Pelham - Windham News | April 27, 2012 - 7 Fire Department Sets Goals for Next Two Years
by Barbara O’Brien As part of their strategic planning for the future, administrators for
the Windham Fire Department have set goals for the next two years. During his presentation to the board of selectmen, Fire Chief Tom McPherson listed the issues he plans to address between this year and 2014, including: • Increasing the number of paramedics within the fire department; • Purchasing new self-contained breathing apparatus (an issue McPherson identified as “critical”), either through grant funding or the town budgeting process;
• Installing Mobile Data Terminals in fire department vehicles; • Installing additional motion detector activated switches throughout the fire station to save money on electric bills;
• Providing additional training for Emergency Management situations;
• Replacing automatic external defibrillators used in ambulances/ fire trucks (existing models are approximately 15 years old);
• Replacing Life Packs used in ambulances/fire trucks (existing equipment is 10 to 15 years old). One of McPherson’s primary goals is to always have “safe and adequate staffing.” “We strive to meet the two in – two out rule,” he
said, referring to having two firefighters ready to enter a structure for every two firefighters who have already gone inside. “This is very difficult to meet, now that we have only four firefighters per shift,” he said. Last summer, due to budget concerns, selectmen instructed McPherson to reduce the number of firefighters per shift from five to four. As a result of that reduction, McPherson has repeatedly expressed safety concerns for both residents and firefighters. As for projects and issues that were included in strategic planning goals for 2010-2012, McPherson reported that the GPS mapping of Windham is in progress and the new fire engine, that replaced the old Engine 3, was put into service in mid-December. An ongoing goal is to continue increasing ALS (Advanced Life Support) Service. Other advances made in the fire department include the acquisition of computer upgrades at no cost to taxpayers, the creation of templates for fire department permits and the completion of an update to personal equipment for firefighters. All aerial and ground ladders and all fire pumps recently underwent annual mandated testing and all passed muster. The department’s breathing apparatus also recently passed the annual flow test. All firefighters recently completed collision avoidance training, while seven members of the department received training in CPR
instruction. McPherson said plans are to offer CPR and First Aid courses to the public at a future date. In the near future, firefighters will be participating in hazardous materials training in Concord through a federal grant. When firefighters aren’t attending to fires, providing emergency medical services or handling hazardous materials incidents, they are still busy, McPherson explained. Other duties assigned to firefighters include: daily equipment checks, minor repairs to equipment, participating in training, providing mutual aid to other communities and working special details, such as civic events, fireworks and providing non-emergency patient transports. McPherson thanked all those firefighters who have spent time
working on various committees for the past couple of years, assuring that the department’s goals are being accomplished. In regard to the possibility of bringing fire dispatch back to
Windham, McPherson said, “Monetarily, there is no point in bringing it back,” Currently, dispatch for the Windham Fire Department is located in Derry. The cost of setting it up, again, in Windham would be cost-prohibitive, McPherson told selectmen.
Suspicious Building Fire on Mitchell Pond Road
submitted by Windham Fire Department On Tuesday evening at approximately 10:46 p.m., Windham Fire
and Police Departments responded to a reported building fire on Mitchell Pond Road. First arriving personnel encountered a fully involved two and a half story wood framed building which was unoccupied and under construction at the time of the fire. Fire crews also had to manage several small brush fires that also ignited both near the building and across the street due to flying embers.
Due to the dry conditions and the high fire danger the state has experienced over the last few weeks, firefighters were concerned that those fires would spread quickly to adjacent homes. As a result, several towns were called in to assist with the brush fires and
the extinguishment of the building. Departments from Derry, Salem, Pelham, and Londonderry assisted at the scene while Hudson and Nashua provided station coverage. Firefighters also dealt with limited water supply in the area, so additional tankers and forestry units from Pelham, Litchfield, Atkinson, Auburn and Hampstead were also called in to assist. Fire crews remained on scene well into the morning hours wetting down hot spots in the area and to ensure that no additional fires re-ignited.
No injuries were reported. The fire is considered suspicious and is currently under investigation by Deputy Chief William Martineau.
U.S. DEA Sponsoring National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
submitted by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services The State of New Hampshire is partnering with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), substance abuse industry and poison prevention organizations to promote proper storage and disposal of medicine in the home. The health of many New Hampshire’s citizens benefit from the appropriate use of over-the- counter and prescription drugs. However, when drugs are not stored safely, diverted to unauthorized users or disposed of in an improper manner, serious problems such as drug abuse, accidental drug poisoning and/or contamination of the State’s water resources can occur. The number of deaths caused by drug use has quadrupled over the last fifteen years in New Hampshire. Ongoing research has identified the occurrence of pharmaceuticals in water resources in some areas of the nation and are suspected to have caused adverse impacts to aquatic life in certain water bodies. Almost 3000 pounds (2.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medication
Pelham Selectman Fill Board Seats
by Lynne Ober It’s the time of year when selectmen must interview and select candidates to fill a variety of volunteer boards within the community. Each of these boards provides a valuable service to the community and each slot is staffed with an energetic resident. Chosen this year and appointed to boards are: The Zoning Board of Adjustment and two regular positions open and each was for a three term. David Hennessey and Robert Molloy were appointed. The Conservation Commission also had two seats open and each
was for a three year term. Paul Gagnon, who has long been the voice of the Conservation Commission and Karen Mackay were appointed. The Forestry Committee also had two seats open and each was
for a three year term. Deborah Waters and Robert Lamoureaux, both of whom are conservationists, were appointed. However, the Council on Aging had 15 one year term seats open. Appointed to these seats were Donald Brunelle, Daniel Atwood, Edward Richard, Georgia Atwood, Leo Doherty, Priscilla Pike- Church, Barbara Ward, Rosemary Shawver, Gayle Plouffe, Shirley Janocha, Karen Fyten, and Jas Moorjani
After the seats were filled, Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill McDevitt stated that there were alternate positions available for the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Planning Board. “Anyone with interest in what’s going on in Town was encouraged to come forward and submit an application at the Selectmen’s office,” he stated. Applications are also available online.
