Article 21 will allow the Fire Department to deliver reliable and consistent fire protection and ambulance services to the residents of Goffstown around the clock every day of the week.
Historically, Goffstown has relied on volunteers and paid on call personnel to provide night, weekend, and holiday coverage of both the ambulances and the fire trucks. However, the world we live in has changed and people’s spare time is a precious commodity. With family and career commitments, people no longer have the kind of time they used to have to devote to being part-time firefighters and EMTs. That’s not to say that there aren’t any folks who can, it’s just that no one can predict when, if, and how many of these folks will be available to respond to emergencies.
Is it 24/7 coverage expensive? Take a look at the numbers, you will find them in the Voter’s Guide and on the Town web site. To put those costs in perspective, an average homeowner will find that for the cost of one cup of coffee from a name brand coffee shop per week, the Town of Goffstown can have around the clock fire and ambulance coverage. A very reasonable cost for protection and service. Article 21 bears the approval of both the Selectmen and the Budget Committee. Furthermore, I can assure you that the firefighter’s Local also supports it.
I have heard people say that they can’t support Article 21 because “all of the details haven’t been worked out.” A common concern regarding such details is about the facilities and how personnel will be housed.
To house personnel around the clock, the Goffstown Fire Department will need to make some adjustments with regard to facility use. Housing facilities can be carved out of either or both the Pinardville and Village Fire Stations. Both stations currently feature kitchen / dining space, some locker room space, and some toilet space.
A current assumption is that the Village Station is likely to be the home base for the emergency crews. At that station, there are 3 spaces that currently exist as the Chief's office, the Deputy's office, and the Fire Prevention Office. These offices can be easily converted to housing space with little to no cost. The displaced offices can be moved to the Pinardville Station where the Training and EMS offices are already located.
As another option, fire personnel have also looked into the use of an office trailer and have found that a used trailer can be purchased for a reasonable price. Such a trailer (or modular building) can be used as either office or living space and can be placed on site at the Village Fire Station and can be easily tied into the building services.
Are these adjustments permanent solutions for the building use? No they aren't but they will serve to get the Fire Department through. The reality is that at some point in time, the Town will need to either build a new fire station or significantly remodel one or more of the existing stations regardless of whether 24/7 passes or not. The fire trucks are getting bigger and the our fire stations, which were built in the 50's & 60s, did not anticipate the size and type of fire apparatus on the market today.
Please, take the time to be an informed voter, read the 24/7 Fire & EMS Committee’s report. Contact members of the 24/7 Fire & EMS study committee or call the fire stations during business hours to ask questions you may have.
Please, help protect your families and your homes, a yes vote on Article 21 is a vote for 24/7 fire and EMS!
President, Professional Firefighters of Goffstown