2014 OPEN HOUSE
Saturday, April 26th
9am to 3pm
Station 21, 10106 Combie Rd. (Hwy 49 & Combie)
Kids Activities (bounce house, face painting, and more......)
Special Appearance by Smokey Bear and Sparky
Structure Fire Demonstration Jaws of Life Demonstration
Home Sprinkler Demonstration Fire Extinguisher Demonstration
Sierra Nevada Ambulance REACH Air Ambulance
Fire Equipment Displays
Wildland Fire Hoselays
Fire Safe Council
Food available from the Firewise Community of Lake of the Pines
HIGGINS FIRE DISTRICT AWARDED SAFER GRANT
Stations 21, 22, &23
Open and Fully Staffed
After almost two years of reduced staffing and station closings due to budget cuts, Higgins Fire District has been awarded a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The grant will allow the district to hire six firefighters, which will provide full-time staffing for one additional station. The firefighters, many of whom were laid off as a result of the budget cuts in 2012, have been rehired, providing the department with well trained and knowledgeable employees that are already familiar with their community.
“The reduction in staffing has increased our response times to parts of the district,” said Battalion Chief Jerry Good, “This is unacceptable because every second counts when responding to emergencies.” The grant totals $966,000 and is only to be used to maintain personnel for adequate staffing for a total of two years.
While the grant will be an important benefit to the residents and business owners in the Higgins Fire District, it is not a permanent funding source. It will provide the fire district’s board of directors additional time to develop options for consistent funding. The two previous attempts to pass new funding measures failed, including Measure O, which fell short by less than 30 votes.
Like many other small fire departments struggling in this economy over the past few years, the Higgins Fire District’s budget was reduced by up to 32%, yet the demand for service has increased. The current fire department parcel fee of $25 per year was established in 1980 and remains unchanged. While the district has been very prudent with spending, the 34 year-old assessment falls significantly short in adequate funding.