Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.
CHAPARRAL- The county fire station in the unincorporated community of Chaparralis being remodeled to prepare for it becoming a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week facility, Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services announced Tuesday.
In a news release, the county’s fire department said Fire Station Number 9, at 500 E. Lisa Drivein Chaparral, will be getting a new kitchen and paint job as part of a transition to an around-the-clock operation.
The station will also be assigned nine full-time, paid firefighters, in addition to the volunteers who currently operate out of Fire Station9, so it can be staffed at all times of the day. Volunteers may not necessarily be able to be at the station at all times, even if they answer emergencies at all hours.
Recruitment for full-time firefighters has begun and the hiring process is expected to begin in the next few days, Doña Ana County Fire Chief Shannon Cherrysaid.
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“The County is committed to meeting the needs of each community with a faster-response, high quality services and dedicated personnel,” Cherry said in the news release. “As each area grows or changes, so do the residents’ needs. We continuously monitor those changes and integrate them into our operational discussions, calibrating budgets, and timing into both the long- and short-term plans.”
The county fire department is currently staffed by about 300 volunteer firefighters and 24 full-time firefighters, according to the fire department’s website. Full-time firefighters are assigned to the busiest stations in the county.
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The fire department said the move is meant to ensure firefighters are available at all times in Chaparral. The remodel will cost $40,000, which has been budgeted by the county, according to the release.
The new kitchen will be full-service and will include cabinetry and a fully stocked pantry, since it’s meant to accommodate a workforce who will be present all day and night. The ongoing remodel is expected to be done in the next few weeks, Cherry said.
The chief said once the remodel is finished and new firefighters are trained, the station will begin operating as a 24/7 facility with full-time and volunteer firefighters. He said the fire department will continue to “actively recruit” and train volunteers for the Chaparral station.
“We very much appreciate and value our volunteer firefighters and they will continue to work at Station #9, along with full-time employees,” Cherry added. “We want to provide Chaparral, as well as the rest of the County residents, with the highest quality of service possible.”
Cherry joined the department to become chief in January, replacing former Chief Nicholas Hempel.
Nearly two years ago, a necessary overhaul of the county’s fire department led to the reversal of several failing grades the department had received. The poor grades had caused some homeowners’ insurance premiums to spike. Hiring more paid firefighters was part of that improvement effort.
Michael McDevittis a city and county government reporter for the Sun-News. He can be reached at 575-202-3205, email@example.com @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: Chaparralfire station getting remodel ahead of shift to 24/7 operation
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