Answers to some of the questions we are asked most often.
How is the Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District organized?
The District, a Title 32 Special District, is governed by a five-member publicly elected Board of Directors who serve four-year terms.
The Department is managed by a Fire Chief, a Deputy Fire Chief, a Training Captain, an Administrative Assistant, and a part time Finance Director.
The Operations Division is authorized to maintain a daily minimum staffing of five personnel on duty every day. Daily staffing is maintained by having three rotating shifts; each comprised of a Fire Lieutenant and four firefighters/emergency medical technicians.
The District has adopted an ALS Standards of Coverage with a goal of maintaining Advanced Life Support on duty 95% of the time. This is accomplished by having at least one of the firefighter/EMTs on duty to be a certified paramedic.
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 throughout the area.
How many calls does the Department respond to each year?
We respond to approximately 1,000 calls per year in Black Forest.
How many firefighters respond to a typical alarm?
With the very limited staffing available, BFFR typically sends all on-duty personnel to each call. However, there may be times when additional calls for service have some personnel already serving others, and we will send what we have available.
How many calls involve responses to fires?
About 5.7 percent of calls each year are responses to fires.
How many firefighters respond to fire calls?
Reports of fires receive a robust response of all on duty BFFRPD personnel and our automatic aid partners from Donald Wescott FPD, Falcon FPD, and Tri-Lakes FPD.
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.
- Station 2, at Hodgen and Ridge Run Road, is staffed 24/7.
What firefighting apparatus are assigned to each of the Department’s stations?
- Apparatus at Station 1 include:EngineWater tender (water truck)Brush truckAmbulance
- Apparatus at Station 2 include:EngineWater tenderBrush truckAmbulance
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 1999 Freightliner Tender, with the newest being a 2019 SVI 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 $550,000
- The cost of replacing a water tender is about $200,000
- The cost of replacing a brush truck is about $85,000
When was the last mill levy increase for the Department?
The last mill levy increase approved by voters was in 2018. That increase, increased from 9.215 up to 14.5 mills.
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 August 2015. Ratings are based on evaluations of several categories, including:
- Water supply
- 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.
- 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.