Fri, Dec 6, 2013 10:38 AM
KILLINGTON - Issues between the Killington Volunteer Fire
Department and the independent organization now called Killington
Mountain Rescue appear to have been ironed out.
The two groups had been wrangling over who has the right to use the
name, "Killington Search and Rescue" (KSAR) and to what extent they
would be a joined force. What is now Killington Mountain Rescue had
been using the name, and at one point had offered to formally
become part of the Volunteer Fire Department. But after reviewing
the membership requirements to do so, many KMR crew withdrew their
support of that.
Monday, Nov. 25, the Killington Police organized a meeting at the
State Police Barraks in Rutland with a number of emergency service
agencies, including the Vermont State Police, Civil Air Patrol,
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, the Rutland City Fire
Department and state dispatch, among others, held a meeting to work
out their plans for the upcoming winter season. Fire Chief Gary
Roth said that KMR had also attended, and although they (KMR) would
be a separate entity, they would be working with the fire
department this winter on emergencies.
Former Killington Deputy Chief of Police Robert Giolito said the
intention of the meeting was to get the departments working
"The idea was to get everyone on the same page and let bygones be
bygones," Giolito said. "Unfortunately, as a result, I had to
resign as deputy chief... it created a conflict of interest."
Giolito said that Killington Mountain Rescue would be operating
under the aegis of the Civil Air Patrol.
"We had a good meeting and decided how to handle the calls," Roth
Steve Finer, former Killington fire chief and now corporate
president, said the groups had worked out a mutual aid system.
"Things expand and contract depending on the type of emergency," he
said. "Nobody was upset at the meeting."
"We offered all the services we have," Roth said. "If anybody needs
our people and equipment, we're there." The need for an area rescue
crew was never debated, but who and how such organization should be
formed, financed and lead has been a hot topic over the past
On background about the discussions to become a town entity,
Killington Town Manager Seth Webb explained "Killington Search and
Rescue initially came to the town requesting the Selectboard
consider incorporating KSAR as an official function of the Town,"
referring KMR head Robert Giolito's crew of backcountry experts.
"They requested to become a town entity. After looking at the
request, based on its requirements, need for equipment, and synergy
with the fire department, the board of selectmen recommended that
KSAR (KMR) look at the feasibility of incorporating with the Fire
That led to a series of discussions, which, Webb said, led to KMR
deciding to become its own organization.
For their part, according to Giolito in a previous interview, the
membership objected to having its name trademarked by the
Killington Volunteer Fire Department, and some of the requirements
needed to join the fire department. The fire department registered
the trade name "Killington Search & Rescue" with the state in
2012. The department, in a letter to Webb signed by Roth and Finer,
set forth its membership requirements:
"1. Complete a Killington Fire and Rescue form (same requirement as
Fire)," the letter read. "2. Successfully complete a 6-month
probationary period same requirement as Fire). 3. Throughout
probation period meet current KSAR guidelines and membership and
requirements (Adjusted for Backcountry team) 4. Attend 25 percent
of KSAR drills, 25 percent of KF&R drills, and 25 percent of
backcountry calls (Adjusted for members of Backcountry team) 5.
Members of Backcountry team may live a distance that is feasible
for response as decided h the KSAR team leaders (Adjusted from our
mutual aid area to better meet the needs of KSAR. After the 6-month
probationary period, candidates will be voted on and, once accepted
will become full voting members of Killington Fire and
According to the Vermont Secretary of State's office, the trade
name "Killington Mountain Rescue" was registered earlier this year,
on Sept. 13, and describes its function as "civic, search and
rescue." Giolito is listed as the registered agent.