Melrose Fire Department Chief Tim Kunes has been looking into purchasing a generator for the village and fire hall in Melrose ever since he was given the go ahead by both the village board and fire department in October.
With the purchase of a generator for the building, Kunes is hoping the building would be better-suited to handle emergency situations when the power goes out.
“The thought is, like a lot of fire stations, if the power goes out for even a short time, but especially if it is for a longer period, we are going to have a hard time even opening the garage doors,” Kunes said.
Kunes is checking into costs and several different options this winter and is expected to share his findings with both the village board and fire department in the coming months.
“It is a pretty big process to put all of the numbers together and find who can install them, how much it would cost, where it would sit and what it is run off of,” Melrose Trustee Brant Young said.
Currently the village has a small generator to run some functions of the building, while the fire department has its own small generator, but Kunes is concerned about some more catastrophic emergencies.
“We have a small generator and a way to hook that up quickly, but that is limited time, limited use. We have to stage how we use electricity,” Kunes said adding that they would have to shut things off to make it work and it wouldn’t be appropriate for longer periods of time.
Several buildings have been offered as alternative emergency shelters that have generators, but Kunes doesn’t think any of those options are easily accessible since they would require them to find keys.
“We are taught that when you evacuate a person, you have to evacuate them from a place to a place,” Kunes said. “I wanted the village so everybody can know on short notice that if things went wrong, if they lost power or were displaced, they could come there.”
Other ideas on the project have also surfaced.
“There is another idea out floating around that would just have the fire department buying their own smaller generator, which some would say is the best option,” Kunes said adding that the generator would then be stored on a trailer.
On top of the questions about what plan is going to be enacted, neither the village or fire department have committed to paying for the project.
“Once prices are found out, then who is paying for what will be determined at that point, but both the fire department and the village are working together on it now to find out what we can find out,” Young said. “It may not even come to fruition because it may end up being too much money for what we want to put into it.”
Young also said that both the village and fire department would be looking into grant opportunities to fund the project.