Union Fire Company Ballston Spa, NY

Firehouses seek to save thousands in training dollars with large screen purchase

BALLSTON SPA – The Village board has approved a $2098 expenditure by the Union Fire Company for a television and wall mount unit for training and drills for the firehouses.

The purchase is a 75″ television screen allowing a classroom style training of about 40 to 50 people at once according to Chief Bill Lewis.  The unit would be installed by firehouse volunteers.

One of the main uses for the unit is to work in conjunction with an app called ‘IamResponding.com‘, a responder and tracking system saving valuable minutes when an emergency is unfolding. First responders check in to the app on their mobile devices as responding to a call and the large screen allows an instant visual from inside the fire house, using a tracking and mapping system of the volunteers en route.

The dispatcher on duty can then quickly identify the need to call for additional personnel, know who is responding to the station, scene or any other location and reduce response times.  The large scale visual display eliminates waiting for members not responding or trucks prematurely leaving the station.

Additionally, the screen would be used for state and county trainings scheduled on a regular basis at the Saratoga County Fire Training Center located on County Farm Rd., Ballston Spa.  The Ballston Spa fire department frequently host activities with the Office of Emergency Services for emergency response and support agencies around the county.

Voting against the purchase was trustee Noah Shaw who said, “I would have voted yes if it wasn’t a 75″ TV, I just don’t see why we need a 75″ TV”.

The purchase would come out of the already approved equipment budget and is not an additional expense to the Village.

LISTEN to the discussion about the Union Fire Company large screen TV purchase (RUN TIME 4min 16 seconds)

In other news related to the fire companies, a Public Employee Safety and Health inspection (PESH) was conducted for the first time in about 30 years after a complaint was generated. A total of 36 violations were found, mostly minor infractions according to Mayor John Romano.

Chief Lewis said the inspection was “welcomed” and as a result, upgrades to policies are underway and plans for cost-efficient training are being made. Lewis specifically referenced the required trainng for bailout kits, an emergency escape system, and said ten members would be trained to be trainers for the fire houses.

“It saves thousands in the costs of training every member or new members by having trainers in-house,” said Lewis.

Lewis did note the complaint lodged was unfounded.

LISTEN to the discussion about the PESH inspection, costs and plans for compliance

The fire companies of Eagle-Matt Lee and Union have a combined volunteer membership of 139 people.


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