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Fire Department to Buy $54K Rescue Boat

Boat's water level access door would make rescues far easier.

Selectmen have authorized the town to use roughly $54,000 in public safety impact fees to purchase a rescue boat for the fire department.

The 19-foot, commercial-grade Boston Whaler boat would increase the public safety coverage in town, allowing impact fees to be used, Salem Fire Chief Kevin Breen said at Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting.

Breen said the boat includes a door that could be lifted out to open the boat to water level, allowing rescuers to more easily pull someone to safety.

In the June drowning death of a Windham man in Shadow Lake, Breen said rescuers were unable to lift the victim into the boat to begin life-saving efforts before reaching the shore.

"That was a big concern of ours," he said of the easy-access door. "This boat has the ability to, right at the water line, remove a door so you can effect a rescue or recovery and not worry about having sufficient personnel to actually lift someone up and over."

Forty-percent of the water rescues in Salem are conducted at Arlington Pond, Breen said, and the boat would likely be stored there.

Selectmen voted unanimously to allow the town to expend impact fees for the purchase of the boat. Selectman Michael Lyons voted by telephone.

David McMenemy December 19, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I'm a Salem resident and I was told a few years a go by a certain store owner on Arlington Pond (the one with the only boat ramp on the lake) that since I wasn't a property owner on the pond that I couldn't use the pond. I told him that i was a resident in Salem and that the lake wasn't private and I was then corrected by him and told to leave the boat ramp. That being said I don't like the idea of my tax dollars being used for something that will only benefit a small group of Salem residents.
Survivor. December 19, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Anybody can P in Arlington. Well, during the summer that is.
Riley Reid December 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
@David: He's right, there is no public access to the pond, and if you go over to Canobie Lake the only boat ramp there is in Windham and they will ticket your car if you don't have a Windham sticker. A few years ago the pond association bought the fire department a ATV for the area, I don't know why they don't pick up the tab for this. Or how about the State's marine patrol just leaving a boat in town for our use ? I don't know much about boats, but 54 K sounds like a lot for a 19ft boat, especially when the fire department has been whining about needing a new rescue and later truck.
Riley Reid December 19, 2012 at 11:31 PM
I was curious as to why some of this public safety equipment costs so much and was looking on line at different things and I came across a piece of fire equipment that I wondered why the Salem Fire doesn't consider one. The fire truck is called a "Quint", it is a combination ladder truck and pumper truck. Why should we just buy a ladder truck when buying one of these is like getting 2 trucks. Just my uneducated opinion
SalemResident December 20, 2012 at 02:36 AM
You all complain about this but you rag on the guy that would have spoken out against it ... make up your minds ...
Minnesnowtan January 02, 2013 at 06:51 PM
45K is inexpensive, especially when the company that builds this boat makes fishing boats that can cost 75k at their sister company's plant. For being industrial/commercial grade verses average joe, that's a deal. Usually it's the other way around. After all you would you rather use a clothesline you bought for $2 at Walmart or a $100 rope designed for mountain climbing to save you from a fall if you were stuck in the Rockies? This is why safety equipment costs more, it's designed for that purpose, and for the abuse it can take.

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