Understand Durango Fire

Durango Fire's FAQs and Information page



  • Understand Durango Fire - FAQs
  • Volunteer Recruitment
  • Understand Durango Fire - Growth vs. Revenue
  • DFPD Wildland Fire Crews
  • Understand Durango Fire_Revenue Stream
  • Members of Durango Fire training for an embankment rescue.
  • Understand Durango Fire - All Hazards Department
  • Understand Durango Fire - Truck Operations Training
  • Understand Durango Fire - Training Division

FAQs (click on question to reveal the answer)

  • Q: What is the size of the Durango Fire Protection District?
  • Q: How many calls did Durango Fire respond to last year?

    A: In 2016 we responded to 5080 total calls for service.

  • Q: How many fire stations are in the Durango Fire Protection District?

    A: 16 stations: four are staffed 24/7 with career personnel, and 12 stations are staffed by volunteers. Our four career stations are: Station 1 - 142 Sheppard Drive, Station 2 - 1235 Camino Del Rio, Station 3 - 770 CR 251, and Station 15 - 44301 Highway 550 North. Our administrative offices are at 142 Sheppard Drive and our Prevention Division, Human Resources and Finance Departments are at 104 Sheppard Drive.

  • Q: 16 Fire Stations seems like a lot.  Why so many?

    A: In order to meet the emergency service demands in our large fire district, numerous stations are needed to house fire apparatus, ambulances, and personnel. Four of our stations are staffed 24/7, while the rest are staffed by volunteer responders. Due to the nature of our district, our fire protection vehicles include fire engines, wildland fire vehicles, and tankers for water supply. The number of stations, types of response capabilities, and distance from community structures is based on a standard (ISO) that not only gauges fire protection quality, but also impacts your insurance rates.

  • Q: What is ISO?

    A: ISO (sometimes called an insurance rating) gauges the fire protection capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires based on numerous factors, including housing densities and distance of structures from a fire station. ISO ratings can dramatically impact insurance rates.

  • Q: How is the Durango Fire Protection District funded?

    A: Durango Fire & Rescue’s total budget comes mainly from four different revenue streams, and each source is vital to our operations:

    1. We receive property taxes from properties in the Durango Fire Protection District based on a current 5.7 mil levy, which accounts for approximately 30% of our total revenue;
    2. Our contract with the City of Durango to provide fire and EMS services accounts for 27%. This contracted amount is calculated the same as the fire district, that is, total assessed value times 5.7 mils, and is paid by the City of Durango government through a budgeted line item;
    3. Fees for ambulance services account for approximately 28% of the total revenue. Ambulance transport is considered part of the U.S. healthcare system and fees are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
    4. The remaining 14% includes all additional revenue, such as grants, donations and other sources that help us meet our service demands.

    *
    Please click here for video: Understand Durango Fire Revenue Stream

  • Q: What is the difference between the Fire District and the contract with the City of Durango?

    A: Many people are surprised to learn the Durango Fire Protection District does not include the City of Durango, but instead provides services to the City of Durango under a voter-approved multi-year contract. Please refer to the district map to view DFPD’s entire district and coverage area.

    In 2013 the voters in the District approved the dissolution of their former fire districts, (Animas and Hermosa Cliff, ) and the adoption of the former Animas funding structure at 5.7 mils. At the same time the voters in the City of Durango approved a multi-year contract with DFPD for fire and emergency medical services based on the same assessed value structure, but funded through the City’s general fund instead of joining the District.

  • Q: Why do fire trucks go to ambulance emergencies?

