FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS HEARD ABOUT THE PETITION DRIVE BUT NOT SURE WHAT TO BELIEVE? CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU?
We are looking to you to help us better protect you and your family.
Only 42% of the members are paying for protection and are
financially supporting the entire district. This is very one sided.
We collected signatures on petitions to put this to a vote of our
residents and allow the collection of the dues on the
Property Taxes. The annual dues will not change in the foreseeable
future if this change results in having a much larger percentage of
our addresses pay their fair share. We anticipate that ourcollection
rate should increase to at least 80% of addresses in the District.
By signing the petitions you can help us get the issue put on a ballot
for a Special Election.We would love to see our community rally
and support us and help make this happen. If you are a registered
voter living in our coverage area, you are eligible to vote JULY 9 and
help us improve our funding and as a result,help make a difference
in the community by making it a safer place to live and work. Our Volunteers and Staff are extremely loyal and dedicated to serving our members and residents, keeping them safe and secure - we feel it is time to improve the tools and equipment so they can continue to carry out their mission of service to everyone entrusted in their care. We appreciate all your support.
The vote will take place on July 9! Early voting will be July 2, 3, 5, & 8. VOTE FOR 70 WEST FIRE DISTRICT - When all eligible members support us with their FAIR SHARE, rates can remain the same without increases! Our department is professionally staffed by volunteers, and our call volume has doubled in recent months! We need YOU, YOU need US, WE NEED EACH OTHER! Its a win-win for our district.
Looking for the latest scoop on what's happening at 70 West Fire Department. Like us on Facebook at 70 West Fire Rescue for the fastest, most up-to-date information about our department and what is happening in the community! Also, check out our monthly issue of 70 WEST FIRE News pictured to the right. Click the Image for our .pdf copy.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PICTURED BELOW: Engine 4 is a 1977 International FMC Fire Engine that was purchased new by the 70 West Fire Protection Association. A new replacement for this Engine today would cost well in excess of $220,000.00
Let’s start off with what exactly it is that we do to protect our community…It’s more than just putting out your fires…
HELP YOUR FIREFIGHTERS HELP YOU! LEARN HOW YOU CAN HELP 70 WEST FIRE DEPARTMENT BETTER PROTECT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.
FAQ’s REGARDING THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE STATUS OF THE ASSOCIATION
INSIDE OUR FLEET
15 TRUCKS & 6 STATIONS PROTECTING APPROXIMATELY 188 SQUARE MILES OF COMMUNITY
Our equipment requirements are constantly evolving to meet the ever changing needs of the community and we need to have the ability to stay ahead of those changes by replacing our older equipment.
HELP YOUR FIREFIGHTERS HELP YOU!
pride, professionalism, dedication, community,
RESPONSE STATS 2018 RESPONSE STATS FOR 70 WEST CREWS.
HOW CAN I HELP?
PICTURED ABOVE: Ladder 2, a 1989 Pierce Aerial was purchased used by 70 West FPA in 2011. A new replacement for this Aerial today would cost well in excess of a half-million dollars. This is a mandated piece of equipment to provide adequate protection for our community and impact our customers with lower insurance rates.
HOW CAN I HELP?MADE YOUR MIND UP TO HELP, GET OUT AND VOTE! HELP US HELP YOU!
RESPONSE STATS YEAR 2018 RESPONSE STATS FOR 70 WEST CREWS.
RECENTLY A FIREFIGHTER WAS REVIEWING THEIR HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE POLICY AND FOUND AN INTERESTING STATEMENT INSIDE FROM STATE AUTO INSURANCE: “DID YOU KNOW THAT THE FIREFIGHTING ABILITY OF YOUR FIRE DEPARTMENT HELPS LOWER YOUR INSRUANCE RATES? IT’S TRUE! THE BETTER YOUR FIREFIGHTERS ARE EQUIPMENT AND TRAINED, THE BETTER THEIR ACCESS TO WATER FOR FIREFIGHTING, AND THE LENGTH OF TIME IT TAKES FOR THEM TO ARRIVE AT A FIRE, ARE A FEW OF THE MANY FACTORS THAT HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR PROPRTY INSRUANCE RATES. HELP YOUR FIREFIGHTERS HELP YOU! THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT, FINANCIAL, AND OTHERWISE. ADEQUATE FUNDING IS IMPORTANT TO IMPROVING THE PROTECTION THAT MAY TRANSLATE TO LOWER PREMIUMS.
