Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Captain Rescued in Death Valley

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Three members of the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (Captain Thornton Brown, Captain Jeff Liming and Fire Medic Matt Millar) embarked on a technical canyoneering descent last week in Hades Canyon in Death Valley.  This is said to be perhaps the toughest adventure hike in Death Valley and one which is only for the most experienced and fit canyoneer.  The trip was the second adventure the three firefighters had taken to the area.  Last year they successfully descended Bad Canyon.

 

This area in Death Valley is an arid, desert environment with extreme temperature changes ranging from highs in the upper 80’s this time of year to lows in the 40’s and winds gusting up to 50 mph.  In preparation for this trip, the group spent time reviewing and practicing rappel, rope and anchor techniques, studied topographical maps and journals of previous group trips on this descent, which included pictorials of the types of anchors you might expect to see.  Typical anchors in Hades Canyon are created using streambed boulders.  Having been to the area last year, the group had some experience in planning and had more than enough rope to rappel, retrieval rope plus extra, enough food and water and appropriate clothing to spend a night in the canyon if needed.  The group had also left a note on the dash of the truck at their end point noting that their intent was to be out of the canyon on Thursday night or Friday morning as well as informing friends and family when they should expect phone contact indicating they were out of the canyon.

 

The hike starts at approximately 5,475 feet in elevation at the parking lot, includes 14 rappels and ends near Bad Water at around 200 feet below sea level.   The group started their day in the parking lot around 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 13.  They had covered approximately 3,500 feet in elevation and 4 ½ miles of linear distance when around 3:30 p.m. during the fourth rappel; Captain Thornton Brown lost control of a rappel and suffered an approximate 40 foot fall.  He was the first of the three to rappel down.  Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming were able to communicate with Captain Brown asking him what he thought his injuries were and the other two began their descent down to help him.

 

After Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming reached Captain Brown, they did a complete assessment and found that the injuries he sustained would prevent him from hiking out on his own.  The group spent time working together to make a decision on whether or not Fire Medic Millar would go out alone to get help or for both Captain Liming and Fire Medic Millar to go out together.  Because Captain Brown’s injuries did not appear life threatening and the group had sufficient water, food and clothing they determined it wasn’t critical for Captain Brown to get out that night.  They decided the biggest potential for something more to go wrong would be for Fire Medic Millar to go out alone in case something happened to him.  The group spent time stabilizing Captain Brown’s injuries and repositioning him below an overhang to protect him from rock fall.  Captain Brown was left with a down jacket, a gallon plus of water and food and the other two members of his team proceeded out of the canyon to get help around 5 p.m.

 

After another four rappels, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming set up a bivy and spent the night in the canyon for safety reasons.  The duo proceeded out of the canyon at first light on Friday, April 14 and contact was made with local emergency services at approximately 11:30 a.m.  The Inyo County Search and Rescue and National Park Service emergency services personnel contacted California Highway Patrol Inland Division Air Operations (H-80) for a hoist rescue immediately after speaking with Fire Medic Millar.  Fire Medic Millar said “a traditional high-angle rope rescue with a ground crew would have been an extraordinarily difficult extrication involving a great deal of trained personnel and multiple days.”

 

CHP H-80 located Captain Brown in what they said was “some of the most inhospitable terrain” their area has to offer.  H-80 worked their way up the canyon to where Captain Brown was positioned and lowered a rescuer from 100 feet to evaluate and package him for a hoist.  The crew of H-80 had Captain Brown on the ground in Furnace Creek in just over four hours of being notified.  Captain Brown was assessed by an ambulance crew and evaluated at the local hospital is Pahrump, Nevada and was able to fly home commercially the next day.

 

Fire Medic Millar said that during the trip, “many lessons were reaffirmed including: hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, be prepared to stay out at night, carry extra water, food and have appropriate clothing and think through and take your time in making critical decisions.”

 

Fire Medic Millar said as an emergency response professional, he “understands how incredibly efficient the response was and has the utmost appreciation for assumed risk that rescue personnel take on with such work.”  The group offered their sincerest thanks and respect to all of the responders for a job well done.

(Photo: from left to right – Captain Brown, Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming)

 

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AED Grant Program Results

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AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATOR GRANT PROGRAM DECLARED A SUCCESS

 

Over the past two weeks, six area businesses and one church were awarded grant money from the Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire District for the purchase of an Automatic External Defibrillator.

 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is an abrupt loss of heart function. It is a leading cause of death in the U.S.  An AED is a lightweight, portable device which can deliver an electric shock through the chest to the heart, which in many cases, will restore normal heart function.

 

“We’re very excited about the community response to our program,” said District Fire Chief Roger Johnson. “Having more AEDs in public places will go a long way toward increasing a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. I also can’t overemphasize the importance of CPR/AED training.”

 

For more information about CPR/AED classes, contact the Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire District online at www.sistersfire.com or call (541) 549-0771.

 

 

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Structure Fire Damages Sisters Home

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Date of incident: 4-12-2017

Time of Alarm: 8:13 A.M.

