Fire district getting ready for the new chief

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His laptop, cellphone, uniforms and gas and credit cards are on order, so that when the new Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District Fire Chief Christopher Truty is sworn in on May 13, he will be able to hit the ground running.

Of course, he’ll have to hit the ground without his chief’s car, a specially-equipped Ford Suburban that won’t arrive until sometime in June.

Until it arrives, he will be driving the district’s utility pick-up truck.

At the district board meeting, Interim Chief Bryan Jack said the new chief might have to make a few trips back to Illinois to work on the sale of his home.

The district will pay for Truty’s COBRA insurance for his family while they still live in Illinois.

“If he puts the family on our insurance, they will only be able to use emergency rooms if they get sick,” Jack said.

“It won’t cost the district any more to reimburse him for COBRA than it would to cover the family under our health plan.”

Truty will be sworn in twice; the official swearing in by board President Jake Shirk will be at 8 a.m. on May 13 and the “ceremonial” swearing in with cake and other refreshments will take place at the May 22 regular meeting.

Many of the firefighters are holding out for chocolate cake.

Jack also talked about how the full implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act next year might affect the district’s budget.

The district doesn’t buy health insurance for its part-time employees, a practice that will likely change with the healthcare act.

Jack said he would ask the experts how the act will affect the budget but there aren’t any experts.

Lt. Mike Keough and Falcon Fire Chief Glenn Levy are working on a training video to help train firefighters in the North Group, Tri-Lakes Monument, Wescott, Black Forest, Falcon, Palmer Lake and Larkspur fire departments learn water hauling and water-supply training.

The video and a standardized curriculum will allow departments to offer the training in smaller groups.

“Doing group training (with other departments) is a logistical nightmare,” Keough said.

The district employees have taken almost 4,000 hours of training.

The passage of the bond question last November’s ballot has allowed the district to bring its training programs back up to 2009 standards.

Station No. 3 is getting its roof leak repaired with insurance funding.

Planning for new septic system at Station #2 is continuing. Construction costs are being determined.

As has been noted at previous meetings, the existing septic leach field is inadequate because it is located above bedrock and covered by asphalt so wastewater can’t percolate through the soil.

Once the new septic system is installed, only water from equipment bays that has been strained through the sand-oil trap will enter the old leach field.

Board member Roger Lance, who recently installed a new septic system at his house, told the rest of the board to be prepared for “sticker-shock” when the cost estimates come in.