Portal Rescue-Minutes

Portal Rescue, Inc.

Meeting Minutes

May 23, 2018

At 6:00PM, a special meeting was called for board members and active Portal Rescue members to discuss a bylaw change that would allow active Portal Rescue members who are neither EMT’s or Firefighters to be on the Portal Rescue Board as Active members. The bylaws require a 2/3 vote by active members for a motion to pass. 14 active members were present; 9 yes votes were needed.

8 members voted “yes” and 6 “no”. The bylaws remain the same.


The regular meeting of the Portal Rescue, Inc. was called to order at 6:53PM by President Bill Wilbur. 7 Board members present.


Motion to approve Agenda by John Yerger and seconded by Ray Mendez. Motion carried.

3.0 APPROVAL of March 20, 2018 MINUTES

The date of the previous meeting (January 18, 2018) was changed.

Motion to approve minutes as amended by David Newton and seconded by John Yerger. The motion carried.




The office of President of Portal Rescue has been quite busy since March. Concerns over liability insurance kept me busy for three weeks; trying to find a firm that was willing to do research rather than just representing a client in a lawsuit was frustrating. This issue has been resolved and we move forward.

The new fire law changes that took place in April brought about a question and answer session with Steve Millert from the Arizona Dept of Forestry and Fire Mgmt., that was attended by the community, on April 12th.

The first two weekends this month, both Sat. and Sun., were occupied with taking the Wildlands Fire Training class. The thirty-hour class, coordinated by Chief Newton, taught by Jack Upchurch and his DFFM team from Douglas was also assisted in teaching efforts by Chief John Yerger, also by Jerry and Jennifer Racicot. The class was attended by 26 students which included Bud Johnson and myself from the Board and 14 students from the Portal and Rodeo area. I might add that everyone passed the course.

Jerry Racicot notified the Board that he completed his initial training and is now a Provisional Engine Boss. He is to be congratulated for his efforts.

There are challenges ahead that promise that the upcoming months will not be quiet now that fire season is upon us and there are still unresolved personnel issues.


Treasurer: Jackie Lewis

For the record: 2017 Budget was $62,500. Income was $60,834.22. Expenses were $54,396.99. Income over expense was $6,446.23.

2018 Budget is $63,550. Current income is $33,605.42. Current expenses are $44,086.92. Current expenses over income is $10,481.50. Large budget items are insurance, EMS equipment, fire pay, vehicle ops and EMS training. We are currently waiting for payment for 3 fires that have had fire pay checks written out.

There are $800 in checks that are waiting to be deposited. Total cash assets come to $170,723.14.


FIRE CHIEF: David Newton

SinceMarch 20th

Operations:April 17thbackhoe fire, May 12 -15; Tender 1 was on the Pinery Fire with John Yerger and Jennifer and Jerry Racicot.

Training: The April and May training days were well attended.


Tender 1 - Made a 2nd trip up to Tucson to have a fuel pump replaced.

Brush 6 - currently out of service - external fuel pump replaced. waiting for new tires and

spark plug wires. Thanks to Gary Wisdom for his assistance in changing a

tire on the road.

Tender 7 - refueled with more stable gasoline and carburetor rebuilt.

Brush 8 - had some power steering hoses replaced.

Tender7 and Engine2 are out of service until their tires are replaced.

Jerry Racicot has been provisionally okayed by State Forestry for his Engine Boss qualification. This took much effort on his part and it is a significant achievement for him. There are only a handful of engine bosses in Cochise county. I'll add that this did not cost Portal Rescue that much. His fire experience costs will be reimbursed by the state and he obtained scholarships for some of his classes.


EMS CHIEF: John Yerger

There were 7 EMS calls since last Board meeting (4 in AZ, 3 in NM).

The EMT class in Animas continues. One of our students dropped out early on but we still have 2 additional students sticking with it! NM-licensed EMTs have been helping out with the skills practice on full-day classes (Sundays).

We’ll be represented at FOCCC Garden Party from 9am-1pm, May 26, 2018 with Rescue 4 on scene.

The new Power Cot is fully operational and has already been engaged in lifesaving. Douglas Fire Dept EMTs commented to me that they haven’t had a single person out on disability due to a back injury since they invested in Power Cots. Our EMTs are being trained on its use to ensure safe operation.

I’m still gathering opinions on Rescue 3 from our EMTs, but it may be time to finally retire this vehicle. It is seldom used and majority of EMTs do not see the value in continuing to fund maintenance and restocking of supplies on this vehicle. Rescue 4 seems to be highly reliable whereas Rescue 3 has been having repair issues continuously for some time. If we retire Rescue 3 we will keep our eyes and ears open for a replacement, but the need is not urgent.



Ray Mendez asked for assistance with creating manuals for new members and new Board members.

John Yerger was asked to help with the EMT part, David Newton with the Fire part, Susanne Apitz with the RCO part, and Bill Wilbur with the Board section. All agreed.


Reinstate Modified Form of Disciplinary Procedures SOG

John Yerger presented modified SOG. Ray Mendez moved that the SOG be approved and distributed to membership; this was seconded by John Yerger and the motion carried.



Nomination of Gerry Hernbrode to Wall of Fame

Gerry Hernbrode was an EMT, a Firefighter, an RCO, and a dedicated volunteer at fundraisers. Adding her to the Wall of Fame was universally moved and seconded. The plaque will be ready for her memorial June 2.


A motion was made that Susanne Apitz continue as secretary until March 2019, in spite of her Active membership expiring as she retires as an EMT. This was Moved by Jackie Lewis, seconded by Ray Mendez, and the motion carried.


A request was by President Bill Wilbur to update the Portal Rescue Contact list.


Discussion of Portal Rescue Firefighter response policy

David Newton spoke about the 4 ways in which a Portal Rescue Firefighter can go out:

  1. 911 or State Forestry: Firefighters go out on our equipment; they may be reimbursed.
  2. Firefighters go out on prescribed fires; there is no reimbursement for this by the state but firefighter expenses are reimbursed by Portal Rescue.
  3. Firefighters can go out as a crew to another fire (with Fire Chief approval); Portal Rescue pays these firefighters and is eventually reimbursed by State.
  4. In addition to these methods, another agency could hire a Firefighter without any Portal Rescue involvement.


Recommendation to use H & R Block for fighter pay with IRS withholding

Bill Wilbur proposed using H & R Block to do this, as they already prepare Portal Rescue taxes. The motion to do so was made by Susanne Apitz, seconded by Budd Johnson, and carried.




Lee Dyal presented the new fire maps he prepared; this was actually done before the meeting began. Thanks to Lee for his efforts on this time-consuming project. Maps were given to David Newton for distribution.


FOCCC Garden Party is Saturday, May 26, from 9-1 at the Forest Service Visitor Center. Portal Rescue will be participating with Rescue 4 on site, and Jackie Lewis and Susanne Apitz will have a table where blood pressure and glucose readings can be taken and information will be available on Helicopter insurance, locator book, and personal medical alert systems, among other items.


John Yerger moved to adjourn; this was seconded by Ray Mendez. The regular meeting ended at 7:42PM.

Howard Topoff 2011