Letter: City and its firefighters deserve better planning
I read with great interest the Jan. 7 article "Pittsfield looking to buy fire truck." My first question to the mayor and acting Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski would be, why are we just hearing about this now? Seven weeks is a long time for a full-time municipal fire department to be without a functioning aerial apparatus.
My second question, how long have you known the reserve ladder, Truck 2 was not safe to operate? Acting Chief Czerwinski was quoted in the article, "...being without a ladder truck has not impacted the department's ability to do its job." He left out an important word, "Effectively"
A full complement of apparatus and tools at any emergency scene is paramount for the best outcome. Pittsfield firefighters will always do their job, that is not the issue here. Expecting our firefighters to do their job without adequate tools is the issue. As much as our community appreciates Dalton, Lenox and all departments who answer the call for mutual aid, the response time for a vital piece of apparatus in a city such as Pittsfield in a disaster waiting to happen.
As a retired fire lieutenant of the Pittsfield Fire Department (1983-2015), I understand the importance of having a ladder truck available, not just for the aerial reach of the ladder, but the amount of rescue equipment in its compartments. Due to its size, equipment such as rescue tools — air bags, tools to stabilize vehicles overturned or on their sides while crews extricate victims, air tanks for firefighters breathing apparatus (many are used at structure fires) and much more.
Pittsfield residents and their dedicated firefighters deserve more. There needs to be a better plan in place to keep our firefighting fleet functional. It's best for everyone.
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