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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fire News: Winter Safety Precautions

A few quick reminders from your west county fire agencies as we enter the really wet part of our rainy season:

Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Keep a supply of food, water, pet food and medications to last at least three days.

Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, consider the following:
• Travel in the day, don’t travel alone, and keep others informed of your schedule.
• Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts.
• Do not drive through areas that are marked FLOODED

Fireplace Ashes
Did you know that your fireplace can keep the ashes hot for a long time after the last fire? A fireplace is well insulated and the ash can stay hot for up to four days. Grass and house fires can start when fireplace ashes are dumped on combustible items. If it is not possible to wait 3-4 days before removing ash from the fireplace, use a metal container with a lid to store the ashes until they cool and place it on a non-combustible surface. Not only will it hold the ash safely, it will also greatly reduce the amount of air... further smothering any potential fire.

From Bodega Bay:
Please resist the urge to take a drive to the coast when the news report’s very large waves.

From Forestville:
At its December 2009 meeting the Forestville Fire Protection District Board of Directors elected Denise Wood as Chair and Wendel Trappe as Vice Chair for calendar year 2010.
Forestville Fire 2009 Recap

The Forestville Fire District’s paid and volunteer staff participated in 2,614 hours of in house training and logged over 4,200 hours responding to 687 calls for service during the 2009 calendar year. The District’s volunteer staff provided 8,700 hours of coverage for the District’s first out engine company to assure that it was staffed by a total of 3 personnel, 2 paid and 1 volunteer, at all times. Total fire damage for the year was limited to $23,100.00. The average time it took the District’s first out engine to leave the station from the time of dispatch, with a 3 person crew, was less than 60 seconds. In 2009 members of the District assisted with community service by donating to local civic, youth groups and charities including, setting up for the Youth Park Barbeque, assisting with the installation of the Youth Park play structure, Toys for Tots and local toy giveaways, installing the holiday lights in town, delivering Santa Claus to the tree lighting, assisting with the town cleanup, EMT standby at El Molino football games and a host of other events and charities. They even removed a few cats from trees......The Forestville Fire District Board of Directors thanks all of the members of the Forestville Fire District and their families for another year of Service and Sacrifice.

From Graton:
As 2009 ended, the firefighters of the Graton Fire Protection District completed 493 calls. This may not seem like much when you compare it with large city departments, but Graton Fire still runs every call with volunteers- from the Fire Chief to the Trainees... they interrupt their paying jobs and personal lives to serve the community. Graton runs more calls than any other volunteer fire department in Sonoma County (and even more than some paid departments). Thank you to all of our volunteers, employers, and families for their understanding and support.

From Sebastopol:
Sebastopol Fire Dept. will be hosting a Blood Drive at the fire station on February 9 and April 6, from 3:30 to 7:00 p.m. Please come out and support this great cause.
The City of Sebastopol has just announced their CERT class offerings for 2010! These classes provide eight, 2.5 hour training sessions to local citizens to teach them how to prepare and respond to disasters in their communities. To learn more about the program and to sign up for this great training, go to the Fire Department web page at

From Guerneville:
I wish to thank all of you who attended the RRROC meeting last night (1-21-10) in Guerneville. I would also like to offer a heartfelt thanks to the RRROC. The RRROC, by unanimous vote (Suzie Baxman was absent), voted to send our ambulance proposal to the Board of Supervisors. We are asking for RDA funds to purchase a new ambulance and associated equipment valued at $241,601.94.

We face an uphill battle for funding of this project. In short, counsel for the CDC / RRROC, does not believe this project meets the criteria for funding with RDA funds, we believe it does and will be asking the Supervisors to broaden the narrow view offered by counsel. The heart of the argument appears to be concern for being sued for misappropriation of funds. RDA law is specific, or is it? You be the judge. Here is an excerpt from California Health and Safety Code 33445…”and the cost of the installation and construction of any building, facility, structure, or other improvement that is publicly owned and is located inside or contiguous to the project area…”

As defined by Wikipedia:
Building: Any man-made structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or continuous occupancy.
Facility: an installation, contrivance, or other thing which facilitates something; a place for doing something:
  • Commercial or institutional buildings, such as hotels, resorts, schools, office complexes, sports arenas or convention centers
  • Medical facility
  • Telecommunications facility
  • Post-production facility
Structure: (Built structure) a structure usually refers to any large, man-made object permanently fixed to Earth’s surface or in its orbit, as a result of construction.
Or other improvement: I will let you decide for yourself how this particular aspect should be defined. I believe in its simplicity. I further believe we do not need an attorney to define this when the layman can.

I have informed you about how the State and County have diverted approximately $390,000.00 in property taxes from the District this year alone. Add to this the charges, which have trickled down since the early 1990’s when the State shifted funds to education and we have a situation where the County now charges for services that were once free and the impact to District property tax revenue is closer to $500,000.00. These “take a-ways” equal an amount that will ensure failure of the Russian River Fire Protection District and its life safety mission.

The Russian River Fire Protection District will move forward with its tax measure. We simply have no choice but to ask you for your support in order to maintain our current level of service. Please keep an eye on our website for updates - or contact us at 869-9089.