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Town of Westford Massachusetts
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Fire Department 5 Year Plan

Mission Statement
Fire Department Services
Fire Department Organization
Fire Department History
Call Firefighting History/Personnel
Career Firefighting History/Personnel
Fire Department 5 Year Plan - continued

To achieve this, our department will:
Provide training for Department members to become increasingly knowledgeable and proficient in the areas of public education, fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue and other related activities.

Provide its members with the necessary equipment and supplies to safely perform their duties.

Develop and provide educational programs to educate our customers as to the extent of the fire, rescue and medical services provided by this department; promote the deterrence of fire through proactive measures vs. reactive service and to encourage fire safe and fire smart activities.

Maintain and decrease response time of fire protection, rescue and emergency medical services that the customers have come to expect.

Ensure that the highest level of service is obtained from the resources at the department’s disposal.

Fire Department Services
Fire Suppression
Emergency Medical
Hazardous Materials
Manmade & Natural Disasters
Educational Programs

Fire Department History
1892 - First appointed Forest Fire Wardens.
1909 - Fire Department established with 3            hose companies and started a Call       Department with a Board of                      Engineers.
1916 - Purchased land and buildings for                    Center station and dispatch cottage.
1941 - 1st. Full Time Fire Dispatcher (lived in            cottage with salary & free rent of the          cottage).
1954 - Fourth engine company started in                     Nabnasset.
Fire Department History - Continued
1973 - Established first permanent Fire Chief       and dissolved the Board of Engineers.
1973 - Bylaws established 4 engine                 companies in town. Center,                      Graniteville, Forge Village, Nabnasset.
1985 - First Full Time Firefighter / EMT’s hired.
1987 - Dispatching ended in cottage and                    moved to center fire station.
1990 - Loss of Civilian Dispatchers.
1996 - 1998 Regained Full Time Dispatchers.
1909 & 1970 Only recorded Line of Duty                    Deaths.
Call Firefighting History/Personnel
Historically has primarily been a Call Department.
Each company consisted of 15 regular Call Firefighters and the Center with 20.
Training for the Call Department has been on a once a month basis for equipment familiarization  & specific training classes in case of fires.
46%  of department personnel make up the Call force.

67%  of the Call Force is certified in Firefighter I/II.
Current Call force is 21 members divided by four fire companies; called as needed for emergencies 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Call Firefighting
History/Personnel - Pro’s
Group of highly trained personnel.
Faster response than Mutual aid.
Unified Department.
Willingness to be among the best departments in the state.
Department Pride.
Equal certified training to Career personnel.
Call Firefighting
History/Personnel Pro’s - Continued
Historically have seen a trend of individuals from the call department pursuing a full time position.
Only paid when needed.
Less expensive than Career personnel.
Less personnel issues.
Board of Fire Engineers 1967
“ The years of the call fire department in the town are becoming more and more a thing  of the past.”

Call Firefighting
History/Personnel Con’s
Less participation from Call department.
Decrease in manpower available for larger incidents or multiple calls.
Not always available or complacent on initial calls such as small fires, box alarms, etc.
Relying on mutual aid leads to increased response times and possibly a decline in the quality of service.
Call Firefighting
History/Personnel Con’s - Continued
Higher risk of injury due to lower manpower.
Lack of exposure to alarm systems, building construction, everyday incidents, etc.
Emergency standby coverage is hampered due to unavailability of call personnel.
Training only one night per month.
Availability to respond mutual aid when needed.
Career Firefighting History/Personnel
1985 First Full-time Firefighters/EMT’s for day coverage at the Center station.
1987 coverage starts at Center for 24 hours.
1989-1999 increase staffing to center to 5 people per shift.
2001 coverage starts at Nabnasset for 24 hours.
54% of department personnel, make up Career force.
100% of Career force is certified in Firefighter I/II.

1995 Redefined  roles (Haz-Mat, Training, Fire Investigations, EMS).
1997 Restructured the department and established Full-time Captains.
Training for the career force has been on a once a week basis over an 8 week cycle, for equipment familiarization  & specific training classes in case of fires.
Current Full-time force is 7  per shift, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 1  Fire Prevention Officer and the Chief, week days.
Career Firefighting History/Personnel Pro’s
Guaranteed response, limited to size of incident(s).
Safety level is improved by having 24 hour coverage.
Reduces response time, minimizing life or property loss.
Equal certified training to Call personnel.
Career Firefighting History/Personnel Pro’s - continued
In service training on weekly basis, provides staff with exposure to : alarm systems, building construction, etc., which improves every day incidents.
Willingness to share knowledge and expertise with others.
Willingness to be among the best departments in the state.
Career Firefighting History/Personnel Con’s
Reduced availability to return after regular schedule shifts due in part to part time jobs.
More costly wages, benefits.
More costly operating expenses for buildings (heating, electricity, water)
Members living out of town/state create a higher response time when off duty.

Career Firefighting
History/Personnel - Con’s continued
Change in economy could lead to loss of talented personnel with layoffs.
Personality conflicts  when groups of people are working together for extended periods of time.
Increased personnel issues leading to corrective action as well as increased workload for administration.

