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Please take the time to tour the Center Street Fire Station in Tilton

To The Daily Sun,

Why does the Tilton-Northfield Fire District need a new main fire station? Some answers are quite obvious if you tour the Center Street Station in Tilton. As you tour, please keep in mind the important services preformed by firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics — each minute matters when responding to emergencies. The safety of these professionals is essential. Their involvement in the community increases safety awareness and practices. The station should meet their needs in order to meet the needs of these communities.

At the beginning of your tour you will notice that Center Street, parallel to Main Street, appears to be an alley/parking area. It actually is a narrow town street. When the fire truck or ambulance pulls out of the station, it blocks Center Street. The only way the vehicles can get to Main Street is to cautiously drive straight down a narrow alley between to buildings and peer out onto the often busy sidewalk and street for pedestrians and vehicles.

Next you will notice the three steep steps up to the door. Once inside, you will see the long, steep staircase — the only access to the second floor. Anyone needing to go to the administrative offices or the living area must climb those 17 steps. The firefighters certainly can manage the staircase (if the taller ones duck their heads when approaching the landing), but many people can't make that climb or descent.

For the firefighter and EMS staff, the route from their second floor living area to their safety gear and then to the emergency vehicles is extremely cumbersome, adding to the response time. The staircase is only part of the inefficient route. When you tour the garage area, you will see the protective gear is hanging in-ready between the two vehicles — not in a direct path between the stairs and the vehicles.

You will notice a few other things while in the bay area. There is space for only two vehicles in this station — all other vehicles used for emergency responses are either parked outside or at the Park Street Station in Northfield (requiring transport the 0.8 mile to get appropriate apparatus). In the ambulance supply closet you will see a washer and drier. (The lack of adequate space for proper storage of equipment and supplies is obvious. There is also no proper storage of clean uniforms and gear.) The washer and drier are used to decontaminate the firefighters' protective gear after each fire. The chemically contaminated uniforms must be shed directly upon returning to the station to prevent spreading the hazardous chemicals to other areas of the station. There should be a shower immediately available for personal decontamination. However, to get to the shower, the returning firefighters must go through the public/administrative/living/cooking areas on the second floor, thus risk spreading contamination.

You probably won't even notice that the bay doors are smaller than on other stations because the engine and ambulance housed within were custom-made to fit this 120-plus year-old building. The doors and the bays of the new main fire station certainly will be large enough to accommodate standard modern firefighting apparatus. The new station for Tilton and Northfield will be designed and built in a financially responsible way for modern equipment and methods and expectations.

Lucinda Hope

Vice chair, TNFD Facilities Committee



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The Democracy Corps could grow a new generaion of leaders

To The Daily Sun,

This presidential election has divided Americans.
The next president will need to bring us together. I propose that our next president launch a program to renew and restore our democracy. That could include:
1. Legislation to reform campaign finance.

2. Legislation and federal collaboration with the 50 states to reform and standardize voting rights.

3. The Democracy Corps, a two-year master's degree program for young Americans. Fully funded by Congress, the Corps would call on students to study American history and government, to intern in government, to engage in weekly discussions with each other and American leaders, and to run for office.

The Democracy Corps could grow a new generation of leaders from every political perspective, from every community in America.

This three-part program will need swift action from Congress. That branch of our government has been paralyzed for the past eight years, stubbornly opposed to any compromise with the current president. We cannot sustain another four years of an intransigent Congress.

I urge citizens to vote the Democratic ticket this year. Maggie Hassan in the U.S. Senate and Carol Shea-Porter in the House of Representatives would help President Hillary Clinton to bring this country together.

Martha Carlson

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