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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
2013 Results and 2014 Outlook

2013 was a very busy year for both the Metro District and the Crystal Park Volunteer Fire Department.  This was due in part to our increased automatic aid responses (where the CPFD is automatically dispatched without a request) to Manitou Springs as a result of widespread flooding there, and increased sensitivity to smoke by area residents due to the destructive fires over the past two years.

2013 Highlights
The District continues to operate under an Automatic Aid Agreement with the Manitou Springs Fire Department insuring timely response to all incidents in the District.

The District applied for a number of grants, including a State Volunteer Firefighter Assistance Grant, which we were awarded. The Fire Department was able to purchase a port-a-tank, wildland personal protective equipment, a wildland portable pump and low level strainer.  This was a 50% cost share with the District’s share being about $3100.00.  Additionally, we were awarded an unsolicited grant by Honeywell Corporation for additional personal protective equipment to be used during flood events.  This was a 100% grant that was worth approximately $22,000.

The Crystal Park Fire Department had 67 dispatched calls in 2013, including smoke investigations, medical calls, vehicle accidents, flood events, odor investigations and more. Automatic aid calls included structure fires, medical calls, Manitou move-up coverage (when a CPVFD engine and crew covers Manitou due to their call volume/severity), and traffic accidents.  This was a very high number of calls for the CPFD, more than doubling the 2012 call volume.  

The Black Forest Fire resulted in the Department sending one apparatus to that fire as part of a Joint Task Force with Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls and Cripple Creek. In addition, CPFD members and one CPFD Engine briefly covered Manitou Springs during this period.

There were numerous occasions when Department members staged at the Crystal Park Office area to cover areas of Manitou Springs during flood incidents last summer.  CPFD, in accordance with the Manitou Flood Incident Action Plan, is responsible for coverage of the east side of Manitou Springs in addition to our own District.  Several responses into Manitou were required including a technical rescue of resident injured and stranded on a hill above the flood waters.  The floods also caused responses in our own District, both at homes and for pumping operations to help keep lake levels manageable.   Additionally, on a number of occasions the CPFD manned the Manitou Springs Station, covering both Districts’ stations while the MSFD responded to other calls.  Volunteers supported numerous community events in Crystal Park and in Manitou Springs, such as the CPFD Open House, the Crystal Park Annual Picnic, the Department’s Pancake Breakfast, Channel 9 Health Fair, Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, Emma Crawford Coffin Races, MDA Fill the Boot, and more. 

Engine 910 passed its annual pump test with excellent results.  Although old (1978), it continues to function well and hopefully will continue to do so.  Engine 925 (formerly designated as Brush 940) is also an old apparatus (1979) that is not particularly well-suited for service in terrain like Crystal Park.  It will most likely be the next vehicle that the District will look to replace.  Both water tenders, Tender 960 and Tender 961, are fully operational, as is Rescue 970, our primary emergency medical vehicle.  The emergency lighting and scene lighting on all vehicles is being evaluated and upgraded where needed.

Black Forest Fire
All residents are well aware of this fire and the tremendous damage and the loss of life that it caused.  This was the second major fire in the Colorado Springs area in less than a year and has spurred the attention of many residents on mitigation of fuels, “hardening” their residences, and other fire protection measures.  There have been even more Firewise evaluations done by Fire Department members.  Residents are encouraged to request one from the Department if they have not already done so. 

The Department has lost volunteers due to them moving from the Park over the past year, but has added enough members to maintain our force level at 16.  Crystal Park is a small community, with a limited number of residents from which to recruit Fire Department members.  As resident turnover increases, the number of Department members can decrease.  If the community wishes to continue to have a viable, professional Department, the Department must have more volunteersThe CPFD has many needs that involve duties other than direct firefighting, such as drivers, pump operators, EMT’s, rescue operations and more.  We ask that all residents who have an interest contact Paul Welsch (331-3040), John Hennessey (685-9561), or any other Fire Department member or Metro Board member for additional information.

ESA County Ambulance Service Contract Update  
CPFD spent significant time working with the County to ensure that emergency medical services and response time requirements from the County ambulance service were maintained in the new contract in 2014.  

Dispatching of CPFD was transferred from Manitou Dispatch to El Paso County Dispatch in April.  This is significant because when you call 9-1-1, CPFD and MSFD are automatically dispatched with all needed services directly from County Dispatch (where your 9-1-1 call is initially received) without information being transferred to Manitou Springs Dispatch (which no longer exists). 

The District and Fire Department wish to sincerely thank the residents of Crystal Park for all the generous donations and fundraising support in 2013.  These funds enable the Department to purchase much needed supplies and equipment, update old equipment, and perform needed maintenance and repairs.  In addition, the Department received great support, once again, from Borriello Brothers Pizza, who allowed the Department to sell discounted coupons that resulted in $2950 in fundraising monies. We are profoundly grateful to all those involved. 

2014 Outlook
There are several issues and concerns for 2014.

  • ISO Rating – The CPFD has requested a new ISO Review in hopes of lowering the District’s current 9 rating to an 8b, based on the purchase of the additional Tender and numerous tool and equipment acquisitions. Further information will be forthcoming after the ISO Rating Review has been done.  Currently the timing is uncertain.

  • “90-90-30 Initiative” - This is a new statewide initiative that is focused on getting 90 firefighters and 30 apparatus to any wildland incident in the Front Range in 90 minutes. It is the intent of the CPFD to participate in the initiative as we may well benefit greatly from its implementation. An “association” of departments will be formed for this response plan. At this time it is unclear what this framework may look like, but the CPFD is engaged with all the other Fire Protection Districts to make this happen

  • Longer Term Needs – The District has begun a process to determine and prioritize the longer term needs of the District and Fire Department.  Items such as apparatus replacement, station upgrade & potential expansion, as well as equipment acquisition, replacement & update have been included. 

  • Paving of an “apron” outside the MUB – Money has been included in the District’s budget to accomplish this project in 2014.  It is planned for late Spring.

  • Fire Mitigation – We realize that residents are probably tired of hearing about this topic, but it is of paramount importance in protecting the lives and property of residents.  There has been an excellent start on this monumental task, and the HOA Board and the Community Wildfire Protection Plan Advisory Group have done a great job initiating this effort.  Continued community support is essential, so please do not let this slip from its very high priority position.

  • Relationship with Manitou Springs Fire – The District will be continuing our efforts to strengthen and enhance our relationship with Manitou Springs Fire to provide the best fire protection and emergency medical services that we can.

  • Change in Leadership – John and Susi Hennessey have decided to sell their home and are leaving Colorado when that is accomplished.  John has resigned as Chief of the CPFD effective with the April business meeting on April 15.  He will remain as a member of the Department.  Under the Fire Department by-laws, Paul Welsch, currently Deputy Chief, will be the new Chief.  John has led the Department with distinction since its formation in February 2007.  Both he and Susi will be sorely missed.  The Metropolitan District Board wishes to sincerely thank them both for their many contributions to the Fire Department and our community.  The Department would not exist without John’s efforts and leadership.

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.  More information can found by clicking on the links on the left hand side.  
You can also contact any of the Metro Board members or Chief Welsch.

We would also once again like to thank you, the residents, as well as the Board of Directors of the Crystal Park HOA, the Park staff and the Fire Department Auxiliary for their support of the Crystal Park Fire Department and its members.  The CPFD and Auxiliary 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
Clint Schneider, Treasurer
Joan Powers, Secretary
Dick O’Brien
Derek Strickler