Lockwood Rural Fire District #8 (LRFD) was formed as a taxing fire district in 1988. The LRFD is continuing to see commercial and residential growth, and anticipates a higher percentage of growth due to the new sewer system that is being installed in the Lockwood community beginning this spring. The district currently has over 9,000 permanent residents along with several thousand people who commute and work within the district. Our response area is comprised of over 80 square miles of coverage area with an anticipated increase of 30,000 acres of wildland fire protection area as contracted with Yellowstone County (effective July 1, 2009). This also includes a major railway that serves several industrial sites along with several miles of I-90 and I-94 being located within our area. We protect schools, infrastructure, businesses and industry. More specifically, our Department protects 235 commercial properties and over 3,100 residences. Many of these residences are located within significant wildland-urban interface (WUI) fire areas.
In addition, the Fire District protects at least 7 SIGNIFICANT hazardous materials operations, not including railway and interstate hazardous materials transports that pass through the district on a daily basis. The 7 hazardous materials sites have been identified as having some of the greatest potential safety concerns within the state of Montana. The division between the City of Billings and the Lockwood Fire District, is the Yellowstone River. For the purposes of perspective, the radio and television towers on Sacrifice Cliff across from Coulson Park, are included in our area. Exxon-Mobil refinery is technically NOT in the District, but the LRFD surrounds the refinery and all the businesses and citizens that surround it. The Fire District and Exxon-Mobil have an excellent working relationship.
The Fire District is a special district and is a political subdivision of Yellowstone County. It is a tax based fire district, that is governed by five elected trustees who meet monthly.
The Fire District is considered a career/combination fire department. We currently employ 14 full-time career firefighters to include the chief, along with 1 administrative assistant. There is always a minimum of 3 firefighter/EMTs (captain, engineer & firefighter/paramedic) on duty 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. All firefighters, to include the chief, are required to be Emergency Medical Technicians. Our firefighters have EMT certification levels that vary from EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate to EMT-Paramedic. The Lockwood Fire District is not a volunteer fire department. We are proud of an active reserve firefighter program, and strive to maintain at least 15 reserve, on-call firefighters that are required to work shifts with career staff, and are subject to call in for major incidents
The Fire District provides fire protection to include, but not limited to, structures, wildland, vehicle and any other fire suppression operation that may present itself. In addition, we provide hazardous materials response to include mitigation and incident management. The Department has two full sets of vehicle rescue/extrication equipment. The LRFD also has active fire inspection/fire prevention education programs and other fire/rescue related services. The LRFD has adopted the International Fire Code (IFC) and maintains an aggressive fire inspection program in an effort to protect lives and property. We currently operate out of one fire station, located at 501 Johnson Lane Billings, and responds to approximately 700 emergency incidents per year.
Lockwood Fire District is the only fire based, paramedic level (ALS) transport ambulance in the county. We provide ALS ambulance transport with two ALS equipped ambulances. Again, the district always has a minimum of at least 3 firefighters (captain, engineer, firefighter/paramedic) on duty at the fire station. Our current apparatus fleet has 2 fire engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 water tender, 2 brush trucks, 2 ALS ambulances,1 command/support vehicle, 1 chief’s vehicle and 1 emergency response trailer. The District protects areas serviced with a municipal water system established and maintained by the Lockwood Water and Sewer District. In addition, we protect areas within the district where there are not fire hydrants and therefore, must have apparatus to carry water to the fire area. The district and several residents maintain “dry hydrants fill sites” or underground water tanks with capacities of up to 10,000 gallons of water that can be used for water supply during fire suppression operations.
The LRFD works closely with Billings Fire, all Yellowstone County fire departments, American Medical Response and is a partner in the Southern Zone Fire Council which consists of 7 counties to include Yellowstone, Stillwater, Treasure, Big Horn, Carbon, Musselshell and Sweet Grass counties. The District also has a close working relationship with Exxon-Mobil and the Exxon-Mobil Fire Brigade. These strong partnerships enhance emergency services delivery to all of the involved communities.