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SPECIAL TOWN VOTE AUG 31ST!!! VOTE YAY OR NAY FOR THE NORTH FIRE STATION RENOVATION!!!
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 The Banna Fire Station Saga

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mkreyssig
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PostThe Banna Fire Station Saga

I couldn't stick around for the Fire Chief portion of the BOS meeting last week, so i got the details in the Seekonk Star Article today. I am a little perplexed at the Chiefs statement that he will need an additional 8 Fire Fighters to staff that station.

I didn't think the issue with fire coverage was that we did not have enough fire fighters. I thought the issue was where they started from. Can't they just be spread out among the two stations?
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The Banna Fire Station Saga :: Comments

Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:14 am  tombenoit
Why i sthe use of the call firefighters not on teh table. For years (decades?) we staffed 3 stations.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:47 pm  mkreyssig
yeah....good call...I grew up in Webster Ma which was far bigger than Seekonk is. They have one fire station, some fiull time fire fighters and the rest are volunteer. Worked great....I rehoboth swears by that system as well...
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:17 pm  terrybohax
I agree with you Mike that the issue was always presented as 'how can we get the fire personnel from Taunton Ave. to the North end calls faster', it was never about adding more personnel. I am feeling very mislead right now. $750,000 to renovate the building will be a drop in the bucket if we have to add up to 8 firefighters (salary and benefits). Chief Jack's comments have totally changed my opinion on this subject. Mad I was wary at the beginning but was assured that the Banna station was not able to support overnight coverage due to the inadequate facilities for our EXISTING firefighters, so that's why we needed to renovate the building.
And if we add a South station will we need more personnel for that location too?
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:49 am  seek2mend
On Point of View, Mike Brady made some excellent points regarding the fire dept. I also think the ideal situation would be two stations. But Banna is too far North and School St is too far South.

In all honesty, it pains me to hear Capt Bourque begging for relief. But Banna should be a no go. Didn't we just vote on a non binding question to authorize the BOS to make a plan using 3 mil in retiring debt? Wouldn't it make sense to wait and see? I still believe this is a management problem. In these economic times, it shouldn't be too difficult to find enough able bodied men and women to staff Banna, County or Newman on a part time basis as need be.

Human Services and the Library also have needs. Granted, those departments may not be as critical as public safety. But those needs will eventually have to be met. Maybe it would be possible to move the town hall to the public safety complex and relocate the fire department to two viable locations. This would free up the Town Hall to other possibilities, such as Human Services and a senior center. There is also the possible use of Pleasant St. to consider. There are just too many other options to consider. I also find it disturbing that the people behind the Banna plan are pulling at heartstrings and using this fallen hero in their sales pitches. The man died in the execution of his duties to protect the citizens of Seekonk. I would think he of all people, would want to get this right.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:33 pm  mkreyssig
I have given this some more thought...I think the problem that they are anticipating they fire department is going to run into is the fact that we would be going from a centralized dispatch point, to a decentralized one. With that method you would need to add a significant amount of personal.

Here is why. I'll try to give an example without a using pictures here....

A= Main Public safety building on 44

B= Banna

Let say for this example that we have 3 staffed fire trucks and 3 staffed rescue vehicles 24/7. I don't know if that is the case, but let's us it.

So you Staff 2 of those three at point A and one at point B

Now let's say at 14:30 Saturday they get a call down at the Walmart Parking lot. "A" dispatches one fire and one rescue vehicle. At 14:40 They get a minor house fire somewhere way up on County Street. "A" Dispatched another Fire and another rescue truck. Now "A" is empty.

At 14:50 at 911 hang-up happens at Fantasy Land and dispatch cannot get anyone on the phone when they call the number back. If Seekonk is like most towns that means they automatically respond to that with police/fire/rescue vehicles. But since the only Fire/Rescue vehicles available are now at the North End you are looking at at least 15 minutes before they can get there....and that is being optimistic I think.

So that is most likely why the fire chief said he needs to add that much staff. He is probably saying he needs 8 hoping to get 4.

So the question is. Are we better off refurbishing another fire station, or just adding more personnel to staff our existing Public Safety building....even better with On Call people. Or refurbishing adding maybe 3 more firer fighters (one for each shift) and using on call for the rest of the staffing needs. Either option is going to require time to higher and train.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:42 am  tombenoit
Why would they have to go from centralized to de-centralized? Are we saying that it is impossible to manage the resource and equipement centrally?

