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Opinion: Addison firefighters explain truck replacement

As officers of the Addison Volunteer Fire Department, we would like to clarify several items that were reported in the April 17 Addison Independent under the headline “Addison buys new firetruck.” This is also so townspeople do not think the selectboard was stepping outside their bounds.
The meeting that was held on March 19 was the board of trustees of the fire department, which is made up of four fire department members and three selectboard members. The selectboard members were there in that capacity. They were not at a “special selectboard meeting.”
The truck that is being replaced, a 1994 GMC, has over 111,000 miles on it. It was formerly a Ryder rental truck that the fire department purchased in 1997. Since it carries equipment for Town Line First Response, this truck goes out more often than any other truck. We want to make sure the truck can be relied upon to respond when needed.
Our truck committee spent over a year to carefully investigate what we needed for a replacement utility truck. We measured all of our current equipment to know what we would need for compartment space on the body of the new truck to carry it all. Used trucks that we found were already 10 years old, would need additional modifications to carry our equipment, and were still over $200,000. Once the decision to purchase new was made, the committee set out to design the new truck to the do the job we need it to do.
The light tower, which is almost a standard on a firetruck like this today, will allow us to quickly light up a nighttime incident. The Speedi-Dri hopper will not take up any more space and will be easier to work with than the three bags of Speedi-Dri we carry on our truck now. (“Speedi-Dri” is a brand name for an absorbent for liquids often spilled at auto accidents.)
The on-board generator will allow us to have AC power without needing to maintain a separate gasoline-powered generator. The automatic chains will give the truck better traction in winter weather. There are not “lots of bells and whistles”; rather, it is a truck that will fulfill the needs of the fire department and the community.
The truck will not cost the town anything beyond the current assessment given by the town to the fire department for fire protection. The loan on this truck is being taken out by the fire department, so the debt is owned by the fire department.
All firetrucks and fire equipment in Addison are owned by the Addison Volunteer Fire Department, not by the town.
If anyone wants to see the truck we are replacing and/or the drawings of the new truck, we are at the station every Monday night.
Chris Mulliss, Chief
Todd Reed, First Assistant Chief
Randy Stearns, Second Assistant Chief
Chris Reed, Captain
Corey Collette, Captain
Addison Volunteer Fire Department
Editor’s note: We don’t doubt the fire department officials’ characterization of the meeting at which the decision to purchase was made, but to explain our reporting we note that the minutes on file at the town office are labeled “Special Meeting of the Addison Selectboard.” 

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