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Comprehensive facilities review in the works for T-N Fire District

June 03, 2009
TILTON — Tom Gallant of the Tilton-Northfield Fire District Commission and representative to the Life Safety Building Committee in Tilton reported to the committee last week that the commissioners had voted to assemble a committee of their own to perform a fire facilities review.

Members will be charged with investigating the needs of the fire department, the review of existing facilities, and to make recommendations on an appropriate course of action.

To form this committee, Gallant will be mailing letters to each town's Select Board asking for a representative from their board or an appointed citizen's representative if no boar members could participate. They would be joined by the three Fire District Commissioners and Tilton-Northfield Fire Chief Stephen Carrier to begin the review as soon as possible.

"I will have a letter out in the next two weeks," Gallant told the LSBC, "and I will be a moving factor behind this. I don't anticipate it will be buried. If it is, it will be over loud cries from me."

Gallant said it will be important to take a look at the needs of the fire district relative to the re-location of the Center Street Station, administrative needs of the district, and whether they should join the Tilton Police Department in constructing a life safety complex.

"It's a complex to me," he said. "It's two buildings joined at the hip, sharing some common space, but that are separate. In the area, there are some (life safety facilities) that are a building, but that is not what we should be looking at. We want a complex."

Gallant went on to report that current conditions at the Center Street Station are worsening. Concrete flooring is collapsing beneath Engine 3 at the site and the commissioners are not sure what remedy, if any, would be advisable.

"How much do we spend?" he asked. "For some it is a foregone conclusion that Center Street (Station) is going to disappear. Do we band aid the floor or put a lot of money into it? This is an expensive piece of equipment sitting on that floor."

Stating that the fire district needs to move promptly in making decisions such as this, he laid out a skeletal plan for the proposed committee. He asked that it seek the information contained in the outline and then report back to the district and both towns with its findings.

The "comprehensive facilities review" would also ask the committee to examine major apparatus needs over the next five to 15 years, along with a review of personnel past and present. These factors, he stated, could affect facility needs.

While Tilton's LSBC investigates the legalities, call volumes and the pros and cons of a life safety complex, this committee will look at these issues from the fire district's standpoint.

Gallant expressed the hope that these findings might then be presented as a report for the 2010 Town Meetings or, if necessary, as a warrant article in both towns.

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