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Fire coverage unaffected by call firefighter resignations

Date: 1/17/2011

Jan. 17, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW — Despite the resignation of two call firefighters, Fire Chief Richard Brady said the department is still very well staffed.

Brady explained that the department still has a total of 35 firefighters after two tendered their resignation because they moved out of the area.

"We can have as many as 40, which is a combination of career firefighters and call firefighters," Brady said. "It's not a bad position to be in."

The fire department is still operating at a higher capacity than it was when he became chief.

"When I became chief, we had 30 or 31 firefighters," he said. "So we're making strides,"

Brady said he is still deciding what he is going to do in light of the two new vacancies, in addition to another resignation in October. But he said the departure of the firefighters will not have a major effect on the department.

"It's not an unusual occurrence with a call fire department," Brady said, adding that most call firefighters remain with the department for eight to 10 years, on average.

Brady also stressed that a way to help firefighters in their efforts is to make sure all fire hydrants are cleared, especially in the wake of the recent storm.

"Responsibility for clearing the snow should not be only on the resident where the hydrant is located," Brady said. "All residents of the street or neighborhood should realize that if there is a fire and the fire department cannot find the hydrant because it is buried in snow, there will be a major delay in fighting the fire."

Brady added that gas meters should also be cleared.

"In case there is a problem with the system, the gas may need to be shut off. The fire department or Gas Company needs to get to the meter," he said.

Residents can also help fire fighters by taking precautions to keep themselves safe from carbon monoxide.

According to Brady, "If your home has an air intake pipe and an exhaust pipe from your furnace that exits through the wall of your house you should make sure that the pipes are not covered by snow. If this occurs, exhaust will back up into the house and fill the house with dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide."

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