was turned in New Hampshire during the October 29, 2011, collection despite the occurrence of the unusual October snowstorm. When combined with the three prior take-back events in New Hampshire, the DEA, and its state, local, and tribal law-enforcement and community partners have removed 9371 pounds (4.6 tons) of unwanted or expired medication in New Hampshire. On April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. many of New Hampshire’s
law enforcement agencies and the DEA will give the public another opportunity to prevent pollution or pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Collection sites will be posted on www.justice.gov/dea
as they are established between now and April 28. Check their Website frequently for updates on the location of collection sites. Already, over 80 collection sites have been established in New Hampshire. For more information of how to properly dispose of your unwanted medicine, visit www.nh.gov/medsafety
. For additional information on alcohol and other drug misuse, visit www.drugfreeNH.org
Technology Needs Update- continued from front page
“under-educated on using the system.” Selectmen did recently sign a new contract with Munis, which provides for an off-site server, a system that will be maintained by Munis. “That is a fabulous idea,” Baetz said.
In addition to the aging workstations and software, Baetz also expressed concern about the physical environment in which the town’s server is housed. “It is not optimal. In fact, it is sub-par,” Baetz said of the section of the Windham Police Department where the server is located. “It is certainly not a controlled environment,” he said, referring to the level of heat and humidity, as well as security, power supply and fire suppression capabilities. When questioned by Selectman Kathleen DiFruscia about the current location, Baetz responded, “I think it’s really a problem.” Baetz is recommending that the area in the police department where the equipment is housed be enclosed. Another problem mentioned by Baetz is the existence of insufficient monitoring tools provided to IT (Information Technology) Director Eric DeLong. “Systems fail gradually, not all at once,” Baetz said. “Not having the tools to monitor them is a real problem.” Baetz also said system security needs more attention. “It’s out-of-date,” he told town officials. “Eric (DeLong) hasn’t been able to keep up, because he has to do too much repairing” of aging equipment,” Baetz explained. “The list of computers that need repair is too long to write down,” Baetz added. “Eric needs to be able to focus more on strategy; less on repairs.” “Over the past 10 years, there has been an intentional limiting of expenditures for the IT Department, resulting in an aging inventory. The abundance of older hardware has necessitated a shift in roles for the IT Director from a strategic planning role to a basic hardware repair role,” Baetz said.
Baetz also spoke of the need for off-site data backup. “It can
be very costly when a system crashes” and there is no backup, he added. “This has been an issue in Windham before,” Baetz said. “It is a very real issue and it needs attention.” The new Munis contract does include disaster recovery capabilities, according to Sullivan.
Among Baetz’s recommendations are for town officials to establish a capital improvement plan aimed specifically at the IT Department, updating software that is used globally throughout the town, updating departmental software and providing enhanced training to employees. “There will be a far greater return on assets if appropriate training is provided,” Baetz said. “We’re going to have to start doing it a different way soon,” Baetz said, referring to the need for more strategic planning and less repair work. “Eric is way too busy putting out fires,” Baetz said of DeLong’s responsibilities. “There is a real need for more management, more diagnostic tools for Eric. All these maintenance issues need to be put to bed,” he stated. “Eric is an IT professional working with IT non-professionals. Windham has an IT professional, not an IT Department,” Baetz stated. Baetz commented that DeLong had been very cooperative throughout the entire assessment process. “He willingly shared his concerns. He was more than forthcoming,” Baetz said. “The town should strongly consider some secondary support” for IT issues, Baetz recommended.
Selectman Phil LoChiatto said he was thrilled that Baetz had stepped up and volunteered such a large amount of time to the town. LoChiatto also commented that he fully understands how very difficult it is for one person (DeLong) to handle everything pertaining to the town’s technology. strategic cash,” LoChiatto said.
“It’s time to spend some Selectman Roger Hohenberger commented on Baetz’s
assessment. “What’s presented here is excellent,” Hohenberger said. “The IT Department began as a support group, but as time goes on it’s demanding more support than it’s providing,” Hohenberger said. “Eric does not have enough support” and that’s the bottom line, Hohenberger added. “We’re spending less than one-percent of the budget per year on servicing $300,000 worth of equipment,” Town Administrator Sullivan said. “It’s always been a question of money,” DeLong commented.
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