One month ago, Colorado River Fire Protection District, also known as Colorado River Fire Rescue (CRFR) released information related to our budget and future staffing after a failed mill levy increase in May of 2020. We are committed to fulfilling our Mission and Values while being transparent in our decisions moving forward.
Through data driven research, CRFR has made the challenging decision to close station 43 on the South side of Rifle effective July 28, 2020. As difficult as it was to have these conversations, the closure of station 43 will help ensure that CRFR can move closer to a balanced budget.
Over the last 18 months, CRFR has looked at every aspect of the budget and made spending cuts across the board without daily firefighter staffing being affected. After the failed mill levy, CRFR is unable to hire six open responder positions due to budget shortfalls. Not hiring these six open positions directly impacts CRFR’s ability to staff and maintain 911 response crews out of station 43. These strenuous times have economically influenced our service area and we are forced to close a station to be fiscally responsible to our district constituents. This means a service level reduction from four staffed engine/ambulances to three staffed engine/ambulances per day. Year to date 911 response calls are up 11% in 2020 compared to 2019.
CRFR has been and will continue to be committed to finding any available funding options to supplement our budget.
Board Meeting Regarding Press Release (entire meeting is available; playback starts at Agenda Item #5.a - Station 43 Closure)
Question & Answers
Why is CRFR closing a station?
Due to the failed mill levy increase presented to the voters in May 2020, CRFR did not have the funding to maintain adequate staffing at 4 stations.
How did CRFR determine which station to close?
CRFR used a Geographic and Data Driven approach to determine which station to close. The decision was based on a four-step process:
- The first step was to look at distances between stations and communities served. The towns of Silt and New Castle each had a single staffed station and in the Rifle area, there were two staffed stations. The two stations in the Rifle area are about 2.5 miles apart whereas the distance between either Rifle Station and the Silt Station is about 8 miles and the distance between the Silt Station and the New Castle Station is about 8.5 miles.
The addresses of CRFR's staffed stations are:
When looking at the 4 and 5-mile radius around each station, the areas between Rifle and Silt and Silt and New Castle were mostly covered by multiple stations.
- CRFR looked at Annual Call Data over the past 5 years, the following shows the breakout of calls by station:
|Station||Average Annual Percent of Calls||5-Year Range of Percent of Calls|
|North Rifle (41)||34%||32% - 35%|
|South Rifle (43)||22%||19% - 24%|
|Silt (61)||18%||16% - 21%|
|New Castle (64)||21%||18% - 22%|
Based on the 5-year average, 4.5% of the calls occurred outside of the district boundaries as mutual or automatic aid calls with other districts.
- Because of the overlapping coverage between staffed stations in the 4 – 5-mile range, CRFR then looked at the call volume within 3-mile radius of a staffed station. Overall, 87.93% of calls fall with a 3-mile radius of a staffed station. The data showed the following percentage of calls that would fall with a 3-mile radius of a staffed station when closing a specific station:
- South Rifle Station, 87.63% of the calls would still be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- North Rifle Station; 87.28% of the calls would still be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- Silt Station, 72.72% of the calls would be still covered within a 3-mile radius,
- New Castle Station, 68.10% of the calls would still be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- Using the same assumptions as in step 3 but applied to individual properties (residences or commercial properties; not land acreage), within the fire district boundaries; 84.38% of individual properties fall within a 3-mile radius of a staffed station:
- South Rifle Station, 83.66% of the properties would be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- North Rifle Station, 83.45% of the properties would be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- Silt Station, 62.70% of the properties would be covered within a 3-mile radius,
- New Castle Station, 61.33% of the properties would be covered within a 3-mile radius,
What is the plan for the Station 43 building?
While we have closed the station, we are hoping this will be a short-term closure. IF/when the financial situation changes at CRFR, the plan is to re-open this station. At the present time, we do not have an estimated re-opening of this station. While it is closed, our crews from Station 41 (North Rifle Station) and our maintenance personnel will be at the station periodically to inspect and maintain the station and apparatus to ensure readiness.
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