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

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