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GRR Rural Fire District Fire Station Project

GRR FIRE DEPARTMENT STATION PROJECT

There are three critical components to a fire department: firefighters, firefighting equipment and apparatus, and a fire station. The fire station is necessary to keep firefighting vehicles in a heated and secure building with keys in the ignition, ready to roll on a moment’s notice.

The Gallatin River Ranch Fire Department (GRRFD) is the only department in Montana without ownership or a long-term lease on a building suitable to function as a fire station. The Developer has generously allowed GRRFD to use the building at 650 Equestrian Center Loop Road (the old HOA shop) rent free. This arrangement is temporary. The Trustees of the Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District (GRRRFD) have decided that the time is upon us to plan, fund, and build a fire station. This matter was discussed at the 2019 GRRHOA Annual Meeting and a handout was provided at that meeting. This matter is documented in GRRRFD monthly Trustee meeting agendas, minutes, and chief’s reports since April 2019.

The new station must be within 5 road miles of the farthest dwelling it serves for insurance and quality of service reasons. This rules out building it at the Equestrian Center or at the Chief’s House on that property. The GRRRFD Board of Trustees have proposed to build this station on the GRRHOA property at 5770 Nixon Gulch Road. The current proposal is to build it as an addition to the north side of the GRRHOA shop. The exterior will match the existing building. The station will be very basic, with room for four vehicles and the department’s firefighting equipment. This location meets the distance requirements above and provides some necessary economies in terms of well, septic, driveway, power, phone, and limited excavation expense. These, in aggregate, should reduce construction costs significantly compared to building on a separate lot.

Funding for this project will be done with the raffle fundraiser and donation drive, funds saved over the past two years, and a commercial loan. We will seek other funding resources, though no large grant applications are likely to be successful (this was tried in 2012). This project will have no impact on GRRHOA member dues. No GRRHOA money will be spent on this project. We do not plan to apply for bond funding. The GRRRFD Board does not plan to apply for an increase in tax mill rate.

The GRRRFD is in the early planning phase of this project. As such, no accurate estimate on cost is possible at this point. The plan is to start construction after the Nixon Bridge is complete, possibly as early as summer or fall of 2020 depending on funding status and construction firm selection and availability. Additional information about the project, the district, and the department can be found at http://www.grrrfd.org.  

The Fire District is kicking off a raffle fundraiser throughout the Gallatin Valley to help pay for the project. The raffle will sell only 2500 tickets at $25 each, five for $100 for a 2019 Can-Am Outlander XT 570 ATV. The raffle drawing will take place on 12/26/19. Raffle organizers are Ken Weskamp (406-599-5550) and Maria Fraser. Tickets can be purchased from them or by contacting admin@grrfd.org.

The GRR Rural Fire District is also seeking donations from the public to help pay for the new station. The GRR community has been very generous in the past and we hope that will continue with this vital community project. Please consider making a donation that will add significant benefit to public safety in our community. Donations are tax-deductible under section 170(c)(1) of the IRS Code. The GRRRFD is a governmental public service entity and all funds donated are used for public purpose. To make a donation, contact us at admin@grrfd.org. Donation checks can be made out to GRR Rural Fire District and mailed to GRR Rural Fire District, PO Box 109, Manhattan, MT 59741

GRRRFD REPORT TO TO GRRHOA 2019 ANNUAL MEETING

The attached report was provided to all GRRHOA members at the August 2019 GRRHOA Annual Meeting.

2019 GRRRFD handout for GRRHOA Annual meeting v2

Medical Emergency Preparedness

Medical emergencies require activation of the 911 system. Failure to do so increases emergency medical response times, which may have dire consequences. If you need someone to “check you over” with an injury or illness, calling a neighbor delays the response and puts your neighbor in a very difficult position even if they are medically trained. An injury, broken bone, serious bleeding, chest pain, shortness of breath, stroke, or being too weak to walk are only a few of the many things that require emergency medical services where time is critical.