I don't understand why the two stations were ever closed to begin with. I have been a supporter of the public safety complex since the beginning (remember Pleasent Street, the Ann & Hope site, even Fire Fly). The new complex was only ever supposed to close the 152 station.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:52 am  seek2mend
tombenoit wrote:
Why would they have to go from centralized to de-centralized? Are we saying that it is impossible to manage the resource and equipement centrally?

I don't understand why the two stations were ever closed to begin with. I have been a supporter of the public safety complex since the beginning (remember Pleasent Street, the Ann & Hope site, even Fire Fly). The new complex was only ever supposed to close the 152 station.

Technically, I think Banna and County are still open. Like I posted under another heading, I believe this to be a management issue.

I hope I am wrong, but I think North North Ellie and friends are being used as pawns to further an difficult or unsustainble agenda.

And, Mike, your scenario and worse is possible. But that is why we have mutual aid. Truth be told, none of us are going to get out here alive. Life is full of risks and possibilties. But we have to live within our means. To do that, we must get creative and the school and town must work together to set priorities in the best interest of the community as a whole.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:05 pm  geforce2187
Right now the only staffed fire station is the headquarters on Rt. 44. County st. and Pine st. have fire apparatus and equipment stored there but there are usually no fire fighters present. According to the Seekonk FD website there is 6 firefighters per shift except one shift only has 5 firefighters. I think usually there are two people on Engine 3, two on Ladder 1 and two on Rescue 3. I think during the shift with five FF's, three on Engine 3 and the two others either take Rescue 3 or Ladder 1 depending on the type of call (medical or fire). Engine 3 goes to all of the calls both medical and fire. The problem right now isn't the response time so much as the lack of firefighters on duty. If there is a fire those 5 or 6 firefighters are all that is available when the call comes in, then off duty firefighters and call firefighters have to be called in if there is a major structure fire. I listen to the fire channel on the scanner and many times all fire personnel have been busy with a call (usually medical) and another medical call comes in, usually they have to call a rescue from another town and hope they are available.

What I think should be done is keep the north end fire station the way it is for now since as mentioned above its too far from the center and south end of town and not many calls come from the north end (actually about 3/4 come from south near the rt. 6 area i'd say). What should be done is more firefighters should be hired to staff the headquarters station. At least 2 more per shift. That way, all of the vehicles are in the best spot to respond to all areas of the town. There should at least be two Rescues, an Engine and a Ladder.

Another thing is in the 2007 capital improvement plan, it mentions for the Fire Department funds planned in FY2012 for the purchase of a "Quint Apparatus" for $675,000. A quint apparatus is a fire truck with the combination of the Engine and Ladder trucks into one truck. What could be done is hire 2 more firefighters per shift, for a total of 8 per shift, and have the Quint staffed with 4 firefighters with 4 more firefighters available to take the other apparatus (2 other rescues and the regular Engine truck, which at that point would only be 5 years old.)

One more issue would be the age of some of the trucks. The Ladder truck is currently 24 years old. It will need to be replaced soon which is why the Quint truck would be a good idea since it would help the fire department work more efficiently with less personnel needed. Another thing is one of the Brush trucks. There are 2 brush trucks, both identical 4x4 pickups. One is at the County st. station and is mostly unused. The second one however at the headquarters is not only used at all brush fires but is used almost every day during the summer when the fire department takes it to the Speedway to use in case of a car fire at the track. The problem with that is believe it or not those trucks are 32 years old. My guess is that the main brush truck will probably need to be replaced soon due to the age that its at being used so much. I'm not sure of anything else that would need to be replaced (which costs money which would be a problem to hire more firefighters).

So thats the end of my rant and how they should focus more on hiring full time firefighters.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:24 am  seek2mend
geforce2187: "The problem right now isn't the response time so much as the lack of firefighters on duty."

Not according to those in the North North and I am sure there are those in the South South would also disagree with you.


geforce2187: "If there is a fire those 5 or 6 firefighters are all that is available when the call comes in, then off duty firefighters and call firefighters have to be called in if there is a major structure fire. I listen to the fire channel on the scanner and many times all fire personnel have been busy with a call (usually medical) and another medical call comes in, usually they have to call a rescue from another town and hope they are available."

