Lands End Fire Department is located in the very southeastern part of Mesa County. The District is 195 square miles (125,289 acres) of varying terrain and encompasses a vast area of different landscapes, people and resources. The District roves over the hills and valleys of Whitewater proper; stretches and winds up the magnificent backside of the Grand Mesa via Lands End Road; meanders up Highway 141 towards Gateway; and winds through the Escalante Canyon following the Gunnison River. The District has dramatic altitude changes from 4,500 feet to 10,000 feet at the top of the Grand Mesa. With such veratile landscape, the Lands End coverage area is a prime recreation spot.
The people of the area served by LEFPD are just as varied. We have old ranching families that have homesteaded on ranches here as well as many young families just starting out on small acreages. While our population is only approximately 2270 residents we have a large influx of people enjoying the recrational areas of this district. They come for horseback riding, forur-wheeling, water rafting, cycling of all types, hiking and jeeping, as well as hunting.
There are two major highways running through our district, Hwy 50 and Hwy 141, along with the major waterway, the Gunnison River, keeping our volunteers busy with emergency calls for assistance from people traveling through and enjoying our area.
We provide fire and emergency medical services to the area with an ISO rating of 9/10.
We currently have seven emergency response apparatuses. They are: a BLS/ALS capable ambulance, a rescue truck (capable of everything from rope rescue to vehicle extrication), a brush truck (outfitted with a compressed air foam system), a 2,200 gallon water tender (for transporting water for fire suppression), a fire engine, UTV vehicle and a command vehicle.
History of Lands End Fire
In May of 1995, a small, dedicated group of residents in the Land's End area formed a not-for-profit agency and began responding to medical calls, equipped simply with a medical bag and a radio. The team responded to homes north of Hwy 50 from mile marker 41 to the Delta County line and had the responsibility of stabilizing patients while awaiting an ambulance from Grand Junction. They served approximately 127 homes and responded to about one call every month. New supplies were purchased with money raised at fundraisers, or by donations.
By 1998, the team recognized a need to expand its service area to include the homes being built south of Hwy 50, and also service Hwy 141 up to about the Cactus Park turn off. After a simple boundary change with Grand Junction dispatch, the team began responding to the entire Hwy 50 corridor from mile marker 41 to the Delta County line. With new boundaries and increased growth in the area, the team responded to about one call every two weeks.
In 1999, an ambulance was donated to the team, was brought up to transport standards and licensed by Mesa County. The ambulance was fully stocked with purchases through a state grant and "A Land's End Response Team" (ALERT as it was then known) added transport services to its resume.
ALERT then began to explore how it might provide fire protection to the area. After consultation, and considering the costs of fire apparatus, personal protective equipment and insurance costs, the team realized that it would be unable to provide fire service without a higher level of monetary support from the community. With this knowledge, ALERT formed a small task force to look into the feasibility of becoming a fire district with tax support. With the help of a law firm providing pro bono support, a plan was created to form the Lands End Fire Protection District.
The plan was brought before the voters for approval on May 31, 2002. The support from the community was overwhelming. Nearly 80% of the voters realized a need for fire protection in the area and voted to support a new district with tax funding. The Lands End Fire Protection District (LEFPD) had become a reality! With this newly-formed district came a new responsibility of providing fire protection. New equipment had to be obtained and many hours of training performed. Board members were elected, and again, the District boundaries were expanded to include the Whitewater area by stretching its west boundary to 32 Road.
In 2003, LEFPD built a fire station at 34980 Pronghorn Drive, four miles south of Whitewater. With a new station in place, members no longer had to park emergency vehicles in their driveways or hold meetings in their homes. LEFPD continues to be proactive and search for better ways to serve the community. In fact, what truly makes our district great, is the people. The current membership consists of responders with varying levels of certification, including: First Responder, EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P, Firefighter I and II, and Hazmat Ops & Awareness. Additional training occurs every other Thursday night and varies between fire and medical training. The board consists of five elected members who meet once a month to conduct business and oversee other issues that might arise.