'' that the department/district has identified as being significant when it comes to implementing and/or improving levels of service (LOS) standards as the community grows? ISSUE Example: Additional Fire Station in NE Quadrant ]. ________________________ 2. ________________________ 3 ------------------------4. _______________________ 5. _______________________ THRESHOLD Based on response times exceeding NFPA 1710 standards. Why has the department/district determined the THRESHOLDS are important when it comes to implementing and/or improving LOS standards as the community grows? (Identify performance measure methodology and statistics when applicable.) 125

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Are there any growth related LOS THRESHOLDS that the department/district feels are uniaue to the following (that separate it from the typical fire service agency elsewhere): l. Service Area 2. Colorado's Western Slope 126

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BIBLIOGRAPHY American Farmland Trust. Colorado Overview. 2005. 20 September 2005 < http: //www.farmland.org/rocky_mountain/colorado_overview.html > American Planning Association. A Planner's Dictionary. Report No. 521/522. Chicago, Illinois: Planning Advisory Service, 2004. Beaty, Rick, Fire Chief of Grand Junction Fire Department. Personal Interview. 27 September 2005. Boyd, Guy. "Strategic Planning: Q&A." Fire Chief. 1 February 2000. 12 August 2005 < http://www.firechief.com/mag/firefighting_strategic_planning_3/ > Campoli, Julie, Elizabeth Humstone, and Alex Mclean. Above and Beyond: Visual Change in Small Towns and Rural Areas. Washington D.C.: Planner's Press, American Planning Association, 2002. City of Delta, Colorado. City of Delta Comprehensive Plan. Delta, Colorado: City of Delta, 1997. City of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Glenwood Springs Comprehensive Plan: A Framework for Decision Making. Glenwood Springs, Colorado: City of Glenwood Springs, 1998. City of Grand Junction, Colorado. 2003 City of Grand Junction/Mesa County Data Book. Grand Junction, Colorado: City of Grand Junction, 2003. City of Grand Junction, Colorado. Growth Plan. Grand Junction, Colorado: City of Grand Junction, 1996. City of Montrose, Colorado. City of Montrose Comprehensive Plan. Montrose, Colorado: City of Montrose, 1998. Delta Area Development. Delta, Colorado Overview. 2005. 17 October 2005 < http: llwww. deltaareadevelopment. org/delta > Elroi, Daniel. "Performance Measurement in Local Government." Arc User Magazine. Jan.-Mar. 2005, Vol. 8, No. 1, p 24-25. 127

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Ewing, Reid, Rolf Pendall. Measuring Sprawl & Its Impacts: The Character & Consequences of Metropolitan Expansion. 2002. 23 October 2005. < http:// www.smartgrowthamerca.org/sprawlindex/sprawl/exesum.html > Grand Junction Economic Partnership. 2004 Profile: Grand Junction MSA. Colorado. Grand Junction, Colorado: Grand Junction Economic Partnership, 2004. Grand Junction Fire Department. Annual Report 2004. Grand Junction, Colorado: Grand Junction Fire Department, 2005. Green, Gary, Fire Chief of Red, White and Blue Fire Department. Personal Interview. 26 September 2005. Harmon, Gary. "County Population hits 25,000." Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. 11 November 2004. 11 November 2004 < http://www.gjsentinel.com/news /content/ epaper/editions/thursday/11_11_1 a_population.html > Hashagen, Paul. Firefighting in Colonial America. 1998. 26 November 2005 < http://www. Firehouse. com/magazine/american/colonial > International Association of Fire Chiefs. America's Fire Service. 2005. 26 November 2005 < http://www.iafc.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=3#about_fire > International City/County Management Association. Managing Fire and Rescue Services. Washington D.C.: International City/County Management Association University, 2002. International City/County Management Association. The Practice of Local Government Planning. Washington D.C.: International City/County Management Association University, 2000. International City/County Management Association. The Practice of Local Government Planning. Washington D.C.: International City/County Management Association University, 1979. Livingston, Ann, Elizabeth Ridlington, and Matt Baker. The Costs of Sprawl: Fiscal. Environmental. and Quality of Life Impacts of Low-Density Development in the Denver Region. Denver, Colorado: Environment Colorado Research and Policy Center, 2003. "Map of Colorado." Map. Colorado Cartography Division. State of Colorado 9 November 2005 < http://www.dola.state.co.us/oem/cartography > Mclaughlin, Patrick. "Growing Pains." Fire Chief. 1 January 2004. 26 November 2005 < http://www. firechief. com/management/firefighting_growingpains/ > 128

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Mesa County Government. History. 2005. 1 October 2005. < http:// www.mesacounty.us > Mesa County Engineering Department. Original Photographs of 30 Road Project Underpass. Grand Junction, Colorado: Mesa County Government, 2005. National Fire Academy. Fire/Arson Investigation. Emmitsburg, Maryland: United States Fire Administration, 2000. National Fire Protection Association. Needs Assessment of the United States Fire Service. Emmitsburg, MD: United States Fire Administration, 2002 National Fire Protection Association. NFPA President Testifies in Suooort of SAFER Act. Committee on Science. U.S. House of Representatives. 2003. 10 November 2004 < http://www.nfpa.org > National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 1710: Standard for the Organization and Deployment of Fire Suppression Operations. Emergency Medical Operations and Soecial Operations to the Public by Career Fire Departments. Quincy, Massachusetts: National Fire Protection Association, 2004. National Fire Protection Association. Overview. 2005. 26 November 2005 < http://www.nfpa.org > National Volunteer Fire Council. Fact Sheet. 2005. November 2005 < http://www.nvfc.org > Piper, Michael, Fire Chief of Glenwood Springs Fire Department. Personal Interview. 10 October 2005. Pistor, Bob, Fire Chief of Montrose Fire Protection District. Personal Interview. 23 September 2005. Snock, Jack, Jeffrey Johnson, and Dan Olsen. Recruiting. Training. and Maintaining Volunteer Firefighters. West Linn, Oregon: Emergency Services Consulting Group, 1998. Suderland, Pat. "Delta County Grows 33 Percent." Delta County Independent. 21 March 2001, Vol. 118, No. 12, p 1. Suppes, Adam, Volunteer Fire Chief of Delta Fire Protection District. Personal Interview. 23 September 2005. 129

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Town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Town of Breckenridge Comprehensive Plan. Breckenridge, Colorado: Town of Breckenridge, 1983. Town of Breckenridge, Colorado. 2005 Town of Breckenridge Overview. Breckenridge, Colorado: Town of Breckenridge, 2005. United States Census Bureau. American Fact Finder. 2005. 16 October 2005 < http://www.factfinder.census.gov > United States Fire Administration. Statistics. 2005. 17 September 2005 < http://www. usfa. fema.gov/statistics > Western Slope Landscapes, Towns, Cities and Fire Stations. Colorado. Personal Photographs by author. 2005 130