Services and Programs
A variety of activities to reduce the frequency and severity of fires: Inspections; fire cause investigation and prosecution; public fire safety education; pre-fire planning; fire and life safety plans review for new construction; codes/ordinances; controlling dangerous practices through permits (burning, flammable liquids, explosives, etc.).
Emergency Fire & Rescue
Immediate response of on-duty personnel to control emergencies in their beginning stages, supported and reinforced by off duty and Firefighter Reserves for major incidents. Primary responsibilities are fires, rescue, hazardous materials, aircraft rescue/fire fighting, explosions and accidents. Secondary role in earthquake, floods, and other disasters.
Paramedic ambulance response, treatment and transportation for medical emergencies. Also provide non-emergency ambulance transportation to and from medical facilities.
Initial and on-going training in fire\rescue skills; strategy and tactics; EMT; command and supervisory training; continuing education; physical fitness.
Inspect, test and maintain fire hydrants; specify placement of new hydrants and improvements to water systems for fire protection.
Buildings, Vehicles and Equipment
Routine repairs and maintenance; regular inspection and test of pumps, SCBAs, communication systems, ladders, hose and other equipment..
Equipment Replacement Program
All Fire and Ambulance vehicles are replaced on a regular schedule to insure an up to date and reliable delivery system through a special Fire Capital Reserve Fund which is funded from Ambulance Patient income and monthly fee added to City water users dedicated to Fire Capital reserves.
Contract Fire Protection
Fire suppression services are available to adjacent suburban and rural property owners outside of City Limits by way of annual contracts. Fees are based upon actual cost of Fire/Ambulance spread across the total value of protected property. The rate for 1997-98 is $2.51 per $1,000 of assessed value. Revenue is about 10% of gross Fire/Amb operating budget, or about $150,000 in FY 98.
Recruit, train, and maintain a force of up to 20 reserves "on-call" firefighters dispatched directly to incidents by pagers to supplement and reinforce the small on-duty force. They are provided basic fire and medical training, uniforms, protective personal equipment and compensation based upon participation.
Student Fire Fighters
3 full time BMCC students interested in public safety careers are recruited to live at a Pendleton Fire Station to assist the on-duty crews on initial response to fire or medical incidents and to help out with non-emergency duties. They get free living quarters; 1/2 of their college tuition and fees; free fire and medical training, plus valuable job experience; and the same compensation as Volunteer Fire Fighters.
Career Development Program
Employees are eligible for merit pay increases and cash incentive bonuses by meeting minimum career development objectives in training, continuing education, physical fitness, and job performance. This innovative program which has been in effect for over 15 years is a product of a joint labor - management committee to improve the capability of employees by investing in training and education. This program is a major reason that Pendleton Fire/Ambulance has been able to reduce 6 full time fire fighter employee positions since 1980 and perform at a much higher level in terms of ambulance call volume, quality of medical services, reduced fire losses, expanded fire protection area served, fire prevention activities, and training.
Office staff performs all functions to manage the Ambulance service as a successful small business enterprize. Billing charges that are kept current with the industry standards and collecting from Medicare and other insurance carriers substantially reduces the dependence upon local tax support for Fire/Ambulance operations. More than $800,000 is billed yearly with a 70% collection rate.
An ambulance membership program available to families for $45 per year. Ambulance service will accept any insurance payment as payment in full for ambulance charges and members will not have to pay any balance. Staff markets and sells more than 1500 FireMed memberships annually to supplement Ambulance income and offer a beneficial service to customers.
Free Taxi Transportation For Urgent Medical Care: As an alternative to calling an ambulance for non-emergency injuries or illness, the Ambulance Service has an arrangement with the Taxi company and St. Anthony Hospital to pay the cost of the ride to and from a medical facility. The intent is to reduce unneccessary use of an ambulance which makes it unavailable for emergencies, and to avoid uncollectible charges. It is also a small social effort to make sure that transportation is available to proper medical care for our citizens, regardless of ability to pay. There are about 30 uses per month.
Pendleton Ambulance will provide emergency medical care and ambulance transportation to all persons in need without regard for ability to pay. Most ambulance users have Medicare or other medical insurance coverage, however, there are a small percentage of users with no insurance or FIREMED, and have little or no means to pay the relative high cost of an ambulance bill. Those with limited income will be eligible for charitable discounts up to 100% according to their ability to pay based upon the federal poverty level guidelines.