The New England Rural Fire Protection District (Part Two)

The New England Rural Fire Protection District was established by the North Dakota State Legislature…

Blueprint of proposed new Fire Hall in New England.
Blueprint of proposed new Fire Hall in New England.

Posted March 22, 2013

The Herald

The New England Rural Fire Protection District was established by the North Dakota State Legislature along with all of the other rural fire districts in the state, and its guidelines are part of the North Dakota Century Code as a county government entity.

The board of directors is made up of one representative of each township served within the district. Our main source of funding comes from property tax mills generated within the district. We are allowed a max of 5 mills by law which is estimated to generate $38,000 for the year 2013.

The purpose of the district as established is to provide fire protec tion for the rural district outside of the city of New England. We have expanded our purpose beyond that, and with a mutual agreement with the City of New England, we share in the cost of providing for the needs of both the city and the rural area with both fire and ambulance. There are two separate groups of members who take the call for each of these; the New England Fire Department, and the New England Ambulance Service. We work closely with both groups to understand their needs and provide them with the equipment, vehicles, and vehicle housing necessary to provide the needed services within their call areas. We have also established a Rescue Squad that is part of the New England Fire Department. They make calls and accompany the ambulance service on calls needing auto extrication along with all other forms of extrication or rescue needed within the service area.

New England Rural Fire Protection District is a multi-county district.

Our Rural Fire District covers 549 square miles of land area in Hettinger, Slope, and Stark counties. The call area for the New England Ambulance Service, and consequently the New England Rescue Squad, is much greater as it encompasses all of the New England Rural Fire Protection District area along with almost half of the Amidon Rural Fire District and a sizeable area within the Scranton Fire District, both of which encompass a large area of Slope County. The area that we serve covers more than 690 square miles in Hettinger, Slope, and Stark counties. We have two major truck routes for the oil field that we cover a fair portion of, with both Highway 85 and Highway 22 running through our call area. These, along with the 16 mile stretch of Highway 21 that connects the two, have seen a large increase in oil related traffic. We have experienced an ongoing increase in population, and it is projected that the population in our call area will more than double within the area that we serve in the next few years.

We have realized a great need to provide adequate space for the fire and ambulance vehicles along with better personnel needs as described in the project description that has been provided. With the increase in population that we are experiencing along with the increase in traffic, we are finding it imperative that we get something done soon. We have tried unsuccessfully to obtain funding from the state’s Energy Impact Grant Program. Although they have acknowledged that our needs are great, rules that have been established in how this money is to be allocated have prevented us from receiving any help. We do not have oil wells within the county that our building is located which makes us ineligible to receive those funds. That is why we are turning to others like you in hope that we can make this extremely necessary project happen. In order to assure that we do not lose the CBDG grant we have obtained, we need additional funding to make this a reality before the end of 2013.

 

We have two other projects that need to be funded soon.

Both of our ambulances are over 18 years old and are wearing out from miles and age. The secondary ambulance was purchased used and was originally owned by Bowman Ambulance and was replaced by them 12 years ago as they thought it had too many miles on it at that time and was in need of replacement. We have begun to have reliability issues with these ambulances, and we have found that we can no longer get replacement parts for lights and other items on the modules. We have robbed from one to keep the other going, yet when both are needed, one goes with parts missing. We need to replace our secondary ambulance with a new one that would become our primary ambulance. With the large area we cover and the adverse conditions that we encounter, a new ambulance that is four wheel drive has become a necessity. We have gone on many calls in winter snow storms, in deep snow, icy roads, or down muddy roads where being in one of our current rigs is perilous at best. Acquiring a new ambulance that is reliable and can get us to the scene and to the hospital regardless of the conditions without putting the crew in jeopardy will save lives and keep our members safe. A new 4×4 ambulance would help insure that we come back safely, and that the patients get the needed care required. We have experienced an ever growing increase in calls in recent years. It is imperative that we do something soon and not wait for one of our rigs to fail. The cost of the project includes the cost of the ambulance at $187,307 and a Stryker power cot at a cost of $13,538 for a total cost of $200,845.

We have also experienced an increasing number of calls for fire. We have mutual aid agreements with the surrounding districts and service areas for both ambulance and fire. Some of these calls have been mutual aid calls. Due to the number of calls and the deterioration of our 1962 Dodge Fire Truck, additional fire vehicles are needed by our district. The old 1962 Dodge Fire Truck is presently our secondary truck and normally used to help with larger fires or multiple fires, but it has been out of commission for more than a year. Some of the fires that we have had have been quite large in nature where we needed the additional truck and more water, but it is highly unlikely that we will be able to get this truck back in service. We need to replace this truck with a water tanker and an additional skid unit. These two vehicles would best suit our needs as the water tanker would help supply the water necessary and the skid unit, being less cumbersome and more capable of getting around in rough terrain, would best meet the firefighting needs of our crew. We presently have two skid units and one 2003 fire truck to fight fires, and a 1979 tanker truck to supply water. A second and newer tanker truck to help supply adequate water is needed as we have been relying on farmers in the area to help supply water at this time which cannot be always relied upon. With the old fire truck out of commission, the need for the third skid unit to help cover the ground is needed desperately. The skid unit would be built on a new one ton cab and chassis pickup costing $44,470 with the skid unit, radio and lights at an additional $21,000 for a total cost of $65,470. The tanker would be built on a newer used truck. The total estimated cost of the tanker truck complete is $103,560. This brings the total cost of the project to $169,030.

We are not expecting you to help us with all of our needs, but it is hard to describe how desperately we need help with funding without showing the entire picture. Our biggest priority is to build a new fire hall that would adequately house the vehicles needed and provide better safety for our personnel. Without this project coming to reality, the other needs become difficult to deal with as we would have no space large enough to properly house them. The other two projects are equal in need at this time, and hopefully we will get these projects completed. Any funding that we would receive from you would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Stuart D Nielsen, Secretary/Treasurer, New England Rural Fire Protection District

New England Rural Fire Protection District

List of Board Members and Officers

Officers

William Gussey, President

Victor Johnson, Vice President

Stuart Nielsen, Secretary/Treasurer

All other Directors

Elvin Kaufman

Jon Stang

Willard Dill

Victor Binstock

Tom Christensen

Twig Zahn

Dennis Rustan

Darrin Rafferty

Cliff Stecker

Jason Dorner

Robert Steier

Jeff Frank

Kenny Hanson

Wade Bock

Federal Tax ID Number 45-0380042

 

 

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