CRFD's Legal Charter
and Fire Protection & Medical Services


Our mission:

"Our primary purpose is to provide fire protection and prevention and in-field medical services for the lives, homes, property, and resources in the 17-square mile area within our district."

"To meet these objectives, we respond to structure fires within our district, respond to wildland fires within or on our district boundaries in order to extinguish them or to contain and control them until state or federal firefighting agencies are able to respond; respond to medical and rescue emergencies; provide firefighter and medical training to our district members, and education in fire prevention to our community."


Our legal responsibilities:

According to OSR Directive 478.260, a fire protection district must follow the same rules and regulations as any other fire agency within the State of Oregon.

As a fire protection district within the State of Oregon, we are responsible and answerable to: The Office of the State Fire Marshall; Jackson County's Board of Commissioners; the Office of the Oregon Secretary of State and its Dept. of Annual Audits; the Oregon Department of Justice; the Charitable Organizations Department of the State of Oregon; the Oregon Dept. of Revenue; two separate branches of the Internal Revenue Service: the federal Charitable Organizations Division, and the Financial Division; and the Articles of Incorporation Division of the State of Oregon.

We are directed by State law to prioritize fire protection in this order:

1. Life

2. Structures

3. Wildlands and Resources

Protecting our residents and their homes is our primary purpose. CRFD legally is responsible for protecting structures and up to five acres surrounding a structure.

Oregon law delineates that the Oregon Dept. of Forestry does not fight structure fires. In a structure fire situation, the ODF addresses the adjacent wildland, while protecting the structure itself belongs solely to CRFD.

We are limited in our capabilities to fight structure fire, due to structure fire equipment needs and professional training requirements. Therefore, our present services do not include entry into a burning structure unless it is "a matter of life and death." However, it is statistically true that most home fires must strategically be fought from the exterior of the building.

The ODF has the primary legal responsibility to protect wildlands, in which we are directed by our Jackson County charter to back them up. In actual practice, we respond to any and all wildland fires within our district, and in the surrounding area.

Our response time is usually faster than ODF or other agencies, and we often do not require their assistance in local situations.

CRFD cannot respond to exclusively vehicle fires in the I-5 corridor unless the adjacent wildland is threatened. We do, however, respond to medical calls along I-5 and to other calls outside of our district as part of our mutual and automatic aid agreements with surrounding regional agencies.


Our current fire protection and medical services:

We now protect 143 homes within the district.



We now have 20 trained individuals available (including Chief & Assistants) for wildland fire fighting, with limited structure fire training and equipment capabilities. All firefighters are equipped with basic firefighting turnout gear. CRFD has two breathing apparatuses (and the Hilt VFD now has 7). All engines are equipped with radios and handtools. Support equipment is limited (e.g., hand-held two-way radios for use in the field).

CRFD's firefighters are dispatched by a pager system. They can be contacted for emergency response to a call 24 hours a day.


Medical and rescue services:

The fire district is required by law to provide emergency in-field medical care and treatment.

The Fire District operates medical response vehicles for transporting medical personnel and equipment on fire and medical emergency calls. CRFD has two Basic Life Support rescue vehicles: one at Colestin / Station One (44-40) and one in Hilt (44-41).

We have numerous Basic Life Support First Responders and several Emergency Medical Technicians (Level 1-A) available full-time.

We offer limited in-field first aid and trauma care, accident extrication, and Basic Life Support services. This includes "anything from bandaging scratches to CPR and heart attack treatment."

We cannot diagnose medical conditions, perform invasive or surgical procedures, or administer drugs. We can give oxygen, if needed.

The Fire District does not offer Advanced Life Support, with the exception of the Automated External Defibrillator. We also have trauma kits, and other first responder supplies. The Hilt VFD now has a Jaws of Life rescue unit.

CRFD is not equipped, licensed or insured, or legally permitted, to transport the public in medical emergencies. We can assist in arranging for appropriately qualified transport, if necessary.

We "stabilize and secure the scene, and prepare injuries for transport," and if necessary, will contact appropriate full-service emergency medical units. Those units assume responsibility on arrival, and can transport to medical facilities if necessary.


Base station communications:

Our base station operates full time, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We are equipped with radios that have State Forestry channels as well as our own frequency, CBs, and 911 scanners. Our base communications are also coordinated with 911's Emergency Response Dispatch System.

We now have three experienced, well-trained base dispatch operators, and back-up assistance. Hilt VFD member Christina Lehman, who has frequently served as dispatch operator over the past 15 years, continues to assist us. Andrea Morgan assists also.

Cheri Avgeris and Sharron Halvorson have both completed CDF's 911 - Emergency Dispatch Communications Systems Training Intensive. Sharron has worked dispatch for the last several years, and Cheri, for the past 21 years, since the initial inception of the fire district.


Fire House Buildings:

We maintain a central firehouse at Colestin, in the center of the valley, directly opposite our main base station. This fire house was funded and built in 1990 by district member contributions and low-interest private loans. It is fully equipped for use year round, and has heated storage for our trucks through the winter, and storage for other district tools and equipment.

