Fire Dept Updates

Adopt-A-Hydrant, Equipment grant, Brush Burning permit season, and what else the SFD has been up to lately.

I’m rounding up some of the work the Southborough Fire Department has been up to between headlines I’ve already covered this winter.

That includes promoting their Adopt-A-Hydrant program — something that, for the first time this winter, might require volunteers to step up today.

Adopt-A-Hydrant

Adopt-a-Hydrant flyerSome parts of Southborough might get up to 4″ of snow today. After roads are plowed, access to some hydrants could be covered in snow and ice — making it harder for firefighters to quickly find and operate them.

So, it’s a good time to help spread the word on the SFD’s program encouraging the community to help keep hydrants clear in winter by “adopting” one (or more). 

Safety Equipment Grant

SFD posted news of a close to $10K grant received for safety equipment:

The Southborough Fire Department is pleased to announce that we have been awarded $9,802.85 from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Department of Fire Services Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program. The department will be using these funds to replace and upgrade rescue and patient removal equipment, along with purchasing various hand tools, a portable fan, and a portable fire pump.

Q4 Activity and Performance

SFD Q422 reportThe latest quarterly report covering the last three months of 2022. Below are some of the highlights. (Click the image right for more details.)

The report shows that the SFD responded to 355 emergency incidents. However the graph clarifies that close to 50 were false alarms and over 30 “Good Intent” calls (people reporting a potential emergencies that turned out not to be).

By far, the highest number of emergency services provided were for EMS at close to 240 responses. My reading is they also responded to about 15 fires, over 15 HAZMAT incidents, and around 15 other various “services”.

For the fires, the report estimates $270K in losses “excluding vehicles and brush”

In 14.5% of cases, there were 2 or more incidents at the same time.* Of course, the town is able to take advantage of “Mutual Aid” agreements with other towns. Last quarter the aid appears to have been balanced  — given 26 times and received 25 times.

In addition to emergency responses, the department was involved in 181 “Inspections, Reviews, and Community Risk Reduction Interactions”.

Training

Although not highlighted in the above report. the SFD spends a lot of its time in special training to prepare for potential emergencies. They occasionally share details on Facebook.

This week, personnel participated in a Hazardous Materials Operational Level refresher program taught by the Massachusetts Fire Academy instructors. (Given the number of HAZMAT responses last quarter were greater than the number of fires, that does make sense.) A post explains:

This program ensures our members are prepared to assist and perform basic defensive techniques in the control of a hazardous materials release, perform safe evacuations and victim rescues, and carry out decontamination procedures.

Annual Gift Collection

SFD collection for Project Just BecauseThe dept. posted a thank you last month to community members who contributed to their successful, annual collection drive for holiday presents to area kids and teens through Project Just Because.

Burn Permits

A post on Sunday reminds the public that brush burning season in town is open through May 1st. But a permit from the SFD is required. For details on the process to use the online permitting system, click here.

*Coinciding emergencies is part of the reason for Fire Chief Steven Achilles’ push for Southborough to either invest more in its dispatch services or work with neighboring towns to regionalize dispatch. You can read more about that in my police update on Monday.

(Because I’ve been tied up with personal matters this week, I haven’t had a chance to catch up on the Select Board’s Tuesday night discussion. But you can watch that meeting here.)

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