Address: 16736 Bitterbrush Ln.

 

Quick action by homeowners and a rapid response from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District kept a wall fire from extending to the entire home.  Homeowners Chris and John Zandofsky noticed smoke and flames in the wall near a pellet stove and called 911.  The homeowners used a garden hose to slow the progress of the fire while the fire department responded.  When firefighters arrived they found flames and sparks in the wall and used a chainsaw to gain access to the concealed fire.  Fire Chief Roger Johnson said, “We were fortunate someone was home and noticed the fire early”.  Fire damage was limited to 3 foot by 3 foot area where the pellet stove flue passed through the exterior wall of the home.

Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District responded with 12 firefighters and six emergency vehicles.  Additional units from Cloverdale Fire District and Black Butte Ranch Fire District also responded to the fire but were cancelled prior to arrival.

Kidde Fire Safety Donates Smoke Alarms to Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District

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The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District has received a donation of 40 smoke alarms from Kidde Fire Safety.  Kidde’s mission is to provide safety solutions that protect people and property from the effects of fire and its related hazards, and the company is committed to educating families about fire and carbon monoxide safety.

The donation is crucial in helping the District’s Fire Corps members continue their smoke alarm campaign projects within the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District.  The latest smoke alarm statistics for Oregon show that in 2014 there were 1,774 injuries and 30 fatalities from residential structure fires. Of the 30 fatalities, in only 3 instances there were working smoke alarms.  http://www.oregon.gov/osp/SFM/docs/Comm_Ed/FirePreventionWeek/casualties2005-2014.pdf

Also, according to the Underwriters Laboratory (UL), 40 years ago residents had approximately 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Due to current construction standards and the materials used in the contents of homes today, that number is less than 3 minutes. https://closeyourdoor.org/

The bottom line is that working smoke alarms save lives!

Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Fire Corps members are available to assist homeowners with checking their smoke alarms by appointment.  New battery powered alarms are available for free, as well as replacement batteries for wired units.  If your alarms are older than 10 years, they should be replaced.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or have questions about your smoke alarms, please call 541-549-0771.

Fire District to Host Open House!

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For Immediate Release:

 

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District will be hosting an open house on Saturday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main fire station located at 301 South Elm Street in Sisters.  Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the facility, check out the apparatus, and meet local fire and emergency medical response personnel as well as Fire Corps members.  Come see us and get a blood pressure check, learn more about FireMed membership and watch firefighter skills demonstrations including: ladder throws, advancing a charged hose line, donning and doffing personal protective equipment and more.  Staff will be on hand to answer questions, hand out literature and even discuss volunteer opportunities.

 

For more information, contact the administration office at 541-549-0771.

Fire District Receives Improved ISO Rating

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For Immediate Release

 Contact: Roger Johnson Fire Chief (541) 549-0771, or 541-430-7395 Cell.

Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Receives New Rating

Residents of the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (District) may see reduced fire insurance rates as a result of a recently completed survey by the Insurance Services Office (ISO).  ISO is an independent company that serves insurance companies, communities, fire departments, insurance regulators and others by providing information about risk.  ISO has evaluated and classified over 46,000 fire protection areas across the United States utilizing a standardized fire suppression rating schedule.  ISO assigns a public protection classification (PPC) rating to fire departments on a scale from 1 to 10.  A one is the best rating possible with only 241 departments in the country achieving this rating.  A rating of 10 indicates the department does not meet the minimum criteria for recognition or may have areas of the fire district where homes are located more than five miles from a fire station.

The District received a class 3 rating which places it in the top ten percent of all departments in the United States.  The class 3 rating applies to properties within five miles of a recognized fire station which includes the stations located on Elm Street in Sisters, Buffalo Drive in Squaw Creek Canyon Estates and the Camp Sherman Fire Station.  The District’s previous rating was a split rating of 4/8b with properties having a higher rating if they were located more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant.  The new rating provides a flat rate for all properties within five miles of a fire station.  The District also received a new rating for some property owners whose homes are located between five and seven miles from a fire station.  Owners of these properties would have been rated as a class 10 in the past.  The new rating is a 10W which recognizes the Districts ability to reduce property loss during a fire utilizing water tenders to bring water to the fire.

The District was last evaluated in 2013 and has made significant improvements since then.  The District expanded automatic and mutual aid agreements with Cloverdale and Black Butte Ranch Fire Districts, improved training programs and staffing.  The District also received nearly maximum points for its community risk reduction programs.  Fire Chief Roger Johnson said, “We are very excited about our new rating and how it may help the residents of the District”.  Johnson also credited the partnerships that were critical in receiving the improved rating, “We have worked very closely with our neighboring agencies to improve services and to integrate our emergency response system”.  The City of Sisters and other community water associations were also a critical factor in the rating.  Forty percent of the overall score is based on the water supply in the community. The new rating becomes effective July 1, 2017.

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Apply for an AED Grant

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Grant money is now available for the purchase of Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) within the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District.

Sisters area businesses and organizations can now apply for grant money to purchase an Automatic
External Defibrillator (AED). The grants range from $250-$750.

