Sutton – In the days of shrinking municipal budgets, when communities are forced to make tough financial decisions and prioritize pennies, spending thousands of dollars on a pile of lumber to sit in a box might not make the most fiscal sense.
It may not be priority No. 1, but for the Fire District 7 technical rescue team, a container of lumber that’s ready to go can be an invaluable rescue tool.
Fire District 7, which encompasses 25 communities in the Southern Worcester County – including Millbury and Sutton – last week was given a sizeable donation of lumber and storage containers from AGS Police chiefs from several towns and gathered at the company’s headquarters on Route 146 last Thursday to receive the donation on behalf of the technical rescue team.
The 25 communities that make up District 7 are organized to provide rapid deployment of resources involving fires, rescues, hazardous material mitigation, technical and water and ice rescue. The technical rescue team responds to everything from structural collapses to trench rescues, explained Auburn fire chief Steven M. Coleman Jr., chairman of Fire District 7.
“The donation will allow the technical rescue team to be outfitted with the necessary lumber and other types of wood needed in structural events and trench collapses,” he explained.
The lumber could be used in emergency situations to shore up the side walls of collapsed trenches or structures. Wood is used to construct bracing to firm up a collapsed building or trench and make it safe for team members to make a rescue.
It is a rescue situation that might be relatively rare, but could require thousands of dollars in material, which before, the district did not have readily on hand, said Coleman.
“The donation takes a huge burden off the team, as well individual communities that the team serves,” he said. “The materials, in some respect, would be outside the reach of this team not only in terms of cost, but in terms of the physical storage and transportation of these types of materials.”
AGS also agreed to both house the crated lumber and transport it to the scene of an emergency.
“If the district or the individual towns had to fund the cost of the lumber and transport it, it would equal thousands of dollars that we just don’t have,” said the District 7 chairman. “It is equipment that is vital to the success of a trench of building collapse, but when communities must priortize their spending, lumber waiting to be deployed is at the bottom of the list.”