On May 24, 2023

Glenn Burres named assistant chief

 

Glenn Burres, 58, was named Assistant Fire Chief, a 25 to 30-hour a week part-time position in the beginning of April.

Burres moved to Killington about 16 years ago after retiring as the deputy chief of a fire department in Newburgh, New York.

“I worked up from being a firefighter up to deputy chief and retired after 20 years,” he said. “My wife was living up here [in Killington] already — my daughter went to Killington Elementary — and it was time to come up here full time. I’ve been coming and working here for well over 20 years,” he said, adding. “I bartended up at Killington, most of those years, full time — seasonally at the K-1 Base Lodge, then at the golf course in the summer.”

He was a volunteer with Killington Fire and Rescue before being named Assistant Chief, a part-time job. 

“I applied for the chief’s job. But, unfortunately, there were some reciprocation issues between New York and Vermont. I mean, I have stacks and stacks of certifications but unfortunately some of them are not recognized in Vermont,” he explained. “Chris [LaHart] is federal, so he’s nationally certified … I really enjoy working for Chris, I think he’s a great person for this job. He takes it very personally, he doesn’t like people being unhappy.”

Burres is in charge of training volunteer firefighters. “Every Tuesday night from 6-9 p.m. we go and do what we’ve talked about in the classroom,” he said. “Then there’s times where I’ll have guys come in and say, ‘Hey, listen, I want to learn to drive a truck… or let’s go throw some water around. Or can you teach me how to use a saw?’ I say: ‘Let’s go!’ I try to make myself available as much as possible for whoever wants to learn… This is my main job.”

A lot of that training is done internally, but some certifications have to be taught by a certified trainer, which Burres schedules. “I get in touch with different purveyors that may want to come in and do training — the experts. I’m in touch with the state and in charge of keeping people’s training credits up to snuff so they are still certified on the fire-side; Mark is doing the first responder-side,” he said.

Trainings are always ongoing for all members of Killington Fire and Rescue, Burres explained.

“A couple of weeks ago, I trained on electric vehicles, charging stations, and electric bicycles, because we’re getting more and more of that. You don’t realize how many fires are caused by those and how dangerous those things are,” he said. Adding “it takes a normal car fire maybe 500 to 1,000 gallons of water put out depending on if it’s fully evolved. For an electrical vehicle fire, it’s at least 10,000 gallons and it has to be watched for 24 hours straight because they often rekindle… Essentially what electric vehicles are is thousands and thousands of battery [cells]. Well, if one disintegrates then they start catching fire side-by-side… almost like they’re bottle rockets and fireworks. And as soon as you think you’ve got it put out, 24 hours later it can restart.

“We have a lot of electric vehicles up here and a lot of charging stations up here,” he continued. “You know, they recommend at least being 500 feet away from any occupied building for charging stations? No one does that because there was no standard when they were being put in. 

“The thing about the fire service is it’s an ever-changing battleground,” he summarized.

“We’re also trying to do a lot more pre-planning. We are in the process of checking all our hydrants — dry hydrants and wet hydrants — to make sure they’re up to ISO standards, what we can use, what we can’t use, what’s filled with silt, what we have to maintain, that type of thing.”

Burres is also helping to document the certifications of the volunteer crew and inventorying the department’s equipment. 

“There’s a stringent testing process on all of our stuff. From hoses to ladders to air packs to you name it, it’s pretty much got to be tested, and after certain amount of time —10 years is usually the golden number — then it’s just got to be replaced. You just can’t use it anymore… So we’re in the process of changing gear over as a lot of our gear was out of service… We’re in the process of sizing, ordering, getting new gear— turnout gear, it’s called, it’s everything from boots to gloves to helmets to pants to coats, all that stuff.”

Burres’s passion for training expands to public education as well. He enthusiastically welcomes residents to stop by the Public Safety Building to ask questions or just to see the crews at work. He also is working to update the department’s Knox Box system. A Knox Box is a small, wall-mounted safe on private residences or businesses that holds building keys so that fire and rescue services can access the building in an emergency without having to break into the property. Killington Fire and Rescue holds a master key to all boxes in town.

To get a Knox Box, residents simply apply for one at the Public Safety Building.  “Then you buy the box and it’s keyed specifically for our key,” he explained. 

After mounting it to the side of your building, a member of the fire department usually will do a quick walkthrough to know where the box is located and what keys are needed, Burres explained. “You never know where a fire can get started, so we try to get every key possible.” 

While the Knox Box program in Killington has been in place for decades, “many folks don’t know about it, or keys get changed or building occupants change,” he explained.

Burres also said he hopes more people will consider volunteering. “The message I want to get out, is if you want to volunteer we’ll find a place for you to serve,” he said. “We may not make you an interior structural firefighter right away, but if that’s your goal we will make sure you get the state certification that you need. You can go take Fire 1 and even Fire 2, like Mark just went through.. And all those certifications would be paid for by this department so you don’t have to have any cost, you’re just volunteering your time. Once you complete it, you get reimbursed.”

But as a first step, he hopes more folks will stop in and engage at the Public Safety Building.

“Anyone is welcome anytime they see us there,” he said, adding, “the best time is Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. when we’re reliably outside and training. You can see the trucks opened up and there’s always someone available.”

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