More information is available at https://www.sistersfire.com/2017/01/aed-grant-money-available/.

Applications for AED grants can be made at https://www.sistersfire.com/home/contact/aed-grant-application/

AED Grant Money Available!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 26, 2017

Contact: Julie Spor, Administrative Assistant
541-549-0771

GRANT MONEY FOR THE PURCHASE OF AUTOMATIC EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDs) MADE
AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SISTERS-CAMP SHERMAN FIRE DISTRICT.

Sisters area businesses and organizations can now apply for grant money to purchase an Automatic
External Defibrillator (AED). The grants range from $250-$750.

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest and AED’S
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is an abrupt loss of heart function usually as a result of an abnormal heart
rhythm. It is a leading cause of death in the United States.

An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) is a lightweight, portable device that delivers an electric shock
through the chest to the heart. That shock can stop an irregular heart rhythm and allow normal heart
function to resume.

The American Heart Association estimates that immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and
early defibrillation with an AED can substantially increase a victim’s chance of survival. “Every second
counts when it comes to treating Sudden Cardiac Arrest” according to Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire
District Chief Roger Johnson. “We want to do everything we can in our coverage area to maximize
survivability.”

CPR and AED training is available through the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District. Call (541) 549-0771
for more information or visit our website at www.sistersfire.com to sign up.

How to Apply
Applications for AED grants can be found at https://www.sistersfire.com/home/contact/aed-grant-application/

The deadline for applications is March 1, 2017.

ANNUAL SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE PROGRAM UNDERWAY!

The Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire & Ambulance Association and the Sisters Kiwanis Club, are sponsoring the annual “Spirit of Christmas Giving Tree” to provide Christmas gifts to families in need in Sisters Country this holiday season.  We expect to serve close to 250 families this year.

 

The Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire & Ambulance Association is collecting new unwrapped gifts at the Main Fire Station at 301 South Elm Street in Sisters.  Gifts are available to children age newborn to seniors in high school of low-income families who live within the Sisters or Black Butte School Districts.  There is “Spirit of Christmas Giving Trees” at Sisters Ray’s Food Place, Sisters Bi-Mart and at Black Butte Ranch Post Office and Police Department.  You can pick a gift tag for a child from the tree and purchase specific gifts or bring new generic gifts to the fire station.

 

COMING SOON!!! Follow us on Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) for the go-live date and check back to our website at www.sistersfire.com for a new virtual “Spirit of Christmas Giving Tree”.  You will be able to pick a tag and help make Christmas a little more special for a Sisters family in need right from the comfort of your home or from anywhere you have internet access.

 

Cash donations are also accepted and are tax deductible and will go toward gift buyingCash donations can be made at the main fire station at 301 South Elm Street in Sisters, by mail at PO Box 1509, Sisters, Oregon or on our website at www.sistersfire.comThe deadline for gift donations is Wednesday, December 14.  If you have any questions please call the Sisters – Camp Sherman Fire District at 541-549-0771.

 

The Sisters Kiwanis Club is collecting non-perishable food items and cash donations for distribution with the Christmas gifts.  If you would like to donate to the Sisters Kiwanis Club please drop by the Kiwanis Food Bank at 225 W. Main Street in Sisters.  Call Naomi Rowe at 541-549-5694 if you have any further questions.

Refinance of District’s 2007 General Obligation Bond will Save Taxpayers $195,000.00

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District recently completed the process of issuing a general obligation refunding bond to lower the interest expense on the District fire station.  District taxpayers approved the issuance of bonds to fund the construction of the headquarters fire station in 2007.  Annual interest rates on the bonds issued in 2007 were 4.5%. Recently, interest rates have fallen to the point that it made sense for the District to seek proposals to issue refunding bonds to lower the cost for District residents.  David Ulbricht with Special Districts Association of Oregon Advisory Services guided the District through the process.  Six proposals were received by the District and Columbia State Bank was determined to have provided the best proposal with an annual interest rate of 1.87%.  The total savings for District residents is estimated to be $195,000 over the next 11 years.

 

District residents pay a property tax to fund the cost of the principal and interest on the bonds.  The amount of property tax levied each year to service the bond debt should be less for District residents as a result of the bond sale. Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Board President Chuck Newport said, “Our staff and Board of Directors are always looking for opportunities to be more efficient with property tax revenue and this was a logical option for us”. Fire Chief Roger Johnson said, “We felt that the current interest rates were at risk of increasing and it would be in the best interest of the District residents to act now”.  The total amount of refunding bonds issued were $1.88 million.

Annual Halloween Party and Safety Tips!

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ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY AT THE FIRE STATION

Spooks, goblins, and kids are invited to a howling good time at the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Station from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, October 31.

Come play games and – if you dare – venture into the haunted maze at the annual Halloween event.

There will be refreshments, prizes, and candy for all the trick-or-treaters. Grab your friends and join the volunteers for a screaming fun time!

For more info call 541-549-0771 or visit www.sistersfire.com. Continue reading