INSIDE OUR FLEET WHAT IS THE AVERAGE AGE OF OUR FIRE APPARATUS?
For the last 50 Years, 70 West has been the responding fire department providing fire protection, first responder, and rescue services to a 188 square mile area in Southwest Garland and Northwest Hot Spring Counties. As a highly desirable area to live, we have experienced phenomenal growth over the past 20+ years; we’ve seen many large developments moving in, both commercial and residential now encompassing 9,214 eligible member addresses. Our fire dues have not changed since the last increase in 2001. We have found many people have a misconception that we receive a large sum of tax dollars to provide this service to the area when in fact it is the opposite, we rely on community residents and business owners to
70 West crews responded to a total of 801 incidents during 2018. A total of 140 incidents were Fire related, covering a range of categories. The largest number of calls were run by First Responders as Medical Assist calls at 336 total incidents. Our First Responder calls range from Cardiac Arrests, Respiratory Emergencies, Seizures, Overdoses, Gunshot Wounds/Stabbings, Non-MVA Related Trauma calls such as Falls, Assaults, and more. Our responders worked a total of 162 Motor Vehicle Accident and Rescue related incidents. In 2018 we had a total of 128 False Alarm Responses; some of these were false fire alarms; many of which were actually cancelled by the alarm company while our units were enroute. These calls also include incidents where we were given the wrong address, or the person had left and there was no incident. Other responses for our crews included HazMat (14), Service Calls, Weather related incidents and other (21). A majority of the responses (431) fell during the weekdays from 6AM to 6PM. Only 370 incidents occurred during the hours of 6PM to 6AM weekdays and on the weekends when our volunteer availability is much higher.Type your paragraph here.
voluntarily sign up and pay their membership dues. Many residents have moved in from taxed based areas; they do not realize they should be paying dues to support us. Previously, Insurance Companies were tasked with making sure their customers were fire department members, this process ensured that customers knew they needed to pay dues supporting our response services.
This practice has become less important to the insurance
companies and very few actually follow through with it,
making it more difficult for departments to collect.
With such a dramatic increase in population growth,
our dues collection has failed to grow with the population,
now down to less than 42% of all eligible addresses.
Only 3,845 addresses are paying their dues, leaving a large
percentage of non-members.
To adequately provide coverage for the growing area, we maintain a fleet of 15 trucks responding out of 6 stations. Our equipment requirements are constantly evolving to meet the ever changing needs of the community and we need to have the ability to stay ahead of those changes by replacing older equipment. Our current fleet of fire trucks is largely over 30+ years old with the oldest being a 1977 International FMC Pumper. The cost of equipment continues to increase dramatically, and the cost of keeping up insurance and industry standards keeps increasing. We are currently rated a “4/4x” by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which was improved from a (7/9) several years ago, helping every address in our district lower their insurance costs. Some residents saved hundreds to even thousands of dollars with this rating change. We have found when polling many non-members they are under the impression we are taxed based and they do not realize they should be paying dues to support us; many have moved into the area from taxed based departments and have never had to pay dues. We are not alone, and as a result, many of the Volunteer Fire Departments, in Garland County and in other areas, are doing just that and are in the process of transitioning to a structure where the dues appear on the property tax bills each year and are collected by the county tax collector in order to increase their collections allowing them to better protect the communities they serve.
Q: What does the Fire Department Do?
