Northern Tier comes together to purchase equipment for county

CHAMPLAIN The Clinton County Office of Emergency Services has a new piece of lifesaving equipment thanks to the collaboration between organizations in the Northern Tier. The Champlain-Rouses Point chapter of Rotary International, in conjunction with the Champlain and Altona volunteer fire departments, recently raised more than $6,500 to purchase a new fire prevention and investigation trailer for the county. Rotary chapter president Ed LaCombe said the organizations had intended to raise $5,000 to cover the cost of the trailer, but due to the support of the community, the group was able to raise additional funding to permit a larger trailer to be purchased with some fire investigation equipment. The donation, said LaCombe, was another example of the club exercising the motto of Rotary International, which is Service Above Self. Our club is dedicated to that motto and even though were a rather small club in a small community, we do everything we can to do our part to serve the community, said LaCombe. Its amazing what a small group of people can do when they work together toward a specific goal. The local Rotary Club held a dinner and comedy show fundraiser earlier this year at the Rainbow Wedding and Banquet Hall in Altona after speaking with Champlain Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chris Trombley, who requested the clubs help in purchasing the trailer for the county. The dinner raised all the necessary funding, said LaCombe, which was more than good news to Trombley. It feels good to have a collaboration among everybody and when projects like this get the support of the community and not just the people of the fire and emergency services world, said Trombley. It was a long-time coming, but the benefit it will have is definitely worth it. According to Eric Day, director of the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services, the trailer will be centrally-located at the offices headquarters on Emergency Services Drive in Plattsburgh and will be utilized by departments countywide. The trailer will house fire investigation tools and resources used in educating citizens on the dangers of fire behavior. This is a great thing for the county and for the fire investigators, who will be its primary users, said Day. We have about five fire investigators who work as volunteers in the county and go out probably 40 times a year to various types of fires where the fire chief is looking for assistance in determining the cause and origin of a fire ... A number of [the calls] can take a fair amount of time to investigate and it seems like its most in the winter or pouring rain or when the elements are at their worst. This will give them a good base of operations to take note and work from, he added. The trailer is in the process of being equipped with additional tools that are used in the fire investigation process, said Trombley. Currently, the trailer houses hand tools such as shovels, picks and axes, but will eventually contain canisters for evidence collection and potentially a seating area to conduct on-scene interviews. Wed like to make room for an area where victims can sit when theyre being interviewed. The winter months are upon us now and wed like to have an area to keep people out of the cold when we need to talk to them, said Trombley. [The trailer] will also be a good central location to house examples of faulty electrical outlets, for example, to educate people what to look for to prevent fires. This essentially gives the fire investigation units a formal home.

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