High call volume, grants and staffing top updates

Seeley Lake Fire Board

SEELEY LAKE – At the Seeley Lake Fire Board Sept. 21 meeting, the Fire Chief Dave Lane provided updates regarding calls, grants and staffing.

As of August 2021, the Department has responded to 267 calls this year, up 66 calls from August 2020. This is a 24% increase. Lane said he believes this is the highest call volume the District has had to-date based on historic call records he has found.

The District recently received a $3,000 Missoula County Fire Protection Association grant. This grant must used for wildland firefighting gear and/or personal protective equipment (PPE). Lane said they will be using this year’s grant to purchase PPE to replace expired equipment and outfit new volunteer wildland firefighters. He added the Town Pump grant purchased the Lucas Device.

Lane reported that they have 24 sets of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) sets and masks that are current and up-to-date.

Lane advertised the firefighter/paramedic position statewide with no response. The District just advertised the firefighter/emergency medical technician position and to date, have had no response. Vice Chair Gary Lewis said he thought the issue was housing. Lane responded saying that is why he only advertised locally and statewide. He will expand his search if there is no response from the firefighter/EMT position announcement.

District Administrator Dee Johnson resigned. Layaka Lemon has been hired and will start Sept. 30.

The board approved the revision to the Standard Operating Procedure Admin 30, Leave Request for District Staff. It now states that vacation leave must be submitted a minimum of 10 business days in advance.

After a thank you letter to the volunteers was read to the board during correspondence, the Pathfinder asked the board why correspondence addressed to the board has not been included in previous board packets and read during the meeting. She cited two letters to the board that the Pathfinder was cc’d on: one from Feb. 4, 2021 emailed to Chair Scott Kennedy and another from July 2, 2021 emailed to Kennedy and the District Administrator. The Board did not respond.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Fire Hall. For the agenda visit seeleyfire.org


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