MEDICAL, RESCUE & FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES
Medical, rescue and fire protection services are provided by two entities (The Arrowhead Fire Protection District and The Arrowhead Volunteer Fire Department), at Arrowhead.
The Arrowhead Fire Protection District: The Arrowhead Fire Protection District (AFPD) is one of a multitude of Special Districts that exist in the State of Colorado. Information on any of these Special Districts may be found by going to the Division of Local Government web site for Colorado (colorado.gov/dola) and clicking on “Local Government” at the top of the page. On the next screen, click on “Local Government Information” on the left side of the screen and this will take you to an alphabetical listing of over 4,000 Special Districts in the State of Colorado.
Special districts are also associated with specific geographical regions. The Arrowhead Fire Protection District encompasses all of Arrowhead, the Arrowhead Mountain Lodge, the ranch property just east of the Lodge and a few parcels of BLM land just east of the Alpine Road. However, we have reciprocal agreements with all of the other Fire Protection Districts in our area. If they need assistance and if we have personnel and equipment available, we provide that assistance. Specific examples include the lightning strike across the valley to the west and, more recently, the lightning strike fire just to the south of Arrowhead. Gunnison Fire Protection District asked for our assistance and we provided it. For more information on the geographical location of the AFPD, see “Arrowhead Fire Protection District Boundaries” on this web site.
As a Special District in the State of Colorado, AFPD is authorized to receive funding from a portion of the tax dollars that property owners in this district submit to Gunnison County. The AFPD is obligated to use these funds to provide the following services within the District: 1. Fire suppression as needed for both structural fires and wildland fires, 2. Emergency medical response as First Responders, 3. Search and rescue assistance as needed, 4. Advice to members of the District regarding defensible space and other fire safety concerns, and 5. Ongoing training to volunteer firefighters and first responders in the community.
The AFPD also is responsible for cooperating with other groups and organizations at Federal, State, and Local Government levels in a wide variety of ways. For example, the fire chief receives information on fire danger levels in the district, the need for suggested or mandatory evacuations, or the existence of other emergencies to members of the District. The AFPD then relays this information to members of the District through the blast email system described on this web page.
The actual business of the AFPD is conducted by a Board of five directors. This Board currently meets 9 times throughout the year. See www.arrowheadfire.org/meeting-agendas-minutes for meeting dates, times, locations and agendas. Meeting agendas are posted a minimum of 24 hours before each meeting.
The Board of Directors is responsible for making sure that the AFPD has the needed personnel to provide the services listed above at all times, every day during the year, 24 hours a day. They are also responsible for providing the training, equipment, and vehicles needed by volunteers to provide these services. They have the authority to appoint people (both AFPD Board members and non-members) to special committees such as the Long Range Planning Committee or the Budget Committee in order to carry out their responsibilities. In summary, the AFPD is the business entity of medical, rescue, and fire protection in Arrowhead that provides the needed organizational, financial, and communication structures so that service needs can be met.
The importance of the AFPD to our community cannot be over emphasized. Rapid response times are critical in many instances such as heart attacks and strokes. Often, help arrives where it is need in a matter of minutes rather than hours as would be the case if services were provided by personnel from Montrose or Gunnison. In addition to rapid response times, year-round water availability, high volume pumps, and other equipment availability along with the numbers and levels of trained personnel are used to determine ISO ratings. These ratings are subsequently used by insurance companies to determine if they will provide coverage within the District. Low ISO ratings can lead to the cancellation of insurance policies which can have a very detrimental effect on the values of all property within the District.
The Arrowhead Volunteer Fire Department: The members of the Arrowhead Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) are the people who actually do the work of providing the services needed in our community. These volunteers can be divided into four main areas of service. Firefighters are the people who drive the engines, pump the water, etc. in the case of a fire. First Responders have the medical expertise to provide medical evaluations and first aid during an emergency. Logistic Personnel staff the dispatch radio and provide communications both within the District and with external groups such as Gunnison County emergency response teams. Finally, there are numerous Support Personnel that provide a wide variety of services. These can include such things as providing drinks and meals to personnel during an emergency, working with the Federal Communications Commission to make sure that our communication equipment has the proper licenses, conducting fund raisers to supplement the funds needed to provide services within the District, or directing traffic during an evacuation, etc. Many members of the AVFD perform in multiple services areas.