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Concern about high-end purchases by GFD

by Nick Delgado

Guam - Concerns are being raised about big purchases being made from within the Guam Fire Department, despite the agency continuously blaming the shortage of supplies and equipment on a lack of money. Four new 40" flatscreen television sets priced at $700 each, new laptops, and new computers are what has some in GFD are raising frustration over.

GFD Spokesperson Joey San Nicolas told KUAM News, "They are for the purpose of training status boards and so forth, part of one of our many plans to move forward with technology in our agency."  KUAM News has received the complaints from firefighters questioning how the department can obtain these new high tech items without first equipping the fire stations.

However, San Nicolas argues that the department has purchase orders and requisitions at the General Services Agency for new hoses, wrenches, and nozzles.  "The difference is these equipments [sic] cannot be found on island and cannot be easily bought from any store, they have to be purchased from off-island, which takes a little bit more time," he explained.

Despite the lack of emergency equipment and in the field facilities, San Nicolas says the new TVs will be divided among the 911 Center, the One-Stop Center, the headquarters Training Room as well as the headquarters Conference Room.  "There is a bigger picture and a lot of details involved but those have all been addressed, nothing's being forgotten and it's just something's take a little bit more time than others," he said.

San Nicolas says the new equipment was provided through the E-911 fund. However, Committee Oversight Chairman Senator Adolpho Palacios says he does not agree with the new purchases and feels that GFD does not know how to prioritize. He says the funds for the new TVs should have been used to get safety equipment for the fire stations. He will also be making an inquiry at the stations to find out the critical needs. 

San Nicolas adds that GFD currently has seven medics up and running and they plan to have two more running by the end of this week.

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