Around-the-clock fire department coverage could become permanent in Goffstown

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Goffstown Fire Department Chief Brian Allard. Screenshot/Goffstown Fire Department

GOFFSTOWN, NH – Next week, the Goffstown Select Board could make permanent full 24/7 fire department coverage a reality after almost 40 years of attempts.

Since December, the Goffstown Fire Department has provided the full coverage in part to a successful bid for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as planned appropriations at the local level.

The town also expects to save money in reduced need for mutual assistance calls from nearby municipalities.

The town’s two primary fire stations housed a combined six full-time firefighters in 24-hour shifts during the trial period, replacing the combination of 12-hour shifts of six full-time firefighters and 12-hour shifts of two part-time firefighters and “on-call” full-time firefighters covering Goffstown.

Goffstown Fire Department Chief Brian Allard says that the amount of positive feedback from the community has been overwhelming, with monthly reductions in response time ranging from nine to 22 percent each month since the trial program started.

He notes that reduced response time can be crucial in reducing damage for victims whether it is a medical call like a cardiac event or a house fire.

An example came last weekend from a fire on Fairview Street where firefighters were on the scene in five minutes, greatly reducing the amount of damage suffered by the homeowners.

“A fire doubles in size every minute; the quicker we can get out, the quicker people can move back into their homes,” said Allard. “A difference of ten minutes can often be the difference between saving a house and losing a house.”

Allard also praised the Select Board for their support in helping set up the trial period as well as their help to help increase retention rates within the department.

If the select board approves 24/7 coverage, a modification of the collective bargaining agreement between the town and the Professional Firefighters of Goffstown would be required to ratify the change.

About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.