Would you prefer regionalization to mutual aid?

About the only thing that I can agree with at this time is the Banna Station question should fail for the same reason you suggested. This facility is too far North. The capital equipment you mentioned is one of many reasons we should look for other ways to fill the manpower needs of the fire dept. Revenue is likely to continue to decline and we have yet to be able to come together to fully fund the Municipal Capital Stabilization. This fund is where the money is suppose to be accrue for items such as the Quint.

So tell us. With no override, how would you suggest we move money to the fire department to do as you suggest? And if we do so, with or without an override, do you really think at budget time the money received by the FD would remain and grow with the fire dept? With all do respect, I do not think your suggestion is wise OR sustainable.


Last edited by seek2mend on Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:29 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : geforce quote not highlighted. Alot of work to post here;) Hope I get another star soon:))
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:31 am  tombenoit
Very detailed explanation. It sounds like you are close to what is happening in the FD. It may take some effort to fully undertsand the situation around equipement (other than the age) and how it may be better utilized. For example: the two brush trucks where one is mostly unused and the other appears to be highly used. While people digest the information you provided - can you provide some insight into how the call firefighter system was utilized prior to new facility and how it is being used now?
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:15 am  Dave
Have a few things to post at some point but heading out for a search for someplace sunny out there...somewhere...maybe Maine???

Seek- The easiest way to set quotes up (for me) is I copy the entire posters message into my reply...then whatever section you want quoted you just highlight it and click the quote button on the toolbar.

d
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:11 pm  mkreyssig
I sent an email to the TA asking for more info. I also suggested that maybe the BOS hold a brief QA before the vote so we can all get on the same page regarding the "facts".
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:03 pm  SeekonkResident
There are many issues and concerns related to this topic.

Tom asked about the Call Force being involved and that is something that has not really been talked about. For the last several years the current administration has tried to move away from a combination system to an all career operation. If you have been watching the Selectmens Meetings they have repeatedly asked the current department head for a plan of action but nothing was ever submitted. If it was it should or would have been discussed in open session. In speaking with some of the current call firefighters they are very upset about how the current administration is treating them and its reaction to these issues. Somehow the call force became unreliable when this current person came on board and they could not do what they had been for over 50 years. There has always been a divide between career and call but Seekonk has always been able to rise above that. Not anymore it seems. There is a bias against the call force from the current department head that in my discussions is very obvious to the members and it has only gotten worse.

The town cannot sustain an all career force. The cost of such a thing is not sustainable and the department is not busy enough for such a thing. Some BOS members have sugested a more comprehensive and creative management model to get more fulltime people during the day (w/o adding new positions) and more call group involvement at night and on weekends when those people are available. This has met with resistance from within the agency. Personal biass' are preventing a more creative and better operation. It is up to the Board of Selectmen to stop it. Hopefully they see it also and will act on it.

As far as the Pine St Station goes if it is the only option for updating the facility then so be it. But using the same plan for a new South Station may not be advisable. Again through a little q and a I was told that the current County St Station has 6 drive thru bays, all with vehicles parked in them. The new plans as presented only have 2 single bays, 1 for an engine and 1 for a rescue/ems truck. Not large enough. If it is used for the second building then there would be equipment without a place to go. Secondly, how will it be staffed? Some more creative management would be needed here. If the current leadership is unable to adapt to a town style instead of a city style then a change is needed.

As a taxpayer I cannot vote for an override or dept exclusion when I am having a hard time paying my own bills. Make a mixed system work for a great response system that is capable of doing the job and loose the personal biass' that exist and are blocking such a thing.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:27 pm  mkreyssig
Nice post Seekonkresident.

I have yet to receive a reply from the email I sent to the TA so I guess any more "official info" is not going to be forthcoming.

It really ticks me off that this warrant was voted on at a TM that everyone was confused about so there was little to no public debate, and no mention that an ovverride would most likely be needed to staff it.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:10 am  seek2mend
CALLING ALL MOBSTERS!!

Just kidding. I thought it important to remind people that in a little more than two weeks (8/31) we will be voting on the Banna station proposal. If you want your opinions known, now is the time to start writing to the local papers. The Star only comes out once a week, so time is of the essence.

