LIVERMORE FALLS — The new fire chief proposed sweeping changes in the way things are done in the Fire Department to selectmen on Tuesday.

Fire Chief Gerry Pineau of Manchester told selectmen he would like to sell three trucks and use the proceeds to buy a mutli-purpose vehicle. He also wants to replace a 1946 forestry truck. All of the vehicles are antiquated and not cost efficient, he said.

He also plans to change the process of becoming an officer by hiring them instead of the officers being elected by the Fire Department members.

People will also have to apply and be hired to become a firefighter and then undergo required training and serve a period of probation just like any other employee of the town, Pineau said.

He has been on the job for about three weeks and has assessed trucks and equipment the town has for fire protection and public safety.

He has talked to a variety of sources, internally and externally, before formulating his plans to update the department and fleet of vehicles, he said.

The town has a “very competent, very skilled Fire Department,” Pineau said.

He plans to build an officer structure to ensure that if one leaves, the others will be able to carry on.

Some of Pineau’s top priorities are recruitment, retention and the safety of firefighters to provide fire protection and rescue services.

All firefighters will have to play a part in the process, he said.

Pineau has gathered information on duties at the fire station and emergency scenes and will develop job descriptions for each position.

The hiring process for officers will start within the next few months, he said. Anyone who wants to be an officer may apply, except probationary firefighters. Current officers will need to apply.

“We have adopted the town of Livermore Falls personnel handbook,” he said. The book covers policies for sexual harassment, discrimination, among others.

A mailbox system has been bought to give each firefighter a box to keep communication open and the 30 firefighters up-to-date on department news.

Pineau has hired five new firefighters.

Two are former firefighters that returned, two are experienced firefighters and one person is just out of the military, he said.

He also informed the board that Capt. Mark Chretien, former fire chief and assistant chief, has resigned.

Pineau said he is looking at equipment streamlining.

The department has done a “magnificent job” of maintenance and upkeep of equipment to keep trucks on the road, he said.

“It’s impressive,” Pineau said.

He said he believes the department can provide the same level of service with less equipment and start planning for the future.

He proposes selling three vehicles: a 1982 Mack engine, a Bean 1972 engine, a 1987 squad truck. He plans to replace them with a mini-pumper at a maximum cost of $200,000 instead of spending taxpayers’ money on maintaining the older trucks. He would also like to replace the forestry truck, which has been taken out of service due to not having seat belts and an open cab with no roll bar system, he said.

If all four trucks are replaced, the town is looking at a cost of $908,000 for new and about $608,000 for used, he said.

He will check with other fire departments in the area to see if they would be interested in jointly purchasing a Mule, a utility all terrain vehicle, to use in the woods. He would also like to buy a used pickup truck to go into the woods in the future.

“These are all just ideas and plans,” Pineau said.

Department members are working on plans to achieve the goals. Plans are in the process of being developed to put the squad truck gear in the ladder truck, which will get more use out of the ladder truck.

Selectmen unofficially agreed with the direction the department is heading.

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