    A: All of Durango Fire & Rescue’s firefighter/medics are cross-trained to respond to emergency medical incidents, fires, and numerous other incident types. Emergency medical equipment is carried on all first response vehicles so that medical care can be initiated immediately, regardless of what vehicle arrives first.  
    Specific units are assigned to calls initially based on caller information, using a nationally recognized matrix. However, when a 911 call comes in, dispatchers often are not given precise or complete information. In addition to volunteer first responders, a paramedic ambulance and either a rescue unit or a fire engine are sent to most emergency medical calls. This initial response provides the minimum number of responders required to address the critical needs of our patients, and provide sufficient humanpower/lifting assistance to safely move patients and prevent injuries. If the patient’s condition requires additional medical personnel during transport to the hospital, one or both of the firefighters will assist with patient care while en-route to the hospital. If the patient is stabilized on scene and no further assistance is needed, the additional fire units remain in service and available for subsequent calls.  
    When responding to a major medical incident, our matrix assures sufficient resources are sent as soon as possible. These resources may include an EMS Captain, a Battalion Chief, additional firefighter/medics, and more ambulances, as needed. Durango Fire & Rescue does not charge patients based on the number of units or personnel needed.

  • Q: Why do I get a bill for ambulance services when the fire department operates with tax funds?

    A: Durango Fire & Rescue’s total budget comes from multiple funding streams, and each source is proportioned equitably and is vital to our operations. In the United States, ambulance services are considered part of the healthcare system, thus funded differently than fire protection and public safety. Fee-for-service is commonly the method used to fund ambulance transport, and such fees are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.

  • Q: Why do I see emergency vehicles going to calls without lights or sirens?

    A: For the safety of patients, firefighter/medics, and the public, not all call types generate a response with lights and sirens. Durango Fire & Rescue uses a nationally recognized priority dispatch matrix to determine which call types are sent with lights and sirens. But this does not mean the response is in any way delayed. Units initiate a response as soon as possible for all calls. Once the first responder arrives, the call can be easily upgraded or downgraded, as needed.

  • Q: Why do fire trucks and ambulances go through a red light with lights & sirens then turn off their lights and slow down?

    A: Most likely, the call has been canceled or downgraded. This often happens when the first unit arrives at the scene, surveys the situation, and makes resource determinations. In some cases, units may be canceled so they are ready to take another call. In other cases, units are “downgraded,” meaning they continue to the call in a non-emergency mode.

  • Q: Why do I see emergency vehicles at the grocery store and who is paying for that food?

    A: Durango Fire & Rescue is an all-hazards agency that has 18 personnel on-duty 24/7 in addition to leadership and support staff. Our on-duty personnel usually eat together as a team at their station, as calls allow. Our staffed stations have full kitchens, and our personnel must do their own shopping (at their own expense)purchase their own food and do their own cooking while on-duty. If you see them at the grocery store, you may want to thank them for their service, knowing emergency calls are likely to interrupt, or entirely preempt their next meal!

  • Q: Why do I see department vehicles being driven home by some staff?

    A: Durango Fire & Rescue responded to 5080 calls last year. To appropriately balance service demands and vehicle use, we use a clear organizational policy governing appropriate use and assignment of take home vehicles. We often have single incidents that require additional off-duty command staff, but even more frequently we have multiple concurrent calls and off-duty command personnel are asked to respond. To assure command level Chief Officers can respond in a timely manner, we use a take home vehicle policy for six certified command Chiefs. They are:

    1 Fire Chief
    1 Deputy Chief of Operations
    4 Command Level Battalion Chiefs

    In addition, the Fleet and Facility Manager takes a service truck home so he can quickly respond if a fire truck or ambulance breaks down after hours or on the weekends.  Our on-call Fire Investigator and Fire Marshall also take home a vehicle so that they can respond if needed outside normal working hours for fire investigations.

    Finally, these and all department staff vehicles are equipped with emergency equipment, such as first response medical kits, automated external defibrillators, and communications.

  • Q: Can I tour a fire station?

    A: Absolutely! We welcome members of the public to visit our stations and ask questions about our service. Due to the hectic nature of station activities, both planned and unplanned, we recommend you contact us to schedule a tour: Scot Davis at 970-382-6014, or scot.davis@durangofire.org

  • Q: Can I get my blood pressure checked at a fire station?

