Press release: Copper Mountain Fire, Lake Dillon Fire merge into new organization

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

6 October 2017

 

Contact: Steve Lipsher, LDFR Public Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209

 

Copper Mountain Fire, Lake Dillon Fire merge into new organization

Copper Mountain Fire and Lake Dillon Fire have agreed to merge operations in a new fire authority, Summit Fire and EMS, which effectively will bring the two departments together as one entity.

While not a full, formal consolidation, the new agreement, to be signed at a ceremony on Tuesday by the boards of directors of both organizations, means that the two fire departments will operate as a single emergency-response agency on the ground and in administration, under the direction of a joint fire-authority board.

For legal purposes, each district will retain its own respective elected boards of directors and continue collecting property taxes separately – and those taxes will not change as a result of the creation of the fire authority – but bringing the two departments together will result in some efficiencies over the long run.

“We are delighted to be joined formally with Lake Dillon Fire,” said Tom Malmgren, President of the Board for the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District. “For years now, our firefighters have trained together and worked together seamlessly when it comes to emergency response; this means that we’ll all be on the same page when it comes to administration and overhead, as well.”

Lake Dillon Fire Protection District Board President Jim Cox said the creation of the fire authority makes good, practical sense.

“We share many resources already and have the same culture and desire to best serve Summit County,” Cox said. “And even better, everyone put aside their egos and acted selflessly to make this happen. This really is a no-brainer. My sincere thanks to everyone from both LDFR and Copper Mountain who have worked so hard and tirelessly to make this happen.”

Because Copper Mountain Fire has operated as a division of the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District, officials have worked to isolate its finances – both in terms of tax revenue and in operations and capital budgets – to support the creation of the new fire authority.

Meanwhile, both organizations have worked together to develop a new organizational chart, and no jobs will be lost, although several redundant positions will be eliminated through a combination of attrition and reassignment.

Additionally, with four 24-hour response stations and a larger pool of on-duty firefighters, covering for sick firefighters or vacation time and the ability to position firefighters based on seasonal demands or special events should result in lower overtime costs.

“We want to congratulate all the staff for their diligent work and patience in bringing this to fruition and creating one happy family,” said LDFR Chief Jeff Berino, who will assume the duties of chief of the joint fire authority. “And Summit Fire and EMS looks forward to continuing efforts with our partners in emergency services here in Summit County to deliver efficient, professional, compassionate and thorough emergency response to our community.”

Summit Fire and EMS will unveil a new logo shortly that ultimately will replace those of both departments on all uniforms, fire engines and in other standard locations – such as on office letterhead – although some vestigial Copper Mountain Fire and Lake Dillon Fire identifiers will remain in place until existing equipment, supplies and clothing is worn out and replaced.

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