Fighting fires more efficiently
In 12 years since Chief Mulholland has left the fire service, we have replaced our elderly vehicles with new or used units as determined in order to better serve the town. We are currently on schedule, with a replacement of Engine 2 planned for 2018.
He had an issue with our replacement of a 38-year-old engine with a 2008 Sutphen cab-over carrying six personnel. It certainly is outstanding to see two crews plus an officer exiting this truck, in air packs, with tools, immediately upon landing on a fire scene. Those precious minutes can make a tremendous difference during the initial attack on a fire. I fail to see how this compromises safety for the town in any way.
Mutual aid is in place and working very well. We often respond to our neighbors, and they are more than willing do the same for us. It would be extremely optimistic to expect help from our neighbors in 15 minutes. A more realistic expectation would be 20 to 30 minutes.
The proposed location south of the medical center will place us closer to the majority of our membership and the majority of the structures in town. This location will reduce response times to any call north south or west of the four corners by three to five minutes on nights and weekends.
East of the four corners, the response times would be at minimum marginally improved; the trucks would be manned sooner in every case and could possibly get through the historic village easier with warning lights going. Any calls going up East Hubbardton Road or 4A east can bypass the historic village on Route 4, improving the response time by an appreciable extent.
This ability to bypass the historic village would undoubtedly make this area safer. During the workday, response times depend on who is in town and if they can leave work. Weather is a factor in every case; bad weather slows everyone down, including emergency responders.
ISO requires us to have a pumping capacity of 2,250 gallons per minute; we have two engines with a capacity of 1,500 GPM each. It would not be practical to have one engine to accomplish this level of fire flow.
Also, having only one engine instead of two would significantly decrease our ability to protect the town. In rural situations, at least one engine fights the fire and at least one is required to supply the water.
From strictly an ISO-rating point of view, distance from the station is only relevant in areas serviced with hydrants. The limiting factor is a 1.5-mile distance from station to hydrant as traveled on all-weather roads. It cannot be drawn on a map with a compass.
This accounts for 4 percent of the total credit. Our current credit for this is 1.89 percent; moving the firehouse could improve the credit slightly, (we would have to research the quantity of hydrants in each area vs. not in the area) however will not have a significant impact on the total. The number, type, size, and location of buildings have absolutely no effect on ISO ratings.
Two stations would improve our ISO rating by a credit of 2.11 percent at best (hydrants). It would take considerable research to determine if a second station could be justified.
(First assistant fire chief)