Letter to the Editor: Start Planning for Fire Substation Now

Submitted by Donald Marshall

The recent note in the [Bedford Citizen’s] Digest about the [Select} Board reviewing costs for the proposed new fire station leads me to post the following comments.

Let me say at the onset that I am proud of our fire department and the wonderful, well-deserved, reputation that they have. My family has personally used their ambulance a couple of times and I have had two fire incidents that they responded to. I have also had two responses to a Lifeline signal. They are solid professionals – no debate.

Of particular interest to me are two major questions, besides location of any proposed substation.

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The first one is whether it will necessitate a new fleet of vehicles (ambulance, ladder truck, etc.) or whether existing equipment would be shared. Second is level of staffing.

First the town archivist, with some diligent research, came up with the link to the 2015 report that was referred to in the debate at Town Meeting on this issue. The report discusses the present station and the need for a new one. It paints a pretty sad picture of the condition of the present station. 

See the report at https://www.bedfordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1670/Bedford-Fire-Headquarters-Building-Space-Utilization-Assessment-Study-PDF?bidId=

The 185-page report devotes one paragraph to the possible need for a substation and dismisses the need for it at that time. Later, it does present a possible budget for a substation with eight employees of about $1.2 million per year and this is after the budget for constructing the substation and the equipment required, totaling $4.2 million, again 2015 prices.

I presume that the eight employees would be in addition to the 32 or more present employees and would not be drawn from their ranks.

 I think that most of us would agree that there is a substation in the future, the way the town is growing, and the impact will be significant. I still think that starting planning for it now, with full citizen involvement, instead of waiting for several years when a new main station is operational, is shortsighted.

The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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The opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are those of the writer, not The Bedford Citizen.

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Sandra Hackman
May 12, 2024 11:35 am

I’ve been hearing about a substation since moving to Bedford 24 years ago. Why now? The Town will be spending tens of millions on the new fire station, and has many other pressing needs, as outlined in the recent space needs study. Let’s fulfill those needs before pouring money into a substation.

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