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Quaker Hill residents shortchanged on safety

On Aug. 16, more than 50 residents of the Quaker Hill section of Waterford gathered outside the Quaker Hill firehouse, concerned about reduced fire and emergency protection for this remote, northernmost area of Waterford.

Although Waterford has 11 full-time paid firefighters, as of July 1 there have been no paid firefighters assigned to Quaker Hill Fire Company. Conversely, two paid firefighters each are assigned to three of Waterford’s fire stations nearer the center of town. Both Jordan fire station and Cohanzie fire station have two firefighters working 24/7, and the Oswegatchie station have two firefighters working 10-hour shifts on weekdays.

The galvanizing factor for this meeting was a recent shed fire 0.3 miles from the Quaker Hill station. Emergency fire services came from Cohanzie, the next closest station. Total response time was purportedly 14 minutes! The operational change means Emergency Medical Service also will dispatch from Cohanzie.

Residents of Quaker Hill are not receiving the same benefits of adequate fire and medical emergency protection as other sections of Waterford. Quaker Hill residents have voiced their concerns to First Selectman Rob Brule and demanded change. It appears he is being every bit as responsive as our de-staffed fire station.

Terry Weiss

Quaker Hill

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