Mesa County Fire Study Results Released
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo.- The Mesa County Fire Chief's Association spent months getting public opinion on how emergency services are handled in the county.
On Tuesday, the association heard a consulting firm's final evaluations on the fire authority's strengths and weaknesses.
The fire study, as presented by the Matrix Consulting Group, honed in on a few areas of improvement.
The top issue was response times.
"We do have areas in the county where the response times are longer," explained Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.
One of those areas is Pear Park, which is in between the downtown Grand Junction and Clifton stations.
That weakness calls for another station to be added to the area and a possible combination of services between the downtown Grand Junction and Clifton locations.
This would eliminate any duplication of services that might result from a third station in the area.
"Because that station's going to be serving both jurisdictions," explained Robert Finn with Matrix Consulting.
Another consolidation recommendation was for Palisade's Fire Department to take over Orchard Mesa's calls, freeing up those volunteers for areas that are in need of more help.
"They're handling most of the calls already anyway, so it makes sense to consolidate those operations," said Finn.
Cost effectiveness was another big concern for residents.
Matrix Consulting found that all the fire districts working together during recruiting and training could help with that while also improving staffing efficiency.
"All the agencies train on the same types of topics so that they can respond equally in the event of an emergency," explained Finn.
However, Tuesday's presentation wasn't all about criticism.
"Probably our greatest success was securing a $1.1 million federal grant for our radio system, which put every fire department on the same radio system in the county," said Watkins.
In addition, having one emergency dispatch center for the entire county also helps the fire chiefs utilize their teams better.
Watkins said it "will help give us a springboard for success into the future."
Watkins said the next step is to sit down with the rest of the Mesa County Fire Chief's Association and decide what goals are attainable in the near and extended future.