Non-supporters should be preparing to compassionately counter letters that will likely pull at the heartstrings. I think this site and even the unmoderated has compiled an inventory of opinions posted by us naysayers. I think it is suffice to say that the Banna station will be a bandaid approach. The real problem with the Fire dept is apparently the lack of efficient management of existing resources, including manpower, call firefighters and the available facilities.

IMO, what tipped the scales in favor of the CPA was the lack of public opposition. Let's not make that mistake again.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:44 am  Dave
I will put out a blast mail to all members at the two week mark reminding them of the special meeting and encouraging residents to weigh in.


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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:34 am  seek2mend
Actually, I believe Tuesday August 31 is a special election on the ballot question for Banna. At least according to today's Sun Chroncle. As far as I know, there is no meeting.

Being the day before school starts, and with polling only at the High School I imagine many people will be unaware of this override vote or not make the effort. Such ignorance and apathy usually favors the petitioners.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:22 pm  mkreyssig
The TA just responded to my email. He said that the Fire Chief and Gary Sagar will be meeting with the press next week. He also said the Chief will be making a presentation to the BOS at next weeks meeting regarding staffing. So that might be a good meeting to go to so we can get some more info, and hopefully ask a few questions.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:11 pm  newresident
"It really ticks me off that this warrant was voted on at a TM that everyone was confused about so there was little to no public debate"

do you think they did that on purpose? to help it go through?
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:23 pm  mkreyssig
newresident wrote:
"It really ticks me off that this warrant was voted on at a TM that everyone was confused about so there was little to no public debate"

do you think they did that on purpose? to help it go through?

Maybe they did, or maybe it was just a new BOS still getting their feet wet. But it does not make any sense why they would put that on the warrant for a special TM that happened at 6:30 when most of the town though that the Meetings were starting at 7:00 like they normally do. Frankly I think it would have passed either meeting, but I think it would have been vetted a little better with more residents in attendance.
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Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:29 pm  Dave
Article out on the Sun...

Quote :
Voters to decide funding for Banna fire station on Aug. 31
SEEKONK - Voters will decide whether to approve funding for the renovation of the Banna fire station on Pine Street at a special Aug. 31 election.

Residents at that time will be asked to approve a temporary override of the state's tax-limiting law, Proposition 2 1/2, in order to pay for bonding for the project.

A total of $750,000 was appropriated for the project at May's town meeting.

The ballot question reads: "Shall the town of Seekonk be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition 2 1/2 the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to pay the costs of designing, renovating, and furnishing the Banna fire station?"

Fire Chief Alan Jack has proposed expanding the building's first floor and adding a second floor, which would be used as sleeping quarters for firefighters. There also will be a small office which would be utilized by the police department and a community meeting room.

Jack also wants to lower the floor in the garage and remove the ceiling and the roof in order to create more space for apparatus.

The building was constructed in 1935 and was named for Richard C. Banna, a firefighter killed in the line of duty in 1977.

Joseph S. Siegel covers Seekonk for The Sun Chronicle. He can be reached at joesiegel@cox.net.
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Voting on the Banna Fire Station...
Post on Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:36 pm  Dave
I've moved this thread into it's own forum for discussion through the vote on August 31st.

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Banna Station
Post on Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:40 pm  wlrice
everything about the Banna station requires an "over-ride" some argue that the override is a "no cost" because of retiring debt obligations. but, money is money. and it will cost every property tax payer money. staff or no staff. read my lips: there is no more money. everything will cost more....this town has robbed itself dry. we are running out of land to exploit for commercial and residential development to raise tax money. the state is bled dry. where else but the hapless taxpayer to raise money. when you are in a hole, first, stop digging.
Re: The Banna Fire Station Saga
Post on Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:14 pm  tombenoit
wlrice wrote:
everything about the Banna station requires an "over-ride" some argue that the override is a "no cost" because of retiring debt obligations. but, money is money. and it will cost every property tax payer money. staff or no staff. read my lips: there is no more money. everything will cost more....this town has robbed itself dry. we are running out of land to exploit for commercial and residential development to raise tax money. the state is bled dry. where else but the hapless taxpayer to raise money. when you are in a hole, first, stop digging.

I agree. Maybe I have missed something - but - what debt retirement are they talking about? The fact is that North School is paid off - but - during the last few years - we have actually received more reimbursement than the payments. I am anxiously waiting for the selectman's report on how they propose to address all capital building issues with 3 million.
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