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Just prior to the general meeting held Jan. 8, three Hamilton Branch Fire Protection District board members take their oath of office: from left, Ronald Damsen, John Seipert and Gary Hinshaw. Damsen and Hinshaw are starting new terms on the board and Seipert is beginning his first four-year term. He has lived in Hamilton Branch for a little over two-and-a-half years, but has a family history in the Westwood/Branch area dating back to the 1940s. and has been up in the area for a long time. He noted, “My wife is a Fire Belle and she sort of urged me to get involved.” Photo by Gregg Scott

Hamilton Branch Fire gets ready for 2020

The Hamilton Branch Fire Protection District board meeting Jan. 8 was quite an introduction for new board member John Seipert. It not only included the normal monthly business of paying bills and reporting on the status of personnel and equipment, there was also a special focus on the expected increase in activity during the coming year.

In 2018 the department responded to 77 calls. The calls were a mix of fire, public assistance and medical, but a majority were medical related.

In comparison, Chief Gary Pini reported that in 2019 the total responses for the year had increased to 111, again with a majority being medical calls.

It seems that part of this increase is due to the increasing population within the district boundaries and partially due to the aging demographics within the district.

This conversation of course is just one of the reasons the district has placed a proposed property assessment (Measure A) on the May 5 mail-in election ballot.

Measure A would replace the current district assessment of $108 with a new assessment of $283 per parcel to help fund a second full-time firefighter at the Hamilton Branch station.

This would facilitate a faster departure of the Rescue Squad unit, which is imperative for those medical responses.

The board also talked about the importance of the new Firewise Certification in maintaining the ISO Class 4 rating in place for the district.

The chief also reported that the new Emergency Warning System has been ordered, the Hwy 147 siren location has been selected and the installation should begin in the near future.

The next scheduled board meeting for the district is Feb. 5 at 4 p.m. at the Hamilton Branch Station.

The board encourages residents in the district to come and ask questions they may have about the proposed assessment or any other aspect of the department.

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