Chief David Zinther from the Sturbridge Fire Department was a guest at our meeting. Moving to Sturbridge from the Chicago area has been an adjustment on many fronts but one he is really enjoying. The Chief is working to bring the department up-to-date as reflected in the codes his department must meet. The department is facing a shortage of manpower, as well as aging vehicles and equipment – the latter of which is very costly. He will be seeking assistance from the many local civic clubs and fraternal organizations to help fund the purchase of a mechanized cot/stretcher system for the ambulance which costs $40K. The cot system helps lift patients and the system locks securely into the floor of the ambulance. This new system is much safer for the patient, and because some patients are heavier today, the system helps guard against injuries to the paramedic staff. He is also seeking two qualified firefighters which is difficult due to the requirements of being both a firefighter and a paramedic and too often people want to be one or the other, but not both. He also spent time discussing the issues with fire hydrants, public and privately owned. All the issues Chief Zinther is facing affects our grading system used to determine which towns have the best rating for their departments. The rating system can ultimately impact a buyers desire to move to Sturbridge. A very enlightening presentation. Chief Zinther is a welcome addition to Sturbridge.