From the Chiefs Office
As Chief of the Halfmoon Waterford Fire Department my first obligation is to the residents we serve along with the health and safety of our department. As I listen to the conversation about the new proposed fire house, I think back over the last 10 years. I think about how quickly our community has grown. How diverse the needs of the community have become and the standards to which we must uphold.
Larger buildings, apartment complexes, residential subdivisions, manufacturing facilities, nursing homes and senior living communities built with timber, steel and new technologically advanced materials make up the changing landscape in our communities. In addition to firefighting, our first responders are on the scene of deadly car crashes and at the forefront of the expanding opioid crisis. Our first responders maintain the necessary level of training required to keep our residents safe in any emergency situation.
The call volume to the station has increased steadily over the last 5 years. In 2018, our volunteers respond to over 800 calls. Our equipment and our facilities are in service every day of the year. Maintenance of the equipment and the fire station are all duties we as a department perform in addition to being first responders. We provide toy drives with in the community. We open the firehouse to the residents and community groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
When I look at today’s fire department, I see the stress on our members, and the stress put on our buildings and equipment. We are a very active department of committed first responders. I want to thank the board of commissioners, both past and present, for responsibly and efficiently looking out for the needs of our residents. They have provided us with the tools and the resources we need as first responders in order to best serve our residence.
As Chief, I take the health and welfare of residents and volunteers seriously and uphold the highest standards of safety. The station we operate out of no longer serves the residents and the department safely and efficiently. The station does not meet today’s standards. There is no denying that. Over several years the department and the commissioners have worked together to identify the needs of the district. We engaged professionals to help with the needs assessment and design parameters. We took our time and studied best practices. The new proposed station has been reviewed, chopped up and taken apart and put back together again and again. Today I am confident that this station meets our current and foreseeable operational needs. The minimum number of bays for the fire apparatus, radio room, required records room, office space and a training room are part of the proposal. There is space to have our existing decontamination equipment installed. We are located to serve both Halfmoon and Waterford effectively with easy access to the station for responders.
The cost of the facility is important and I trust that the Board of Commissioners and the appointed building committee members will continue to be fiscally responsible. As the Chief, I am concerned with safety and operational efficiencies needed to serve our residents when they call. Myself and the other Chiefs, past and present, have provided much of the input that reflects the current proposal. We believe the new station is needed and will allow us to serve residents well into the future, no matter what the incoming call is.