UVM rescue squad gets new facility

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Having up-to-date equipment is vital for emergency responders not only when they're on the roads, but also while waiting for calls. Now, the University of Vermont's rescue staff finally has an updated facility.

What looks like a cramped, run-down college dorm room is what the UVM Rescue Squad used to call home up to 60 hours a week.

"We used to just eat on stools, sit on the couch or eat on stools," said squad member Kiley Baillargeon.

Reporter Taylor Young: So this is where you guys slept?
Kiley Baillargeon: Yup, just four people. And then if there was anyone else on, they would sleep on the couches out there.

After more than 40 years in close quarters, the student-volunteers now have a new roof over their head.

"Before it was just overall smaller quarters, smaller space to live in and train in. Everything is just new and improved," Baillargeon said.

The rescue squad responded to over 1,800 calls last year alone. But when they aren't on the road, the $1.4 million facility is where 27 emergency responders can catch up on college life.

"We can do our homework here. We can cook. We can have family dinners a lot of nights. It's nice to have the space now to do that," said squad member Aaron Greenspun.

Staff members say the new two-stall garage is one of the biggest upgrades. It allows all emergency vehicles to be parked inside during colder months, cutting down on valuable response time.

"It's very nice not to have to be constantly taking things on and off the truck when it has to go and sit out in the cold because all of our drugs are temperature sensitive," Greenspun said.

"This is just way more functional for us," Baillargeon said.

Some of the other upgrades include bigger bathrooms, more bunks to sleep in and an exercise room.