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Official Site for the Crystal Park Volunteer Fire Department
and the Crystal Park Metropolitan District

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Annual Communication to Residents
2011 Results and 2012 Outlook

2011 was another good year for the Crystal Park Metro District and the Crystal Park Fire Department.  Much progress was made and capabilities enhanced.

There were 24 dispatched calls for the Fire Department in 2011, including 5 vehicle accidents and a major structure fire, as well as gas investigations, smoke investigations  and medical calls (medical calls were the majority, as always).  Volunteers, especially EMT’s, also spent significant time responding to calls in Manitou Springs to maintain proficiency.

The District was awarded a Federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant of just under $19,000, which enabled the purchase of additional personal protective equipment and a thermal imaging camera (TIC), which enables the detection of “hotspots” when searching for a fire, or in the aftermath of a fire.  This is an important and very expensive piece of equipment whose purchase would have had to wait for years without this grant.  Another grant application has been submitted in an effort to obtain funding for additional radios, as increased and improved communications during incidents continues to be an important goal for the District and Fire Department.  Also in 2011, the District was awarded an EMS Provider Grant of $7588, and a Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant of $2450.  These made it possible to purchase wildland firefighting equipment and much needed medical equipment and supplies.  These three grants reimbursed the District for 95%, 90% and 50% of the monies spent respectively for their approved items, thus significantly leveraging your local tax dollars.

Fundraising efforts were successful, with several thousand dollars being raised through firewood sales, the Borriello Brothers Pizza fundraiser and cash donations from residents.  The participation and generosity of Park residents in these efforts is again hugely appreciated.

A major milestone was the signing of an Automatic Aid Agreement for fire protection with the Manitou Springs Fire Department.  This Agreement replaces the former $10,000 paid contract with the City of Manitou Springs, without any change in service level or response time. The CPFD continues to strengthen the relationship with the Manitou Springs Fire Department as well as other fire protection entities.

There were a number of issues that arose in 2011 that are worthwhile to address in this communication:

1)  Use of the 911 system - On a number of occasions, residents have reported incidents by calling the Park Office, the gatehouse or individual members of the Fire Department.  We want to re-emphasize that the best way to obtain the fastest response is to call 911.  Anything else only causes a delay in response time, which may be critical in some situations.  We recognize that residents may not want to “make a big deal” out of what they may perceive as less than major incidents, but it is important that all incidents be reported through the 911 system in ensure that proper resources are dispatched in response.  The Fire Department (both CPFD and Manitou Springs Fire), as well as the Sheriff’s Department, are in the business of responding to suspected problems and want you to make that call, so please do so.

2)    Use of the Reverse 911 system – Questions were raised after the Sun Valley fire about why the reverse 911 system was not activated.  This system is used by the County to notify residents of an impending danger, but not as an information system.  The Incident Commander in this incident made a determination that because of calm winds, cold temperatures and the resources available to him, the likelihood of the fire spreading was low.  Accordingly, the reverse 911 system was not activated.

3)    The need for a second water tender – The Metro Board of Directors has for a number of years been setting aside monies toward the purchase of a second water tender to augment the tender owned by the HOA and used by the Fire Department as needed, under a Shared Use Agreement.  This second tender will enable the Fire Department to shuttle water from water sources to a fire in a much faster, more efficient manner.  This in turn will enable an attempt to lower the District’s ISO rating.  The ISO rating is used by many insurance companies as one factor in determining premium rates for homeowner’s insurance.  Hopefully, the ISO rating can be lowered and save some residents money.  (Note that not all insurance companies use this rating).  The Metro Board has included $35,000 in the 2012 Budget for the purchase of a used tender (new cost approx. $200,000).  The Fire Department, with proper oversight of the Metro Board, will be looking for an appropriate tender, based on a procurement plan approved by the Board.

4)    Homeowner’s Insurance concerns – There continue to be questions and concerns regarding insurance coverage and premiums.  Many residents have received notice of premium increases.  This is largely due to the losses that insurance companies have sustained from wildland fire over the last several years, particularly in urban interface areas like Crystal Park.  The Fire Department has continued to work with residents and their insurance agents in an ongoing effort to help reduce premiums.  Residents should contact Chief John Hennessey for further information and assistance.

Both fire engines used by the Fire Department, while serviceable and currently performing well, are quite old, being built in 1978 and 1979.  It is the intention of the Metro Board to begin setting aside money over the next several years for eventual replacement of these pieces of equipment.  The money saved by the Automatic Aid Agreement with Manitou Springs Fire will add significantly to this process.  We also will be looking at additional ways to get water to fire scenes more quickly, primarily by positioning additional, larger water sources in strategic areas of the Park.

2012 Election – There will be an election for District Board members in May of this year.  Watch for additional information on this to be posted.

Finally, we would encourage all residents and Crystal Park members to familiarize themselves with the workings of the Metropolitan District and the Fire Department. Informed residents are less likely to fall prey to unfounded rumors and misinformation that occasionally circulate in the Park. Much information, including financial information such as budgets and monthly Treasurer’s Reports, can be accessed at , by clicking on the links on the right hand side of the page.  You can also contact any of the Metro Board members or CPFD Chief.

We would also once again like to thank you, the residents, as well as the Board of Directors of the Crystal Park HOA and the Park staff for supporting the Crystal Park Fire Department and its members, as well as the Fire Department Auxiliary. These volunteers, as a group, spend thousands of hours involved in training and Department activities in order to be prepared to respond to emergencies.

Crystal Park Metropolitan District Board of Directors

Mike Doughty, Chairman
Charlie Ennis, Treasurer
Mike Young, Secretary
Tim Britton
Dick O’Brien