Fire dispatch heating up
Town of Yarmouth considering doing away with dispatcher positions
A proposal by the Town of Yarmouth to replace four fire dispatcher positions with a less expensive dispatch service provider from outside the region isn’t sitting well with everyone.
The town is in negotiations with the International Association of Firefighters. One item it has put on the table is the replacement of Yarmouth Fire Department dispatchers with a less expensive provider.
Mayor Pam Mood, speaking on the town and council’s behalf, has said the town will be obtaining formal price quotations from dispatch services over the next few weeks to explore the feasibility of this. The town says the level of service would not be impacted should the service change.
“It is tremendously important to the town that the level of service will remain the same,” the mayor said.
The Yarmouth base handles dispatching for two dozen departments from Weymouth around to Shelburne. The town says the current funding model for the service is disproportionate with the town covering the bulk of the cost.
Eliminating the four dispatch positions is being considered for a variety of reasons, the town says. Research conducted by staff shows there are service providers that can provide the same dispatching services at a fraction of the cost. The annual cost for dispatch is $260,000, says the town. This cost covers salaries, benefits and overtime.
The town says it receives $100 per month from each of the departments it provides dispatcher services to, but that only brings in around $28,800. The Municipality of Yarmouth covers 30 per cent of the remaining cost for fire services, with 70 per cent covered by the Town of Yarmouth. The town calls the current funding model “broken.”
On social media the public, including past and present firefighters, have been expressing concern over having people from outside the area dispatching fire services saying the geographical knowledge is not the same.
The town says this alternate type of dispatch arrangement is not uncommon. See DISPATCHER, A2