Breaking Ground in Poncha Springs

Breaking ground at Chaffee County Fire Protection District Station No. 24 on improvement projects are, from left, district fire chief Robert Bertram, board of directors president Mary Brown, treasurer Cathryn Bishop, Vice President Tom Navarrette and Scott Leonard.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District broke ground earlier this month for the addition and renovation of Fire Station No. 4 in Poncha Springs.

The addition will expand the resident firefighter program to Poncha Springs with individual living quarters, Chief Robert Bertram wrote in an email.

Resident firefighter program is similar to a 2 year internship. The resident firefighters live in resident quarters and respond to all emergency calls, essentially staffing the stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District currently has five resident firefighter positions at Station No. 2 in Nathrop and six more positions will be added with the Poncha Springs addition.

Firefighters have a 9 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer and a 14 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than the general U.S. population, according to research by the CDC/National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety.

The design of the station incorporates hot, warm and cold zones to protect firefighters, Bertram wrote.

Firefighters will have a dedicated decontamination room, fire gear storage and dressing room separate from apparatus bays to reduce exposure to diesel exhaust.

Firefighters must pass through two doors in a pressurized vestibule to move between living areas and fire truck, gear storage to reduce the chance of cross contamination between zones.

The fire station will remain operational throughout construction, staffed with our dedicated volunteers, Bertram wrote.

The Chaffee County Fire Protection District is always looking for volunteers. If interested in volunteering call 719-395-6546. Or log on to http://www.ChaffeeCountyFire.org for more information.

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