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Frequently Asked Questions

Organization

How is the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District organized?

The Department is a Title 32 Special District which is governed by a five-member, publicly-elected Board of Directors who serve four-year terms. The Department is managed by a career Fire Chief, an Assistant Fire Chief, and an Administrative Assistant. The Department currently has 9 full-time career firefighter/emergency medical technicians (EMTs), 14 part-time firefighter/EMTs, 35 line volunteer FF/EMTs, and 23 Fire Auxiliary members.  

Responsibilities

What is the Black Forest Fire Department’s area of responsibility?

The Department responds to calls within 48 square miles of unincorporated El Paso County. It serves a population of approximately 10,000 people and many more through mutual and automatic aid agreements throughtout the area. 

Calls/Responses

How many calls does the Department respond to each year?

We respond to about 900 calls per year in Black Forest.  

How many firefighters respond to a typical alarm?

When responding to a fire call for service, the engine carries a minimum of 3 firefighters. On a medical call for service, the engine has a minimum of 1 firefighter and two on the ambulance. 

How many calls involve responses to fires?

About 3 percent of calls each year are responses to fires.

How many firefighters respond to fire calls?

A minimum of 3 career firefighters, a chief officer, and any available members will respond. Many times, we have volunteers and part-time personnel that will respond on the initial alarm. 

Stations

How many stations does the Department have?

The Department operates from two stations for the protection of our community:

  • Station 1, at Burgess and Teachout, is staffed 24/7 with 3 firefighters on each of the three shifts.
  • Station 2, at Hodgen and Ridge Run Road, is staffed from 8am-8pm daily by 2 part-time staff.
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Firefighting apparatus

What firefighting apparatus are assigned to each of the Department’s stations?
  • Apparatus at Station 1 include:
    • Engine
    • Water tender (water truck)
    • Brush truck
    • Ambulance
    • 3 Utility Vehicles
  • Apparatus at Station 2 include:
    • Engine
    • Water tender
    • Brush truck
    • Ambulance
What’s the average age of the Department’s trucks? What’s the average life span of a fire truck?

The oldest truck in our fleet is a 1988 Pierce, with the newest being a 2014 Rosenbauer engine. The average age of our vehicles is about 8-10 years. The average life span of firefighting equipment is generally 10-15 years, depending on usage.

How much does it cost to replace firefighting apparatus?
  • The cost of replacing an engine is about $380,000
  • The cost of replacing a water tender is about $150,000
  • The cost of replacing a brush truck is about $85,000
 

Financial

     
When was the last mill levy increase for the Department?
  • The last mill levy increase approved by voters was in 2010.  That increase, increased from 4.5 to 9.4 mills.
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Where does the Department get its funding?

The Department’s funding comes primarily from property tax income. Additional funding comes from the ambulance fees for transporting patients and specific ownership fees. 

Doesn’t the Department receive funding from El Paso County and the State?

The District receives no funding from El Paso County or the State of Colorado.

What are ISO ratings and how are they determined?

ISO ratings determine the cost of homeowners' insurance.  The District was re-inspected in January 2010.  Ratings are based on evaluations of several categories, including:

  • Personnel
  • Water supply
  • Equipment
  • Training
  • Call volume

Ratings are on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the best rating. Higher protection class ratings translate to more expensive homeowner’s insurance premiums. 

What is the District’s ISO rating?

The District’s ISO rating is 5 for properties within the district, ISO 4  for properties within the district and within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant. 

Community Education Services

What community education services does the Department provide?

The Department offers a number of community service programs, which include:

  • Fire prevention and education information in local news media
  • Presentations in local public schools, homeowner associations, and local civic and service organizations
  • A Community Awareness Program
  • An extensive Community Resources page on this web site
  • Firewise Assessment Program

Recruitment and Training

How can I become a firefighter for the Department?

The District continually recruits new volunteer firefighters. Most career firefighters are hired from the District’s volunteer corps. 

What training is required to become a firefighter for the Department?

Career and volunteer firefighters complete the same training to qualify for positions with the Department.  All firefighters must complete the District’s fire training academy.

  • Training includes:
    • State Firefighter I certification
    • State Hazardous Materials certification
    • Wildland firefighting training
    • Emergency vehicle operator certification

Firefighters must complete a minimum of 36 hours of training each year and maintain their certifications.

Are there other opportunities to serve with the Department?

We offer a Fire Auxiliary program which allows people to be a part of the department without having fire or EMS certifications but help the community through supporting the line personnel.