By arrangement with the Fruit Growers Supply Company, which owns it, we also have the use of the Hilt Schoolhouse as a south-end fire house and equipment storage facility, It is winter-heated, and trucks housed there are in service year round also.



The District has: a rescue rig (44-41), a 400-gallon 4 X4 pumper (44-11), and the "Quick-Attack" 150-gallon 4 X 4 wildland squad truck (44-20) stationed in Hilt, at the schoolhouse building loaned to us by Fruit Growers.

At Station One (at Colestin), we have a 4 X 4 500-gallon pumper (44-13), a 200-gallon 4 X 4 pumper (44-10), and a rescue unit (44-40). 44-12, a 200-gallon 4 X 4, is up on the top road.

In spring, 2002, we acquired a new 4-wheel all-terrain-vehicle, to reach remote fires and transport hand-tools.

In mid-September, 2002, we were awarded a $58,500 FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) grant to purchase a new structure-fire engine.

Photos of a few of our current (and past) vehicles including the FEMA engine are available here.


Other services:

Fire patrols during fire season; controlled burn oversight in hazardous areas (on a limited / resource availability basis); tools on loan for stove / chimney cleaning, on an availability basis.


Our back-up support:

The Colestin Rural Fire District has automatic aid or mutual aid agreements with the following other fire agencies: CDF, ODF, Hornbrook Volunteer Fire Department, and the Hilt Volunteer Fire Department.

As above, the ODF does not respond to structure fires, or provide in-field medical service. CDF will assist with both wildland and structure fires, and medical emergencies.

Interagency aid agreements function with a "two-way street" policy: CRFD can be called to assist these agencies, as well. We are reimbursed for any expenses incurred, in assisting other agencies or districts. Our availability prioritizes our own district's needs, as is also the case with other agencies.


ISO Class 9 Fire Insurance Rates:

Your ISO Rating partly determines your insurance rates. An ISO rating is a national standard: any residence that is five miles or more from the nearest fire station of any fire district will be classified as a Class 10. Some insurance companies will not insure residents that are in a Class 10.

Our fire house in the center of the valley (Station One) allows us to remain in service year-round. Because of this, residences within our district qualify for the upgraded ISO Class 9 rating. The cost difference benefit to you is about 15 %.

Check your fire insurance policy to be sure that you are being assessed for a Class 9 ISO rating!


Our legal relationship to the Hilt VFD:

The Hilt company and CRFD operate as one agency, because of geographic necessity. Legally, they are two separate entities. The legal division between the agencies is necessary because it enables the Hilt company to receive direct support from the California Department of Forestry, which CRFD cannot.

The Hilt VFD has an automatic aid agreement with CDF, and with the Hornbrook VFD. Hilt and CRFD have an automatic aid reciprocity agreement. Through our agreement with Hilt, we are able to maintain an automatic aid agreement with CDF.

Hilt area firefighters operate in conjunction with several professional firefighters associated with the Fruit Growers Supply Company in Hilt, who volunteer when assisting the Hilt VFD. Hilt firefighters can operate under CRFD's authority in both Oregon and California.

The Hilt VFD's jurisdiction includes the California side of the Colestin valley, and also covers part of northern Siskiyou County, down to the Hornbrook boundary.

The two agencies are financially separate: Hilt receives no funding from CRFD or CRFD's tax base. It must fund its own operations, pay its own insurance, and have its own Board of Directors, with separate meetings.

The Hilt VFD has no tax base, and relies upon donations. California residents are encouraged to make donations and should make their checks out to Hilt Volunteer Fire Dept. These monies are deposited in a separate Hilt bank account and are used for Hilt's operating expenses.

Firefighting & Legalities:

Our 2003 Firefighter Training Program consisted of training that were held bi-monthly, from March 22nd through June 21st. A one-time Special Training for Engineers was held on July 12. Those who participated have received wildland firefighting training, structure fire training, personal emergency response safety training, and First Aid and First Responder Training.


If you show up to fight a fire but are not a trained, certified firefighter and/or did not participate in CRFD's seasonal firefighter training program, we will be forced to ask you to leave.

Our insurance does not cover community members or other members of the public who are not CRFD trained firefighters, and you can become a liability to yourself and to us because of safety issues without proper training.

There are, however, other ways you can assist under our direction in the event of a fire, such as helping to direct traffic, providing additional transportation or back-up supplies, participating in a phone tree, or filling water trucks or bladder bags. Please respect these safety and legal considerations.

For those of you who feel compelled to do your part, please consider contributing to the district with a donation. Our budget does not cover all of our special item needs, or even all of our standard operating expenses. Buy one of our fundraising T-shirts, or send in a little extra money for truck fuel - this support allows the purchase of non-budgeted equipment needs that we cannot otherwise afford. We appreciate everyone's cooperation and support.


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