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Bedford fire chief: new substation needed to accommodate growth
South River Road from Manchester to Merrimack represents 8 percent of the town’s land mass and contains about 20 percent of the town’s population.
The area generates 41 percent of the department’s annual call volume, of which 70 percent are for medical calls, he said. In 2010, there were 1,376 calls for service and increased to 1,706 calls in 2013. In addition, during the day the townwide population increases by 40,000 people because of office workers, medical centers, stores and restaurants.
According to the American Heart Association, a response to cardiac arrest within four to six minutes results in possible brain damage, in six to 10 minutes brain damage is probable, and a response of more than 10 minutes would cause brain death.
For 20 years, the town has continued to use two ambulances, and the fire substation, if approved, would provide an additional ambulance. The substation would also increase the town’s revenue by about $109,000 per year because of a decreased need for mutual aid services. Wiggin said 129 calls went to mutual aid last year, with each call costing about $850.
She said the $3.8 million bond is being presented to voters as the worst-case scenario.
Only one resident offered comment on the bond, asking if using volunteer call firefighters was considered.
Before approving the operating budget for the ballot, the Town Council amended the original amount of $26,191,098 to $26,020,675, including a reduction of $18,000 in revenue from the recently revoked Sunday business ordinance fee; transferring $14,434 to the Conservation Commission land reserve fund; reduction of $108,000 in debt service from the TIF District fund; withdrawal of $100,000 for traffic signals in the TIF District; and increasing the town manager line item by $23,143.
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