Lahontan Valley News editorial: Fire department seeks voters’ continued help

Churchill County is known for its Hearts of Cantaloupe melons and championship athletic teams.

Another great attribute to our community, though, is a top-notch fire department that keeps its residents protected.

In 2014, the Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department asked the community to pass County Question 1 to fund the purchase of major equipment items or repair existing equipment. During the past six years, the fire department purchased carbon fiber Scott Self Contained Breathing Apparatus cylinders and valves, an officer response vehicle, purchased and built two Type 6 fire trucks and upgraded radios from wide band to narrow band. By upgrading its equipment, the Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department continues to be one of the best in the Silver State.

Because of equipment upgrades, the fire department has maintained an ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating of 1 out of 10 in the city since 1995, the top rating a department may receive. Most of Churchill County has an ISO 3 rating because property is outside a 5-mile radius from a fire station.

Many insurance carriers use the ISO rating to determine the quality of available fire protection and to establish insurance rates. A lower ISO number such as a 1 results in better rates for fire protection. A higher ISO rating more may cause insurance rates to increase. This is based on a number of factors ranging from equipment to training. Because of the support from the Fallon City Council and Churchill County Commissioners, the fire department has been one of pride for the residents who depend on its services.

Now, the 2014 measure is coming to an end on June 30, 2021, and both the county, city and fire department are asking for your help to pass County Question 1, which extends the tax to 2027. The department will need to replace an engine and to re-plumb two existing engines. Two trucks and two engines are currently 25 years old.

Fire Chief Jared Dooley said although the current tax is sunsetting, a continuation will not add additional tax. The sample ballot explanation shows the measure calling for assessing a property tax rate that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home up to $10.50 per year. That’s a big bargain in today’s world.

Residents will see no change in the tax if County Question 1 passes. Since the early 2000s, we have been able to see what the fire department has accomplished with these tax measures, and how the money has been spent wisely. This volunteer force of 43 firefighters consists of dedicated individuals seeking to keep Fallon safe, while performing a community service that so many before them have accomplished. Everyone within Churchill County depends on quality fire protection.

The Lahontan Valley News supports our fire department and unequivocally supports the passage of County Question 1. Members of the Fallon/Churchill Fire Department have worked hard to make this one of best departments not only in Nevada also in the United States.


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