SCFD No. 2 announcement of intention to float bond election

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SCFD No. 2 announcement of intention to float bond election

Picture this — you wake up at 2 a.m. to find your home is filled with choking smoke. You awaken your family and escape to your designated spot safely away from the home that now looks as though it is enveloped in flames. You call 911 from your cellphone, and the dispatcher assures you that the fire department is on the way. What is 5 minutes to you? 1 minute? 30 seconds? It might feel like an eternity.

Now picture Shoshone County Fire Protection District No. 2’s 100 plus-year-old station in Kellogg that was originally designed for the horse and wagon days of firefighting and was built the year before the U.S. entered World War I. Fast forward to a new millennium, and the Kellogg and Pinehurst fire stations are long past their prime.

Providing service to between 3,700 and 4,000 households within approximately 185 square miles, the district boundaries extend from Big Creek on the east end to I-90 Milepost 28 near the top of Fourth of July Pass. It extends down Highway 3 to Willow creek, 1 mile south of Medimont.

The Kellogg station today has a laundry list of insufficiencies, documented in a 2012 architecture survey, that include safety and space issues, ultimately impacting response times and the efficiency with which emergency responders can work. Trucks barely fit into their bays, and emergency responders can’t fully open vehicle doors. There is no working aerial truck; the old one (54 years old) is too expensive to repair, and a new one won’t fit in the cramped station. There is extremely poor vehicle exhaust ventilation. In addition, the stairways are steep and hazardous. To top it all off, there are no public restrooms, male and female personnel share one shower and restroom, and the electrical panels are outdated, overloaded and do not meet code. And these are just part of the list.

The Pinehurst station is aging, with the last upgrades to the building in 1977-78. An expansion of the bays is needed to provide more space for the trucks to increase response time.

To improve safety to personnel, the public and improve response time, the district is asking for assistance. A bond election is scheduled for May 15 for district residents that live in portions of Shoshone and Kootenai counties. The $2.9 million bond will finance a new fire station in Kellogg and provide energy efficient insulation, windows and doors, needed to save on utility costs. If approved, the cost per household would be $18.17 per $100,000 of taxable value per year. That’s less than $2 per month increase. The district will be pursuing grant funds that will help the cost of the improvements to each taxpaying citizen. In addition, they will be contributing their own capital improvement funds.

Our district has never asked for a bond in its history. What we need now is support. This need has existed for a long time and we are at a point where something must be done.

Open house events will be held Tuesday, April 17, and Tuesday, May 8, at the Pinehurst station from 4-7 p.m., and the Kellogg station will hold open houses on Thursday, April 19, and Thursday, May 10, from 4-7 p.m. There will be building and equipment tours, as well as information displays available to all visitors. All are encouraged to come and learn about the need for the district improvements.

The improvements to Shoshone County Fire District No. 2 that will be implemented because of this project will make it easier for us to do our jobs and protect the people and the homes of our community.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact me at 208-784-1188, or email maamodt@shoshonefd2.com.

MARK AAMODT

SCFD No. 2 Fire Chief

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