Turner approves money for revamped Rescue Department

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TURNER — Residents on Tuesday night voted 57-8 to raise $161,588 to fund the Rescue Department until June 2015, the end of the fiscal year.

Moderator Ike Goodwin first asked for a vote to allow Town Manager Kurt Schaub and rescue Chief Toby Martin, who are not Turner residents, to speak.

Schaub said selectmen had worked on a plan for the department after longtime Chief Laurel Gagne resigned June 30. They interviewed other rescue providers and chose to hire Toby Martin as chief, Schaub said. The goal was to improve service, meet the needs of the community and have paramedics available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

Resident Susan Conklin asked why the town wasn’t able to keep the rescue personnel it had.

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“We had to bring up our quality of service or lose our license,” Board of Selectmen Chairman Kurt Youland said. “Rules and regulations have changed. We now have faster and better-qualified people.”

Selectman Angelo Terreri said there are paramedics available at all times.

Martin said there are about a dozen people on call and three paramedics live in town. He said the department plans to train the drivers to be providers to give more service.

Selectman Dennis Richardson said the town will be getting a higher level of service.

Youland also pointed out that some of the money will be used to remove mold in the rescue station and add windows, a bathroom and sleeping quarters for paramedics on duty.

He said the ambulances have all been checked and fully equipped.

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