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Laconia Fire gets auto aid from 3 towns for several scenarios

To the editor,
In Tuesday's Daily Sun, in an article by Gail Ober about the Winnisquam Fire Station, she stated that the Laconia Fire Department calls automatic aid for a reported fire at Lakes Region General Hospital. Gilford and Belmont along with Laconia's two stations would respond. It further stated that for other fires Laconia responds alone, unless the Incident Commander requests assistance from a second or third community.
The Laconia Fire Department requests automatic aid from Gilford, Belmont, and Meredith for several different scenarios, including any building fire. Any report of a fire in a building in Laconia gets a response from both Laconia stations and an automatic response from Gilford. If the fire is reported in the north end of the city then Meredith also responds; this area has no fire hydrants. If the fire is in the south end of the city Belmont also responds as many areas have no fire hydrants close by.
There are also numerous alarms in Laconia that get automatic response based on a risk assessment and vulnerability assessment that was conducted by Laconia firefighters. We have several dozen buildings that we consider high-risk and we get automatic aid for any alarm activation or reported fire. These buildings are nursing homes, mid-rises, a few large apartment buildings, and a school with no sprinklers. In addition any water or ice rescue also gets an automatic response.
All these types of calls or particular buildings require extra resources and the sooner they can arrive the greater the chance of a successful operation. The buildings may be very large or have numerous floor levels, be very combustible, or have a big population, or a population that is high risk. A quick response with an adequate number of firefighters is critical to controlling a fire in these buildings, and getting the occupants out safely.
Chief Ken Erickson
Laconia Fire Department
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