AYER — The Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the bid from Northeast Rescue Systems for 12 sets of Globe turnout gear for the full-time firefighters.
The gear is going to cost $15,996 of which $14,000 was approved in an article at annual town meeting last spring.
“The rest of the money — $1,996 — is budgeted in the Fire Department budget,” fire Chief Robert Pedrazzi said. “This is only for the coats and pants. There’s still more gear they’ll have to get including hats, gloves and goggles.”
Selectmen Chairman Carolyn McCreary asked Pedrazzi what would happen if the purchase was put off another year. Pedrazzi said the gear the firefighters have now is their only turnout gear and is custom made to fit each specific firefighter.
“So, if we have a fire, our firefighters wouldn’t have the proper gear?” McCreary asked. Pedrazzi explained the new gear would actually be the second set of equipment the firefighters would have, but it takes more than three months to receive the gear once it’s ordered.
“If something were to happen in the town and the gear were to get contaminated, they wouldn’t have replacement gear to fall back on,” Pedrazzi explained.
Pedrazzi also requested the selectmen’s approval to replace the radios in the ambulance, which are over 10 years old.
“We’re actually able to get the radios at a cheaper rate, buying them separately, than if we ordered them with the ambulance,” Pedrazzi said.
Selectman Gary Luca questioned why the department would need three radios for one ambulance.
“It’s because everyone is on all different frequencies,” Pedrazzi explained. “We have our own frequency, the hospital has theirs and then the surrounding towns. We have to be able to stay in contact with our guys at all times when they’re in the ambulance.”
The cost of the radios is $5,776 and was made available from the May 12 Annual Town Meeting, when voters approved a transfer of $75,000 from the Capital Budget. The $75,000 was used in conjunction with $100,000 from the Ambulance Enterprise Fund surplus for the purchase of the new ambulance and replacement equipment.
The selectmen unanimously approved the bid from Vhoorees Tech Company for the radios. They also gave permission for Pedrazzi to hire five call firefighters, bringing his pool up to 20.
“The reason we don’t put call firefighters on one at a time is because of the training,” Pedrazzi said. “It’s easier and more efficient to train them together.”
Luca confirmed hiring additional call firefighters to the department does not increase the cost to the town just the pool itself.