Chief Carrico updated the Select Board at its 8/2/2022 meeting on the Medfield Fire Department –
Chief Carrico’s quarterly update on Fire department operations
FY2022 Operational Update for the past 12 months:
- 1,363 incidents (586 ALS transports generated $438K; 207 BLS transports generated $105K)
- Received mutual aid 70 times; gave mutual aid 82 times
- Had 238 box alarms (used to handle second medicals, fires, larger events) which cannot be handled with on-duty members
- Averaged 6.2 members per box alarm including the 3 men on duty shift
- Average response rate of full-time firefighters is 2% on recalls
- Overall average response rate for the Call firefighters is 28%
- Five Call members had a 57% recall rate
- Five Call members had a 21% recall rate
- Five Call members had a 6% recall rate
- Trouble getting Call people engaged and getting them to return. People have other daytime jobs.
- Ambulance 2 dispatched 84 times (60 second medicals, 4 third medicals, 30 mutual aid ALS transports) equalingequalling $66,000 in lost revenue because we couldn’t support second ambulance calls.
- One full-time firefighter/medic left during his probationary period
- We have a firefighter who replaced him that graduated from the State Fire Academy on Friday.
- One outstanding AFG grant for portable radios
- Equipment grant – waiting for 7 sets of fire gear
- Capital purchases – have a capital item for radios (waiting for award of 2021 AFG grant recipients)
- AED’s on the capital list have been ordered
- Continue to maintain an active Call force
- Continue staffing a fourth member to provide a second ALS ambulance
- Staffing option is applying for the SAFER grant (Staffing for Adequate Fire Emergency Response)
- Provides funding for 4 full-time firefighter/medics at 3 years at no cost to the Town.
- It covers salaries and benefits; it does not cover equipment and overtime.
- In December/January, Chief Carrico will make request to the BOS to apply for this grant.
- Benefit to having another medic on each group:
- Adds a third medic to each shift
- Staffs a second ALS ambulance
- Keeps ALS in town
- Provide two trucks out the door without calling a mutual aid Town
- We meet compliance with two in and two out when in IDLH atmosphere (two firefighters outside to rescue the two firefighters inside if there is a problem)
Fire Alarm Monitoring Issue
- The Fire Dept is operating a central station monitoring point for 66 locations.
- Support for the software ends in January 2024
- New system cost is $70,000; we cannot find a vendor; not worth continuing
- Consider getting rid of the service. Tell citizens they will have to find their own monitoring especially if we ever go to a regional dispatch center.
Selectmen Peterson inquired about the intern program for young people interested in firefighting.
- Chief Carrico said one young person attended the first and second class and is now a very active Call firefighter who will be attending EMT training.
The Chief said he needs the second paramedic to run the second ALS service.
He discussed revenue generation with Selectmen. He said “it is never going to be self-sufficient, but the end result is providing a service to the community and taking care of our own which is where we want to be. When we get deep with medicals, we have to call our mutual aid partners.”
Selectmen Peterson asked for confirmation that the SAFER grant would add a fourth firefighter/paramedic.
- Chief Carrico said yes, this would get the department four men on every group.
Mr. Peterson asked for the breakdown between EMTs and paramedics in the department.
- The Chief said he has 8 paramedics and 4 EMTs.
Chief Carrico discussed the expiration of software for the central station monitoring point and how this effects citizens. He did look at a product by Norel which was not user friendly.
He discussed the regional system in which he would like the Town to engage.
Selectmen Peterson inquired about fiber optic cables the Fire Dept. laid around Town many years ago. Chief Carrico said the technology is outdated. The systems currently in use are radio boxes.
Mr. Murby asked Chief Carrico to clarify how the boxes work and how citizens using the direct home monitoring will need to hire their own monitoring company which then notifies the Fire Department.
- Chair Carrico said the fire alarm system is now connected to a radio box. The radio box sends a signal to the Fire Department receiver, and it ends up on a computer screen. Presently, the Fire Department charges each homeowner $180 annually to provide the service.
- Chief Carrico said citizens could see a 30-45 second delay in the call.
Mr. Murby asked for confirmation that when they first looked at ALS with the Study Committee, they were projecting revenues to be around $150,000. We are at almost three times that net revenue. We’re thinking about bringing in a fourth one now so we can run a second ALS ambulance.
So if I as a tax paying resident of the town call for an ambulance and an ALS unit responds its going to cost be around $750 with a little over $500 for a BLS unit. This will absolutely cause me to think twice about calling an ambulance as I don’t even know if charges like this are covered by insurance (I should find out).