Things you can do to improve your emergency medical preparedness:

  • HAVE CARDS:
    • Have an emergency medical card in your wallet.
    • Keep current medical insurance cards in your wallet.
    • Have an emergency medical information app on your phone.
    • Have an emergency medical card clearly visible on your refrigerator.
  • HAVE A PLAN:
    • Make a checklist with numbers of who to call.
    • Have a medical “go bag” with supplies and clothing you would need if admitted to a hospital.
    • Inform family or friends of your plan.
  • KEEP THINGS CURRENT:
    • Make sure your medical record is current.
    • Make sure you identify where your medical record is on your medical card if that record is not in the Bozeman Deaconess system.
  • ORGANIZE MEDICATIONS:
    • Have a current medication list and have extra copies for emergency medical personnel.
    • Have current medications in one closable bin:
      • For easy inspection by emergency medical responders.
      • For easy transport to the hospital, if needed.
  • ADVANCE DIRECTIVES:
    • Determine if you want any limitations on your healthcare in advance and communicate them to those people who may be called upon to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to make them.
    • Provide copies of your medical power of attorney and living will to Bozeman Deaconess Health so they are on file in their computer system.
    • If you do not want medical providers to resuscitate you in the event or a cardiac or respiratory arrest, you must document that directive in writing and in advance through your medical provider. This must be documented on a PHYSICIAN’S ORDERS FOR LIFE-SUSTAINING TREATMENT (POLST) form.
      • Place the POLST form on your refrigerator.
Fire Disaster Preparedness

Disaster preparedness is similar in concept to general disaster preparedness. Review the Gallatin County readygallatin.com website for additional information.

Steps to take include:

  • BE INFORMED:
    • Sign up for the Gallatin County
    • Review the Gallatin County readygallatin.com Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.
  • BE FINDABLE:
    • Place highly visible street address numbers at your roadside and on the entry to your home. Reflective numbers at the roadside are recommended.
  • HAVE A PLAN:
    • Have fire extinguishers and know how to use them.
    • Know the locations of the gas and power shut-off controls are for your home and all buildings.
    • Know of at least two evacuation routes.
    • Have a “go bag” ready with the things you will need in case of evacuation.
    • Know what you will need to take with you and only take the things you can’t live without and can load in your vehicle(s) in less than 15 minutes.
      • Have a checklist of what you will take.
    • Have an emergency water and food supply in case you are instructed to “shelter in place”.
    • Have a designated rally point outside of the immediate area, if relevant for your family members and have a known communication plan.
  • EVACUATE WHEN ORDERED TO DO SO:
    • Don’t question or disobey evacuation orders from emergency personnel. Act immediately.

 

 

Wildland Fire Preparedness for New Home Construction

There are a number of steps to reduce home fire risk during the planning process for new homes and buildings on GRR.

  • Building site plans:
    • Avoid the tops of ridges.
    • Avoid building on the top of a funnel, such as the upper end or top of a draw or canyon.
  • Landscape plans:
    • Create defensible zones of protection around each structure on your property.
      • See the section entitled Wildland Preparedness for Finished Buildings for details describing inner and outer defensible zones of protection.
  • Choice of building and roofing materials
    • Use fire resistant material.
    • Metal, tile, or asphalt roofing materials. Do not use wooden shingles.
    • Place screens on fireplace flues.
  • Consider installing an interior sprinkler system.
  • Consider installing an underground water cistern. Locate this outside of the potential “collapse zone” if the building were to catch fire and collapse.
  • Plan to locate wood piles at least 30 feet away from buildings.
  • Plan proper ventilation for hay storage buildings, and locate these buildings well away from homes, 30 or more feet.
  • Place highly visible street address numbers at your roadside and on the entry to your home. Reflective numbers at the roadside are recommended. Place these before construction begins.
  • Review: https://www.readygallatin.com/download/website/handouts/wildfire/wildfire.pdf
Wildland Fire Home Preparedness for Finished Buildings

Recent fire seasons have been brutal lessons for those living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), which includes the Gallatin River Ranch Rural Fire District (GRRRFD). People who choose to build or buy homes or other buildings  surrounded by wildland are wise to learn from the bitter experience of those affected by wildland fires. Residents within GRRRFD should take a critical look at their fire risk, and mitigate those risks to the greatest degree possible.

Prevention, prevention, prevention.

