Letter: Berkshire Fire Department anticipating challenging year

Dear Editor,

The new year looks to be a challenging one for the Berkshire Fire District. Last September the state passed a law (27-C) mandating PPE for all essential employees. This mandate requires that the employer have a plan for a pandemic event. We are trying to find out how this will affect the District operations. If the District has to comply, the District budget could double and more space will be required.

The District is facing many challenges going forward. We have formed a Long-Range Planning Committee to address our current and future needs. The Commissioners see a need to envision what the District will need to provide Fire and EMS protection in the future.  

We recently had BEFO training that had to be moved to another Fire District, as our trucks and equipment were unacceptable for training. Our Turnout gear is either out of date or close to it. 

The required training for emergency services is becoming more intense as time goes on. We need to figure out a way to encourage firefighters that will be able to meet these requirements. 

The Long-Range Planning Committee is made up of two commissioners, two firemen, two representatives from the Town government, and two members of the public at large. We need one or two more members from the community to complete the group. Contact myself at 657-8220, or email jimsim3@juno.com

The Long-Range Planning Committee could really use some input from the residents of the Berkshire District. They need input on how the community views the current Fire protection and Ambulance service. They also would like your thoughts on what you expect the fire service to provide in terms of fire protection. What do you expect when you call the ambulance?

The Commissioners are working on updating and adding District policies. We are still negotiating with the Berkshire Community Association for a new lease, as the previous one is not compliant with New York State law. District meetings are the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the station. COVID rules apply.


Jim Simmons 


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