GFD needs new system, new building - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GFD needs new system, new building

by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam Fire Department may be on its way down the road to recovery, but during a public hearing today it's still got a few speed bumps ahead. GFD finds itself in a catch-22, because even if they're able to buy a new e-911 system, it would still have to find a place to put it. Their current location in Agana Heights, evidently, is not suitable for what they currently have and what they might buy in the future.

Acting fire chief Joey San Nicolas said, "But my hope is we'll actually get to a point where we actually select a vendor and select a concept and design and then we can quickly go with getting a building built for it. Or selecting a building that will fit it." Senator Ben Pangelinan said, "It will still take you if you built a building one year why would you want to price yourself a year out." San Nicolas replied, "Well senator. we really don't have a building for it now. "I thought that's why we redesigned the Tactical Command Center at," said the senator.

"Again," said San Nicolas, "based on the information we received its inadequate to have a 911 system that is needed for this island...this region that's what I'm faced with."

A public hearing was held this morning authorizing the governor to secure a $2 million loan to purchase a new e-911 system. But senators like Pangelinan were concerned then why did GFD move to Civil Defense in the first place, and why buy a new e-911 system now when there's no where to put it? According to San Nicolas, once a new system is purchased the Agana Heights location would be used as backup.

Additionally, former homeland security advisor Senator Frank Blas, Jr. clarified that e-911's current location in Agana Heights was not designed for it to be its main hub. He said, "You're right - it was designed to be a redundant facility in case of emergencies you had a secondary place to go unfortunately it became the primary facility."

We should note it cost GFD almost a half-million from the e-911 surcharge monies to move GFD's e-911 system from its previous location to Agana Heights, that was on top of a $1.2 million federal grant the government received for the relocation. Combined the move would cost just almost the amount to purchase a new system. We should also add GFD's space for its e-911 system in Tiyan is the same amount of space at Civil Defense.

Meanwhile Bill 280, which would use $500,000 from the e-911 Revolving Fund to buy new ambulances, went up for a hearing. Acting Chief San Nicolas testified that it may not be necessary at this time since federal money is already being used to purchase new ones. He also clarified that GFD wouldn't be getting four as previously thought but instead only three because the medics cost more than what they had initially estimated.

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