  • Place highly visible street address numbers at your roadside and on the entry to your home. Reflective numbers at the roadside are recommended.
  • Control the height of roadside grass and weeds on your property.
  • Make efforts to control cheat grass on your property (this is highly flammable).
  • Create an inner zone of defensible space 30 feet around each structure on your property.
    • The inner zone should consist of watered green grass or fire-resistant material such as rock borders, concrete driveways, patios, and walls.
    • No flammable materials (such as wood piles) should be stored within this zone.
    • Avoid planting trees or shrubbery within the inner zone.
    • Strongly consider removing trees and shrubs that may already exist within this zone, especially conifers.
  • Create an outer zone of protection from 30- to 100-feet from each structure on your property
    • Mow a wide perimeter outside your lawn before the grass dries out in June.
    • Avoid mowing this area under dry conditions from July to October.
    • If you must mow, carry a fire extinguisher while you work.
    • Limit shrubbery and trees to the outer perimeter. Avoid plantings upwind from structures to limit flying ember danger. Plan fire-retardant species rather than conifers, especially upwind from structures.
    • Remove dead shrubbery and/or trees in the outer perimeter.
    • Consider the direction of prevailing winds, which on GRR are generally west to east. Flying embers from native junipers can travel great distances in high winds. Consider removal up upwind junipers.
  • Know the location of your electrical breaker box.
  • Mark the location of underground propane tanks with a reflective marker stick.
  • Mark the location of underground water cisterns with reflective marker sticks.
  • Keep wood piles at least 30 feet away from all buildings.
  • Locate ABC fire extinguishers in locations prone to fire: kitchen, shop, garage, utility room, and within quick access to fireplaces.
  • Keep combustible or flammable materials away from ignition sources.
  • Only use extension cords that are in good condition.
  • Use space heaters with caution.
  • Maintain furnaces and water heaters.
  • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries yearly.
  • Keep matches and other means of setting fires away from children.
  • Have a plan:
    • See the Have a Plan FAQ.
Reducing Community Fire Risk

Wildland fires are a community threat. All community residents have a responsibility to mitigate the threat. What can you do?

  • Your vehicles:
    • Keep an ABC fire extinguisher in each vehicle.
    • Don’t toss cigarettes or other smoking materials on to roads, roadsides, or lawns. Better: quit smoking; you’ll need EMS less often!
    • Don’t park in places where uncut grass or brush can reach the bottom of your vehicle.
    • Don’t drive on roads with tall dry grass growing in the middle of the road.
  • Debris burning and controlled burns:
    • Outside Gallatin River Ranch: follow and obey Gallatin County Burn regulations and restrictions.
    • “Controlled burns” and debris burning are prohibited on Gallatin River Ranch at all times.
  • Outdoor fires:
    • Fires outside fire pits or other outdoor fire devices are not permitted on Gallatin River Ranch.
    • Open fire pits and containerized fires (manufactured fire devices, chimeneas, outdoor fireplaces):
      • Should not be used under windy conditions.
      • Should always be covered with a screening device.
      • Should be attended at all times until cold and dead.
      • Should be doused with water until cold to touch before they are left unattended.
  • Lawn equipment:
    • One spark can ignite a grass fire.
    • Try to mow only green grass.
    • Have a fire extinguisher within reach when mowing roadsides.
  • Recreational activities:
    • Fireworks are not permitted on Gallatin River Ranch except on New Year’s Eve.
    • Outside Gallatin River Ranch, follow Gallatin County fireworks regulations.
    • Discharge of firearms is prohibited on Gallatin River Ranch.
    • Target shooting on State land adjacent to Gallatin River Ranch should only occur when grass is green. They should clear an area around their target(s).
Life in the Wildland Urban Interface

Every home on Gallatin River Ranch is a wildland urban interface. That is the nature of building in rural Montana. Fires are an intrinsic part of Western American ecology. For any rural property in Montana, it is not a question of whether there will be a fire. The questions are when and how to mitigate it.

The matter of when a fire will affect Gallatin River Ranch depends on many things and people over which GRRRFD has limited control. Gallatin River Ranch residents and their guests can do a number of things to mitigate the risk of fire, but the Cottonwood Fire in 2015 was caused when a hot pickup truck exhaust ignited dry grass on a ranch road between Logan and GRR. We were lucky: no lives or homes were lost. Luck has no place in a plan, however. We are at the mercy of random events: a lightning strike, the spark from a lawnmower blade hitting a rock, an ember that escapes someone’s fire pit, a 15-year-old smoker tossing his butt out the window of his dad’s pickup.

The FAQ section in this website includes a number of specific topics for your information.

http://gallatincomt.virtualtownhall.net/public_documents/gallatincomt_plandept/Plans&Policies/GC_CWPPb.pdf

 

Board of Trustee Meeting Reports

Meetings of the Board of Trustees posted on this website begin with the 2017-18 fiscal year. Older meeting minutes and reports are available upon request.

Agendas for upcoming meetings are posted no later than 48 hours prior to a Board meeting. Minutes are posted after they are approved by the Board. Chief’s reports and financial reports are posted after they are approved or reviewed in a Board meeting. The financial reports are then posted to the month they cover, though they are typically not reviewed at the board meeting of the month reported. This is done for clarity.

Fire Education

This section is still under construction. It will be used to post information about fire, medical, and other safety information for district residents.