The Specific Purpose Tax is an important source of funding for fire stations and associated capital improvements. The May 2 ballot proposes two new fire stations in Propositions 5 and 9 and money for upgrades to existing fire stations and engines in Proposition 7.
Laramie County Fire District #1 is seeking $2 million in Proposition 5 to build fire station #3 in the Archer Complex. Station #3 will cover the east portion of Fire Districts #1's 180 square mile service area and deliver support to our auto-aid and mutual aid partners, Fire Districts' #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6.
Many benefits as a result of this additional station include the ability to quickly access I-80 and decreasing response times to the eastern part of Laramie County. For reference, the current average response time of 12-17 minutes to Triple Crown Estates would become an estimated 5-7 minutes from Station #3.
As a result, a better ISO rating will be provided to the residents and business within 5 road miles of the proposed location. Currently these households and commercial properties are at an ISO score of 4, and this station would provide them a better score of 3, which means savings on insurance premiums for both homes and businesses.
Station #3 would augment Laramie County's public safety network as a whole by providing a location for fire, EMS, and law enforcement to jointly utilize 24 hours a day. As the county grows, Fire District #1 is determined to meet the needs of our community and work closely with the surrounding county agencies.
The addition of station #3 would provide the opportunity to house additional Wyoming State qualified firefighting personnel with EMS Wyoming State certifications and modern rescue training. This station will have firefighting equipment and rescue, structural, and grass fire apparatus to serve our constituents.
The scope of this project positively impacts all of Laramie County by providing the opportunity to offer a wide range of services from an easily accessed building on the east side of Cheyenne.
In addition to a new station at Archer, a replacement station is proposed for Laramie County Fire District #2 in Proposition 9.
Laramie County Fire District #2 serves over 19,000 county citizens in approximately one third of the geographical area of the County; primarily to the north and west of Cheyenne. District #2 is also the second busiest in the County, responding to over 1000 calls for service in 2016, an increase of 55% in the last five years.
Fire and Rescue Operations in District #2 is provided from three Stations: Station 1, 5800 North College Ave., Station 2, 8843 Yellowstone Road, and Station 3, 2856 Horse Creek Road.
The $2 Million requested will be used for the replacement of the 40- year-old Station 2. The current Station 2 does not properly accommodate larger, modern Fire/Rescue Trucks. It also does not provide for 24/7 Staffing requirements to better serve County Citizens within the District's serving area.
The proposed Station 2 would provide proper space to accommodate large, modern Fire/Rescue Trucks, modern living quarters for 24/7 Staffing Requirements, and reasonable space for ongoing training requirements.
The site of the proposed Station 2 would be near the intersection of Interstate 25 and Horse Creek Road. This location would improve response times, increase protection for growth along the Interstate 25 Corridor and improve Citizens' insurance rates by lowering the ISO ratings. The land for the new station has been secured by the district and the initial design plans have been completed.
In addition to the two new fire stations in the County, the City is also seeking funding for upgrades to fire stations and engines.
Cheyenne Fire & Rescue is seeking $6 million from Proposition 7. The purpose is to address health and safety concerns at our fire stations and refurbish fire engines.
Our firefighters are living in outdated stations based on today's standards, including lack of required health and safety systems. The oldest fire station is Cole Fire Station on Dell Range Boulevard, built in 1963. Three of the stations were built in the 1980s and the newest station, Fire Headquarters, was built in 1991.
The stations require upgrades to improve the usefulness and conditions of which the firefighters reside, including safely removing exhaust from the fire apparatus inside the station. The upgrades are needed to ensure our firefighters have a safe environment in which to work and live.
The purchase of a new fire engine is costly, upwards of $700,000. The refurbishment of an engine is about one-third the cost of a new engine. This will provide firefighters and the public with upgraded fire apparatus. The welfare and safety of our community and our first responders is essential.
Successful passage of Propositions 5, 7, and 9 will improve fire protection services in Laramie County.
Darrick Middlestat is currently the Fire Chief for Laramie County Fire District #1. Darrick became a firefighter in 1996. He has been with the fire department since 2012 as a Duty Captain and was promoted to Chief in 2014. He can be reached at 307-632-1696.
Jason Caughey is the Fire Chief of Laramie County Fire District #2 in Cheyenne Wyoming and an Adjunct Professor for LCCC. Prior to arriving in Cheyenne in 2011 he was the Fire Chief of Gore Hill Fire Rescue in Great Falls Montana. In addition, he spent 10 years working for the Montana Fire Services Training School as a regional instructor and regional training manager for the state of Montana. He can be reached at 307-632-5400.
Tom Schingle, 35, is currently the Interim Chief for Cheyenne Fire Rescue. He started his career with Cheyenne Fire Rescue in September 2004. During his career with the City of Cheyenne, he has served as an engineer, training lieutenant, division training chief, and is currently the operations chief which he has held since 2014. He can be reached at 307-632-6320.