    A: Yes, our medics frequently do blood pressure checks free of charge. We have four stations staffed every day, the other 12 being volunteer stations without regular personnel present. For a blood pressure check, plan to stop in at one of the four full-time stations. No need to call first, but we suggest regular business hours unless you feel there's something possibly more urgent with your health. Those stations are: Station 1 - 142 Sheppard Drive, Station 2 - 1235 Camino Del Rio, Station 3 - 770 CR 251, and Station 15 - 44301 Highway 550 North. Keep in mind regular emergency calls can clear out an entire station at any time, so they may not be available.

    And if the medics find anything abnormal, they will discuss the appropriate higher level of care based on those findings. Usually this means referring you to your primary care physician or urgent care, but if they recognize a more serious issue, they'll offer to transport you to an emergency department.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is the size of the Durango Fire Protection District?

A: 325 square miles. Please click here for our district map.

Q: How many calls did Durango Fire respond to last year?

A: In 2016 we responded to 5080 total calls for service.

Q: How many fire stations are in the Durango Fire Protection District?

A: 16 stations: four are staffed 24/7 with career personnel, and 12 stations are staffed by volunteers. Our four career stations are: Station 1 - 142 Sheppard Drive, Station 2 - 1235 Camino Del Rio, Station 3 - 770 CR 251, and Station 15 - 44301 Highway 550 North. Our administrative offices are at 142 Sheppard Drive and our Prevention Division, Human Resources and Finance Departments are at 104 Sheppard Drive.

Q: 16 Fire Stations seems like a lot.  Why so many?

A: In order to meet the emergency service demands in our large fire district, numerous stations are needed to house fire apparatus, ambulances, and personnel. Four of our stations are staffed 24/7, while the rest are staffed by volunteer responders. Due to the nature of our district, our fire protection vehicles include fire engines, wildland fire vehicles, and tankers for water supply. The number of stations, types of response capabilities, and distance from community structures is based on a standard (ISO) that not only gauges fire protection quality, but also impacts your insurance rates.

Q: What is ISO?

A: ISO (sometimes called an insurance rating) gauges the fire protection capability of the local fire department to respond to structure fires based on numerous factors, including housing densities and distance of structures from a fire station. ISO ratings can dramatically impact insurance rates.

Q: How is the Durango Fire Protection District funded?

A: Durango Fire & Rescue’s total budget comes mainly from four different revenue streams, and each source is vital to our operations:

1. We receive property taxes from properties in the Durango Fire Protection District based on a current 5.7 mil levy, which accounts for approximately 30% of our total revenue;
2. Our contract with the City of Durango to provide fire and EMS services accounts for 27%. This contracted amount is calculated the same as the fire district, that is, total assessed value times 5.7 mils, and is paid by the City of Durango government through a budgeted line item;
3. Fees for ambulance services account for approximately 28% of the total revenue. Ambulance transport is considered part of the U.S. healthcare system and fees are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.
4. The remaining 14% includes all additional revenue, such as grants, donations and other sources that help us meet our service demands.

*
Please click here for video: Understand Durango Fire Revenue Stream

Q: What is the difference between the Fire District and the contract with the City of Durango?

A: Many people are surprised to learn the Durango Fire Protection District does not include the City of Durango, but instead provides services to the City of Durango under a voter-approved multi-year contract. Please refer to the district map to view DFPD’s entire district and coverage area.

In 2013 the voters in the District approved the dissolution of their former fire districts, (Animas and Hermosa Cliff, ) and the adoption of the former Animas funding structure at 5.7 mils. At the same time the voters in the City of Durango approved a multi-year contract with DFPD for fire and emergency medical services based on the same assessed value structure, but funded through the City’s general fund instead of joining the District.

Q: Why do fire trucks go to ambulance emergencies?

