Stories about how GFPD and our Volunteer Firefighters make a difference!

"In the early morning hours of June 16, 2017 the Community Presbyterian Church of Garberville was set ablaze by a fire that started in an RV parked near the church. Our local volunteer firefighters as well as Calfire and other volunteer departments responded to battle the growing fire. We lost our fellowship hall which housed the community Food Bank but through the coordinated efforts of these brave volunteers our sanctuary was saved suffering only moderate fire damage. This fire had the potential to spread to nearby structures which would have resulted in catastrophic damage to a major portion of our community."

Clif Anderson

Elder, Community Presbyterian Church of Garberville

"We support the efforts of the Garberville Fire Protection District.  Whether this initiative lowers your home insurance or not, it is an invaluable service our community needs.  Kudos to all of the volunteers who make themselves available at all hours of the day or night to keep us safe, when the rest of us are comfortable in our homes or businesses.  Please join us in supporting the Garberville Fire Protection District."

Karen Miclette

Karen Miclette Insurance Agency

“Measure U, the proposed Garberville Fire Annexation, would adequately fund current fire response and ideally help residents obtain affordable home insurance, which has increasingly become an obstacle when buying or selling a home in our area”

MaryJo Wilber

Broker, Eel River Realty

"Let’s get one thing clear, whether you live in downtown Garberville or in one of the areas to be annexed, Measure U will raise the fees assessed via your annual parcel tax bill. You should vote YES anyways. Here’s why:

As a bit of background, if you live in the limits of the Garberville Fire Protection District (“GFPD”), you’re already within the GFPD’s service area, which means your fire protection benefits are paid out of your current property tax bill. If Measure U passes, the County will assess an additional fee on that bill, the amount of which depends on the type of parcel you own. You can find the exact amount HERE, but it is $100/year for most residential parcels and $300-$400 for most commercial parcels.

Despite the increase in fees, many folks in the current GFPD area are still voting YES ON MEASURE U. This overwhelming support, from community members such as Clif Anderson of the Presbyterian Church of Garberville, or Karen Miclette of Karen Miclette’s Insurance Agency, is premised on the increased benefits to the existing service area, which will be significant.

Of course, the benefit to the new areas to be annexed is no-brainer, in that those folks (such as myself in Benbow) did not currently fall under any fire district, meaning our first fire responder is technically CALFIRE, a state agency that does not staff its Garberville station with locals who know our back roads, is not open 365 days a year and who often sends their firefighters to other areas during peak fire season. Plus, the fire insurance for our homes is anticipated (but not guaranteed) to go down significantly, hopefully meeting or exceeding the $100 annual cost of the annexation to most residential parcels. (Fingers crossed.) With upgraded or entirely new stations in Sprowel Creek and Benbow on the horizon if Measure U passes, fire and medical emergency response will be quicker, more comprehensive, with better equipment, better training and more firefighters who better know our region.

Notably, these are the SAME REASONS those in the current GFPD area should VOTE YES ON MEASURE U, since more staffing means a better insurance rating, possibly reducing fire insurance rates even for those within the current district area. Measure U funds also mean a full time staff person at the GFPD fire station, allowing GFPD to respond more quickly to calls inside the district. Of course, better equipment, better training and more firefighters who live in and know our community will massively improve the quality of response that GFPD currently provides to those within its current borders.

Keep in mind that 70% of GFPD calls are beyond the current district boundaries, in areas such as Sprowel Creek and Benbow. Annexing those same areas will require that they pay their fair share into our region’s fire protection district, equalizing costs while increasing benefits throughout the region.

With climate change bringing catastrophic wildfires to our backdoor, Garberville has been deemed an “at risk” community, meaning the town is at a high risk of damage from wildfire. Measure U is a powerful opportunity for those in the downtown Garberville and surrounding areas to come together to protect our region.

Even in downtown Garberville, where commercial tenants are already struggling to survive an economic downturn, the benefits of a safer downtown Garberville area far outweigh the potential additional $33.33 per month for commercial retail exceeding 2,000 sq feet or commercial multi-unit properties. Keep in mind that the $33.33/mo could be offset by any discount in fire insurance costs and, for multi-unit properties, would be spread out by the number of units on that commercial property.

Too much is at stake. Whether you’re in downtown Garberville or in an area to be annexed, please VOTE YES ON MEASURE U and tell your friends and neighbors to do the same."

Heather Burke

Benbow Fire Safe Community / Benbow FireWise

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