Dis­patch leav­ing

Tri-County Vanguard - - EX­TRAS ON­LINE -

The town had asked the de­part­ments to re­spond back by Sept. 24, but last month a 45-day ex­ten­sion was asked for, and granted, as de­part­ments strongly felt that mu­tual aid should be con­sid­ered if a new fund­ing for­mula for dis­patch ser­vices is go­ing to be con­sid­ered.

In its Au­gust let­ter to the fire chiefs, the town had noted that any depart­ment choos­ing an­other provider would be re­moved from the fund­ing equa­tion, which would im­pact the fund­ing rates for oth­ers that re­main.

“Ob­vi­ously there is a tip­ping point at which the Town of Yar­mouth might de­cide there is in­suf­fi­cient in­ter­est, and too high a cost, to con­tinue to of­fer the ser­vice,” that let­ter read.

The amount the town had been look­ing to bill the seven de­part­ments that have in­di­cated they will be leav­ing the Yar­mouth dis­patch cen­tre to­tals $40,198.

There was no dis­cus­sion about any ‘tip­ping point’ at last week’s com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing.

But while fire de­part­ments say they are leav­ing the Yar­mouth dis­patch cen­tre, it’s not an im­me­di­ate de­par­ture, Chief Ver­rall says, ex­plain­ing there are steps that have to be taken be­fore a depart­ment can leave its cur­rent dis­patch ser­vice.

He says if a fire depart­ment is switch­ing its dis­patch ser­vice, 911 – which is run by Emer­gency Mea­sures Or­ga­ni­za­tion – has to be in­formed and given time to take all of the nec­es­sary steps for the switchover be­fore it hap­pens.

“To just say, ‘To­mor­row we’re switch­ing over,’ you can’t do that be­cause you’ve got to have 911 all (lined up) in a row.”

This in­cludes, the chief says, 911 know­ing what num­bers to call for a spe­cific depart­ment, how to page each depart­ment, what the ar­eas of re­spon­si­bil­ity for a depart­ment are, hav­ing fire depart­ment num­bers and con­tacts in place, etc.

“And then they would have to set a date and time and there would have to be a con­tract signed,” he says.

OTHER WAYS TO COM­MU­NI­CATE

In ad­di­tion to 911 and dis­patch, the fire chief says TMR – trunk mo­bile ra­dio – al­lows de­part­ments to com­mu­ni­cate with each other, even if they are not served by the same dis­patch sys­tem.

“We can talk to pretty well any­one in the prov­ince that we need to,” he says.

“If I was in com­mand at any scene and I needed an­other fire depart­ment I would get on the ra­dio and say I need an­other depart­ment and who­ever is dis­patch­ing for me gets ahold of that depart­ment and sends them,” he says. “When the trucks roll out of that depart­ment, they just switch to the chan­nel we’re on and talk to us di­rectly.”

Chief Ver­rall says the no­ti­fi­ca­tions he had re­ceived from the de­part­ments who have in­di­cated they are leav­ing the Yar­mouth dis­patch ser­vice did not spec­ify the rea­sons why they are leav­ing. At the com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing, coun­cil­lors did not ask if rea­sons had been sup­plied.

Chief Ver­rall en­cour­ages peo­ple to visit the prov­ince’s EMO web­site for in­for­ma­tion on emer­gen­cies and pub­lic safety.

Mean­while, the town of Yar­mouth says it is still in con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions con­cern­ing lo­cal fire ser­vices. The town refers to ne­go­ti­a­tions as “slowed, but on­go­ing” say­ing the next ses­sion is sched­uled for Nov. 6.

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