KILLINGTON — The Fire Department facilities review committee and Select Board support building a new fire department. In order for voters to understand the current need, Killington Fire and Rescue is hosting four open houses every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m throughout the month of October, and invites all residents to take a tour of the current facility located at 1973 Killington Road.
The committee noted in its April report to the Select Board that “the current fire station does not meet state building codes and has to be repaired or rebuilt. The committee believes that since it would cost over $2.5 million just to bring the building to code (without addressing any of the fire department’s needs) and the facility would still partially be on someone else’s land, it doesn’t make sense to invest in the current site.”
For more information, visit www.killingtontown.com/Selectboard/KVFDFacilitiesReviewCommittee
Q&A with Chief Gary Roth, Killington Fire and Rescue
How is the Fire Department structured? What are the different divisions and what are they responsible for?
Gary Roth: The department has three divisions: Fire, first response squad, and the search and rescue team. The fire division is responsible for responding to both residential and commercial calls in town, such as fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and car accidents. The first response squad responds to calls involving people in need of medical assistance – for example, falls, cardiac issues, and choking victims. The search and rescue team responds to calls that take place off-trail and in the backcountry. This includes lost skiers, climber, and hikers.
What are the key values of the Fire Department? What is the role of the Department in the community?
GR: Our mission statement focuses on helping others and improving safety in the homes, businesses and on the roads of Killington.
Why did you become a volunteer firefighter? What draws other people to the job?
GR: I joined the fire department originally because I thought there was a shortage of members. I soon learned that – just as in my professional life – the Fire Department allowed me to help others in need. Members join for many different reasons, but they all revolve around a sense of duty and the willingness to serve the community.
Despite being a volunteer, members of the Department are required to complete a high-level of training. What training is expected of members in your Department?
GR: The department expects by the end of the first year of service, members will begin a course of certification that relates to the division of the department they are interested in responding with, such as a Vermont State Fire Fighter or Emergency Medical Technician certification.
What are some of the challenges your Department faces in an area like Killington?
GR: The town of Killington is unique, and has many challenges that are associated with providing emergency services in a resort town. Winter roads, the large size of our service area, the rise in population around weekends and holidays place special demands on our members.
Firefighting has become much more than showing up in a red truck and throwing water on flames. How has firefighting changed over the years, and how does your department keep up with those changes?
GR: Over the years, firefighting has changed due to changes in building materials and manufacturing of automobile requirements for protective equipment and training is continuously increasing. Our firefighters, emergency medical personal and backcountry rescue teams spend much of the year training and taking courses to maintain certifications that improve our delivery of services to the community.