Cripple Creek Fire Chief Dean O'Nale
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Cripple Creek Fire Chief Dean O'Nale presented a new strategic plan during the Jan. 2 City Council meeting. The plan, which sets goals and objectives for the fire department, was approved by council. 

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Cripple Creek Fire Chief Dean O’Nale presented to the council the Fire Department’s strategic plan for approval at the city’s first meeting of the new year Jan. 2.

O’Nale said the plan has been long in the making and gave credit to former fire chief, Randall Baldwin, who initiated the document, plus department members who “contributed countless hours” towards the effort.

The Cripple Creek Fire Department has been in operation since 1892. Two devastating fires almost completely destroyed the city in 1896, leading to reforms that included an ordinance requiring businesses to be constructed of brick or stone and the establishment of a paid fire department.

Other reforms and improvements have been made throughout the department’s 126-year history, with paid staff returning to the department in 1993 following an 83- year hiatus. Gaming had arrived and with revenue coming in, the city began to rebuild its fire department. Today, the Cripple Creek Fire Department is fully staffed with 12 full-time staff, reserve part-time firefighters to augment departmental needs and a Fire Corps consisting of five to 20 volunteers.

The purpose of the strategic plan is to determine ways to improve services to the community of 1,169 residents, as well as businesses and visitors. Cripple Creek’s total response area is 1.13 square miles, which is surrounded by 55 square miles of unincorporated Teller County whose fire protection is under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to the strategic plan, the department now has an urban/rural interface Community Wildfire Prevention Plan. That document, compiled by auxiliary volunteer Rich Ingold and others, assesses the wildland fire threats, such as last summer’s High Chateau Fire in Cripple Creek’s backyard, and includes mitigation plans to manage those threats.

Both plans will assist the department with implementation of targeted goals and objectives and in accessing grant funding.

The council voted to approve the strategic plan as presented.

Addressing the council, Chief O’Nale said that the plan was the “brainchild” of former Chief Randall Baldwin and was a “team effort” which has brought together “one, great document.”

“We now have a goal, a plan,” O’Nale said.

In his general report to council O’Nale mentioned that the department is readying itself for ISO (Insurance Service Office) evaluations. An ISO fire insurance rating is a fire score from one to 10 that indicates how well-protected a community is by their fire department. Among other factors, ISO’s take into account fire department personnel and equipment and water access and supply.

Cripple Creek’s department has an ISO of “3” within the city limits. O’Nale hopes to further improve upon that rating.

Prior to O’Nale’s presentation, the first order of business was the approval of council’s first resolution, 2019-01, as required by the Colorado open meetings statute. Colorado statute mandates that municipalities designate the posting of locations and times for public meetings.

Official postings can be found at cityofcripplecreek.com. Notices can also be found within the outside shadow box at City Hall and at the Cripple Creek Post Office.

As a responsibility of City Clerk Janell Sciacca, the required notices must be posted no later than 24 hours prior to the holding of the meeting and all meeting notices shall include specific agenda information, where possible.

During discussion, Councilman Tom Litherland asked if the city had looked into the possibility of posting legal and public notices online as well.

The Pikes Peak Courier is the newspaper of record for the City of Cripple Creek regarding the posting of public notices and legals.

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