Friday, April 28, 2006
Town Meeting Fire Department requests new truck and fire cisterns
Article 13 and Ballot Question 4 - Fire Truck
This Debt Exclusion, not to exceed $500,000, for a Fire Truck for the Fire Department is contingent upon passage of Ballot Question 4. The new fire truck is part of the department's long range plan and will replace the current Engine #4, which was purchased in 1981. Old Engine #4 is beginning to rust and lacks many of the safety features found in the new model, such as enclosed riding quarters as opposed to forcing the fire fighters to ride outside in sometimes freezing weather.
The new fire truck will contain medical equipment necessary to respond to all car accidents and will be able to support 4,000 feet of large diameter hose.
Article 14 and Ballot Question 5 - Fire Department Cisterns
This Debt Exclusion, not to exceed $200,000, for fire cisterns for Oak Knoll and the Town Center for the Fire Department is contingent upon passage of Ballot Question 5.
Carlisle has no fire hydrants, because Carlisle has no municipal water. Those "red things" are actually drafting pipes, which lead to underground cisterns. Twenty five years ago the town began requiring new subdivisions to provide underground water cisterns for fire safety. The first cisterns were 5,000 gallons, and gradually the town has requested larger cisterns, with the norm currently 20,000 gallons. Each cistern has a pump to keep it filled, and they are less vulnerable to drought than the fire ponds. The town has about 27 now, all built at no cost to the taxpayer.
Each cistern has a fill pipe to fill the tank with water, a draw pipe to allow water to be withdrawn, and a vent pipe to replace air when water is removed. There is a well next to the cistern for long-term water replenishment, but at 5-10 gallons per minute, this can take days. During a fire, tanker trucks quickly fill the cistern and then shuttle back to reload while the firemen draw down water at rates approaching 500 gallons per minute.
Cistern inspection requires that a new cistern be filled and then left to sit for two weeks to test for leakage. A warning light signals if the water drops to a dangerously low level. The tank is then pumped down to test whether all water can be withdrawn, and then the water is returned for final long-term storage.
Carlisle is currently rated a "Class 9" town by insurance companies, meaning "unprotected", but an increase of the number of cisterns would help move the town to a "Class 8D", or "limited water supply." If a home is near a cistern, an average policy might be reduced by several hundred dollars annually.
© 2006 The