A: All of Durango Fire & Rescue’s firefighter/medics are cross-trained to respond to emergency medical incidents, fires, and numerous other incident types. Emergency medical equipment is carried on all first response vehicles so that medical care can be initiated immediately, regardless of what vehicle arrives first.  
Specific units are assigned to calls initially based on caller information, using a nationally recognized matrix. However, when a 911 call comes in, dispatchers often are not given precise or complete information. In addition to volunteer first responders, a paramedic ambulance and either a rescue unit or a fire engine are sent to most emergency medical calls. This initial response provides the minimum number of responders required to address the critical needs of our patients, and provide sufficient humanpower/lifting assistance to safely move patients and prevent injuries. If the patient’s condition requires additional medical personnel during transport to the hospital, one or both of the firefighters will assist with patient care while en-route to the hospital. If the patient is stabilized on scene and no further assistance is needed, the additional fire units remain in service and available for subsequent calls.  
When responding to a major medical incident, our matrix assures sufficient resources are sent as soon as possible. These resources may include an EMS Captain, a Battalion Chief, additional firefighter/medics, and more ambulances, as needed. Durango Fire & Rescue does not charge patients based on the number of units or personnel needed.


Q: Why do I get a bill for ambulance services when the fire department operates with tax funds?

A: Durango Fire & Rescue’s total budget comes from multiple funding streams, and each source is proportioned equitably and is vital to our operations. In the United States, ambulance services are considered part of the healthcare system, thus funded differently than fire protection and public safety. Fee-for-service is commonly the method used to fund ambulance transport, and such fees are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance plans.

Q: Why do I see emergency vehicles going to calls without lights or sirens?

A: For the safety of patients, firefighter/medics, and the public, not all call types generate a response with lights and sirens. Durango Fire & Rescue uses a nationally recognized priority dispatch matrix to determine which call types are sent with lights and sirens. But this does not mean the response is in any way delayed. Units initiate a response as soon as possible for all calls. Once the first responder arrives, the call can be easily upgraded or downgraded, as needed.

Q: Why do fire trucks and ambulances go through a red light with lights & sirens then turn off their lights and slow down?

A: Most likely, the call has been canceled or downgraded. This often happens when the first unit arrives at the scene, surveys the situation, and makes resource determinations. In some cases, units may be canceled so they are ready to take another call. In other cases, units are “downgraded,” meaning they continue to the call in a non-emergency mode.

Q: Why do I see emergency vehicles at the grocery store and who is paying for that food?

A: Durango Fire & Rescue is an all-hazards agency that has 18 personnel on-duty 24/7 in addition to leadership and support staff. Our on-duty personnel usually eat together as a team at their station, as calls allow. Our staffed stations have full kitchens, and our personnel must do their own shopping (at their own expense)purchase their own food and do their own cooking while on-duty. If you see them at the grocery store, you may want to thank them for their service, knowing emergency calls are likely to interrupt, or entirely preempt their next meal!

Q: Why do I see department vehicles being driven home by some staff?

A: Durango Fire & Rescue responded to 5080 calls last year. To appropriately balance service demands and vehicle use, we use a clear organizational policy governing appropriate use and assignment of take home vehicles. We often have single incidents that require additional off-duty command staff, but even more frequently we have multiple concurrent calls and off-duty command personnel are asked to respond. To assure command level Chief Officers can respond in a timely manner, we use a take home vehicle policy for six certified command Chiefs. They are:

1 Fire Chief
1 Deputy Chief of Operations
4 Command Level Battalion Chiefs

In addition, the Fleet and Facility Manager takes a service truck home so he can quickly respond if a fire truck or ambulance breaks down after hours or on the weekends.  Our on-call Fire Investigator and Fire Marshall also take home a vehicle so that they can respond if needed outside normal working hours for fire investigations.

Finally, these and all department staff vehicles are equipped with emergency equipment, such as first response medical kits, automated external defibrillators, and communications.


Q: Can I tour a fire station?

A: Absolutely! We welcome members of the public to visit our stations and ask questions about our service. Due to the hectic nature of station activities, both planned and unplanned, we recommend you contact us to schedule a tour: Scot Davis at 970-382-6014, or scot.davis@durangofire.org