From the incorporation of Madras in 1914 to 1952 there was virtually no fire protection outside of the City limits. In 1946 when the military left the Madras Air Base they donated a 1940 Chevrolet fire truck to the City. This engine, known as the Outlaw , was the only engine used to protect property outside of the City limits. The City engines were not allowed to go beyond the City limits. The Outlaw was kept at the Madras Fire Hall and staffed by the City's firefighters.
On May 22, 1952, a group of area farmers drew up a petition to form the North Unit Rural Fire Protection District and elected its first five member Board of Directors. The name North Unit was used because the District's boundaries were the same as the North Unit Irrigation District . The boundary has changed very little from the original 200 square miles.
The new Fire District contracted with the City of Madras and the City of Culver for fire suppression services. In 1953 the District purchased two American LaFrance engines; they put one in the Culver station and one in the Madras station. The District's engines were used on fires outside of the respective city limits, but were staffed with the Cities' volunteer firefighters.
On July 1, 1964, the Fire District and the City of Madras split their firefighting forces due to a breakdown in the terms of a contract renewal. The Fire District moved its equipment to another location and started recruiting volunteers.
On April 12, 1984, the District's name was changed to Jefferson County Rural Fire Protection District #1 . The name was changed to make it more reflective of the location of the District.
On August 13, 1985, the City of Madras annexed into the Fire District and dissolved their fire department. The Volunteer Ambulance Association was kept separate and today is a very viable and professional service. They operate under the name Jefferson County Emergency Medical Services District .
In September of 1989, the Fire District moved into the present location. The main fire station houses 15 of the 20 pieces of apparatus with the other 5 located in the Culver Fire Station.
Over the years the District has added apparatus and career staff. The District operates out of the main station in Madras and a substation in Culver. There are currently five career staff and approximately 35 volunteers in the Madras station; the Culver station has approximately 15 volunteer staff.
On July 1, 1996, the City of Culver entered into an intergovernmental agreement for fire protection services with Jefferson County Fire District. The Culver fire station is leased from the City of Culver as a sub-station to Jefferson County Fire District.
The district has 6-7 career positions: They are the Fire Chief, a Support Services Officers, Training Officer, Volunteer Recruitment and Retention Officer, a Support Servicers/Training Assistant and 2 part-time Administrative Assistants. The District also has up to 6 scholarship student positions attending Fire Science classes at Central Oregon Community College.
The District's apparatus and location is:
- 1 Light Rescue
- 2 Quick attack light brush engines, 1 with backup rescue tools
- 2 Heavy brush engines
- 3 Structure engines
- 1 Structure engine with Aerial device
- 1 Water tender
- 2 Utility vehicles - a pickup and van
- 3 Command vehicles -Fire Chief 1795, Assistant Chief 1796, Duty Officer 1792
- 1 Quick attack rescue/light brush engine
- 1 Heavy brush engine
- 1 Structure engine
- 1 Water tender
- 1 Utility vehicle/Rehab. unit
The District runs approximately 750 calls a year with 65% of those being medical; ambulance assist or motor vehicle crashes. The District's evaluation is approximately 1 Billion dollars with 6,000 homes and a population of about 14,000 people.
The District provides fire suppression, medical assistance, fire prevention, public education, site plan reviews, business code inspections, preincident surveys, and many other services to the patrons of the Fire District.
IN JULY 2017
INSURANCE SERVICES OFFICE
RE-RATES JEFF CO. FIRE DISTRICT #1
PUBLIC FIRE PROTECTION CLASS IMPROVED-
FIRE INSURANCE RATES IMPROVING
Jefferson County Fire District #1 has worked very hard to provide the best service and value for the small permanent tax rate ($1.1847 per $1,000 of assessed value) that is levied on each assessable property within the fire district. For example, a $200,000 home pays $237 a year for fire protection.
Every 4-5 years the fire district undergoes an assessment of our fire protection ability by an independent company called ISO (Insurance Services Office). ISO collects information useful in many aspects of insurance underwriting. That information includes evaluations of public fire protection. Information on municipal services helps the communities with their efforts to manage and mitigate their risk.
ISO performs the evaluations as a service to the insurance industry and do not charge a fee to the communities. Through the Public Protection Classification (PPC™) program, ISO evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. A community's investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses. So insurance companies use PPC information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. Many communities use the PPC as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of their fire-protection services. The PPC program is also a tool that helps communities plan for, budget, and justify improvements.
A community with a rating of a 1 is considered elite and a 10 is essentially not protected effectively. The fire district was re-rated by ISO in 2017. As Fire Chief for the last 5 years, I am proud to announce through hard work, the fire district has lowered the district's fire protection ratings from a 5/8B to a 3 for any property within 5 road miles of our 2 fire stations. We could not have accomplished this without the commitment by our volunteers to attend many hours of their free time away from family and friends attending training and of course responding to emergencies. We also could not have accomplished this without the excellent partnership with Deschutes Valley Water District, who is the main water purveyor for our fire district. The Cities of Madras, Metolius and Culver are also excellent partners with fire hydrant maintenance, public education, fire protection engineering and fire code enforcement.
Please contact your insurance agent if you live within 5 road miles of a Jefferson County Fire District #1 fire station and request them to re-rate your fire insurance premiums. You should expect a fairly significant decrease in your rates. Please let the fire district know what decreases in insurance rates you have received.