A:Our call volume continues to increase as does our population. We do more than just fight fire. As a matter of fact you are more likely to be a recipient of our first responder services than our fire services. We average approximately 800 calls per year. Most of these calls are Emergency Medical Calls where we respond to assist you until the ambulance arrives, carrying oxygen, automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) and first aid supplies. We respond on many motor vehicle collisions that occur throughout the district from very minor, to the most extreme where we may have to extricate victims from their vehicles. We work many service calls for gas leaks, carbon monoxide responses, explosions and/or explosive device scares, power lines down, clearing storm debris down in the roadway during severe weather, evacuations in flood prone zones, etc. All of this in addition to the many Structure Fires, Forest and Grass/Brush Fires, Vehicle Fires, Illegal Burns, and fire alarm calls that sometimes result in arriving to find a fire. We are also charged with working to protect one of the largest school districts in the State, its staff, and your children when it is in session throughout the School Year. We also provide Fire Prevention Programs for the School, Day Cares, Churches, and Businesses in addition to Fire Code activities.
Q: Is this taxation without representation?
A: No. The petitions we circulated were for the purpose of putting the question to a vote of all registered voters who reside within our protection district, with a statutorily mandated number of signatures needed to call for a special election. Once the Quorum courts of Garland and Hot Spring counties approve the request, an election can be set. This will be a special election, with early voting and absentee ballots supervised by the Garland County Election Commission and held under the Laws of the State of Arkansas. This was approved and is happening in JULY.
Q: Why is this change needed?
A: Currently 41.7% of eligible members are actually paying their dues, supporting the 58.3% that are not paying for yet benefiting from the existence of the department. By putting the dues on the property tax bills, every person who owns property within the district will be paying their fair share.
Q: Why are the current dues not enough?
A: The dues were last increased in 2001. The growth of our area has been significant and doesn’t appear to be slowing. The costs have increased in the past 18 years; the engines and trucks, the gear of all the volunteers and all costs associated with maintaining a first class volunteer department. The standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Insurance Services Office (ISO) and insurance companies are constantly increasing, and we have to be able to keep up in order to safely protect our community.
Q: Will this change increase my dues?
A: We anticipate that this change will allow us to not raise dues for several years, hopefully more. We are aware of our responsibility to utilize our member’s money in the most efficient way to provide the best level of protection to our community.
Q: How will this change benefit me?
A: The department currently has an Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating of 4/4x; these ratings directly impact your property insurance rates. By having everyone pay their fair share, we can maintain and hopefully improve the standards of the department and staff, and maintain or improve the ISO rating. The lowering of the ISO rating by 1 point can represent significant improvement in the property insurance premium charged to every property owner. This process may also make it easier for some to pay their dues since currently we can only accept check or cash payments and do not have the ability to accept payments by credit cards or online.
Q: What is the additional money going to be spent on?
A: We have 15 Trucks assigned to 6 different stations (6 Engines, 3 Tankers, 3 Brush Trucks, 1 Rescue, 1 Service, and 1 Ladder/Aerial Truck), as our district covers app 188 square miles. By comparison, the City of Hot Springs covers app 35 sq. miles, has 5 stations and 12 pieces of equipment. Some of our equipment was built in the 1980’s; our oldest in-service truck is a 1977 model. Parts availability is becoming an issue; maintenance costs are increasing and reliability is becoming a factor. New trucks are needed now and will be a greater need in the coming years. The gear to equip our Volunteer Firefighters wears out and has to be replaced, with each cycle costing more. As our service area grows in population, we would like to add more volunteers to better answer all calls. Each new volunteer costs $7,500 in personal gear alone. To maintain or improve the ISO rating costs money in gear, training, and equipment in order to improve response time and efficiency on the scene.
Q: Who will be in charge?
A: The current Board of Directors will be replaced by a new Board of Commissioners. The new board will be elected during the annual meeting of the current association, usually in mid-October. Current members are eligible to run for the new board as long as they meet all the requirements of the new district, as set by state law.