City Agrees to Donate to Purchase of
Emergency Response Vehicle

January 26, 2012
By Barbara Tetrault
The Berlin Daily Sun

BERLIN – The city council agreed to contribute $1,500 to a local snowmobile club's efforts to raise almost $40,000 for an emergency response vehicle to rescue injured snowmobile and ATV riders from remote trail locations.

In this first meeting since last week’s inaugural, the council Monday night also reviewed policies and made committee appointments.
Larry Gomes, assistant trail master for the White Mountains Ridge Runners Club,  discussed the club's request for $2,000.
Gomes explained that the club wants to purchase an emergency response vehicle as a regional resource to be used for injured riders and hikers. He said the proposed vehicle would be a utility terrain vehicle capable of negotiating rough terrain in any season. It would have a specialized medical transport skid attached to the cargo bed that could accommodate a patient and medical attendant as well as medical supplies.
Gomes said Fish and Game officials met with the club last spring and encouraged the organization to lead an effort to purchase an emergency rescue vehicle.

Last summer, Gomes said there were several remote rescues that could have used such equipment. He said there was one incident in Jericho Mountain State Park last summer that took hours to rescue the accident victim.  As more people use Jericho park and make Berlin a destination, Gomes said the need for an emergency response vehicle will grow. He said assuring visitors the region has the best emergency equipment and trained first responders as well as top notch trails will encourage them to come here.

Last October, Gomes said the club applied for a $20,000 grant from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Charitable Foundation for the vehicle. He said the club included letters of support from area fire departments, rescue squads, as well as the state Fish and Game and the Bureau of Trails. Despite that, the grant was not approved, in part because the club had received one the previous year for its warming hut at Jericho Mountain State Park.

Gomes said the club was encouraged by the Tillotson staff to apply again this April and advised to include donors willing to commit to the project. So far, he said the snowmobile club has committed to funding $2,000, the Androscoggin Valley ATV Club has pledged $1,000, and the town of Milan agreed to donate $500. Gomes said he has secured over $10,000 in in-kind donations of labor and supplier discounts and the club plans to raise over $6,000 by running fund-raisers and asking riders for donations.

The emergency response vehicle would be available for rescue throughout the region although Gomes said he thought it would be used mostly on this side of the county. It would be housed in a dedicated trailer that could be moved quickly to the closest access point.
He asked the city to commit to $2,000, contingent upon approval of the Tillotson grant.

Mayor Paul Grenier said he was willing to commit to $1,000 but wanted to see donations from other communities. Councilor Diana Nelson said towns or departments that couldn’t afford a donation could commit to doing a fund raiser.
Councilor Mike Rozek said he thought the city should pledge at least $1,500. He said the rescue vehicle is a safety issue and noted the city is promoting riding in the park.

Councilor Lucie Remillard said she would like to see all area communities share the cost. Councilor Roland Theberge said he has been a first responder and said he favored helping the club purchase the vehicle.  Rozek said he would like to see the city provide the entire $2,000, contingent upon the club getting the grant.  “You can’t put a price on human life,” he said. Remillard suggested the city commit to $1,500 now with the understanding the club could request an additional $500 if it falls short of the total it needs.

The council agreed with Remillard’s suggestion and decided to take the money out of the council’s contingency fund.

Picture of a similar emergency response vehicle which consists of a Utility Terrain Vehicle
that uses wheels in the summer and tracks in the winter to quickly reach accident victims. 
Once the victim has been loaded onto the vehicle, they can be treated while they
are being extracted from the remote site.

In its first meeting since the inauguration, the council took care of some housekeeping items. There are two new councilors, Peter Higbee and Denise Morgan Allain, on board as a result of the November election. The council agreed it would conduct meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order. The body also reviewed council’ policies.

The following committee appointments were decided:
Berlin Airport Authority - Mayor Grenier, Russell Otis, Dori Ducharme, Mike Rozek, and Diana Nelson.
Committee of Accounts and Claims - Mayor Grenier, Lucie Remillard, Denise Morgan Allain, Mike Rozek, and Roland Theberge.
Committee of Safety and Transportation - Lucie Remillard, Denise Morgan Allain, Mike Rozek, and Roland Theberge.
Committee of Elections - Russell Otis, Denise Morgan Allain, Peter Higbee, and Diana Nelson.
Committee on Emergency Action - Dori Ducharme
Planning board member - Lucie Remillard
Berlin Industrial Development and Park Authority - Diana Nelson.

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