Fire Department Future
The demands and expectations of the people we serve on a day-to-day basis are much higher than they’ve ever been

The Fire Department should be viewed as a business.
Our services to the town should be considered priceless and should outweigh the cost.
We should look at ourselves as a service center to our customers - the public.
We should be willing to take risks and explore new alternatives to continuously enhance our services.
Fire Department Future
Investing in the Fire Department
   The Town needs to commit to the future of the department in the following areas:
Capital Equipment to meet the needs of the public.
Facilities  to improve geographical response times.
Personnel both Career and Call to do the job.
Training and Educational programs to the department and the public.
Fire Department Future
Investing in the Fire Department - continued
The department must recommit itself  for the future.
Be part of change, not take a wait and see approach.
Help stimulate initiatives throughout the department and it’s members.
Must contribute and participate to our success.
By investing in the department, the department can meet the demands of service which we have been impacted with over the last several years.
Fire Department Future
Immediate Department needs
Full Time Deputy Chief.
8 full time personnel for Forge - Graniteville station 3 - 24 hours.
Administrative Assistant.
Change structure of department.
Reevaluate how we respond, both Full-Time and Call members.
Fire Department Future - 1-3 Years
Specialty Equipment
Quint ladder Truck.
Vehicles with inter-changeable bodies.
Jet-skis, Snow mobiles, Ice rescue sleds,    4-wheelers, Foam units, etc.
Fire Department Future
1 - 3 years - continued
Jaws of Life and other Rescue equipment.
Specialized rescue equipment for Water, Confined space, Haz-Mat, High angle, etc.
Thermal Imaging.
Tanker (2500 - 3000 gal.)
EMS and Firefighter equipment.
Equipment upgrades: SCBA Compressor, Hoses, Opticom, Furniture, etc.
Fire Department Future
1 - 3 years - continued
Replacement for Engine 6 (Replacement program).
Replacement for Ladder 1
Stations upgrades, (fire alarms, space, storage, etc).
Explore addition for Center Station.
Feasibility study for new sub-stations for Nabnasset and Parkervillage.
Fire Department Future
1 - 3 years - continued
Deputy Chief Vehicle.
Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG).
Updated Rules and Regulations of the department.
Fire Department Future
3 - 5 years
Computer and Technology upgrades.
GIS and GPS systems for department vehicles.
EMS equipment. (D-Fib Replacement, etc).
Radio replacement program (pagers, portables).
Addition or New Center station.
Addition or New Nabnasset station.
Fire Department Future
3 - 5 years - continued
New Parkervillage station.
8 Firefighters/EMTs for Parkervillage station.
Replace Engine 2 (Replacement Program)
Firefighter Protective Equipment (Replacement Program).
Fire Department Future
Call Department
Dismiss from the department inactive members.
Maintain a call force of 15 members and an auxiliary force of 5.
A recommitment from it’s members to respond to all calls they are requested for both day and night.
Participate in a new flexible training                program for weekend training.
Call members will be unrestricted to respond to any section of town when called for emergencies.
Recruit new active Call members whenever the levels of Call personnel drop below the new established amount.
Annually review the Call department to see the feasibility of continuing vs the participation of responding to emergency calls and training.
Fire Department Future
Career Department
Eliminate Career personnel returning as Call Members. (Eliminate Lieutenant's positions on call force)
Establish Career Lieutenants.
Establish Group Call Back for emergencies and manpower.
Fire Department Future Career Department - continued
A commitment from it’s Full Time members to respond to all calls they are requested for group call back both day and night.
Annually review the Career department to see the feasibility of continuing group call back vs the participation of responding to emergencies.

New Westford Fire Department Organization
Fire Department Future - misc
Problems are a natural offspring of change.
Be a fixer, not a finger pointer.
We must bridge the gap between what the past has been, what the present is, and what the future needs to be.
Continuous improvement and challenge for our organization is valuable to our customers and ourselves.
Fire Department Future - misc
What’s in it for me?
Investing in our department
Department Pride.
Professional Development.
Evaluate our incentive programs.
Rewards for superior performance.
Fire Department Future
Restructure response districts.
Redevelop Mutual Aid policies for deployment of equipment.
Develop New training programs to meet future demands of the fire service including rescue and EMS services.
Enhance public educational programs.
Continually evaluate response times for fire protection, rescue and emergency medical services to meet the new demands of N.F.P.A. 1710
N.F.P.A. 1710
N.F.P.A. 1710

Fire Department Future 1-3 years Recommendations for Revenue
Establish revolving account for permits.
Provide assistance to Fire Prevention office.
Provide Technical Services to Fire Prevention (Fire Protection Engineer).
Provide a source of revenue to offset cost of day to day materials.
Potential revenue based on current permits and structure change. 4K vs 33K
Establish revolving account for Training Division.
Provide a source of revenue to offset cost of day to day materials
Provide a source of revenue for department training classes, instructors, etc.
Provide a source of revenue for maintenance upkeep for Training room as well as live burn facility used by outside departments or communities.
Potential revenue - unknown until a value can be established.
Fire Department Future 1-3 years
Recommendations for Revenue - continued
Look at feasibility of establishing an Enterprise system for charging for Ambulance services.
Provide a revenue source to pay for salaries for Ambulance service personnel.
Provide a revenue source for enhancing level of Ambulance service.
EMT Intermediate Level
EMT Paramedic  Level
Provide a revenue source for equipment provided by the Ambulance service.
Provide a revenue source for Ambulance replacement.
Potential revenue from an outside analyst  - 347K

Town of Westford | 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886 | 978.692.5500 | 8am-4pm Monday - Friday
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