Consultant Gives Yarmouth Fire Department Good Grades, Some Suggestions Made

YARMOUTH – Following a review in August that saw both the Fire and Police Departments earn good grades, department heads have been reviewing a list of suggestions from the consultant.

Matrix Consulting conducted the review, and found that while the town has a higher demand during the Cape’s large summer population, the service demand does not see a significant drop off in the fall, winter, and spring months.

The study found that more than 80-percent of calls to the Yarmouth Fire Department are for emergency medical services, a trend seen lately across certain cities and towns in the country. It went on to say that “concurrent medical calls are a major issue for the town, resulting in the need for additional capacity.”

As a result, Matrix Consulting suggested the Fire Department staff a “peak hour unit” during the busiest part of the day, which for Yarmouth, is from around 8:00 a.m. through 8:00 p.m. The peak hour unit would schedule the highest number of firefighters of any other shift to address the high amount of emergency calls at this period.

Yarmouth Fire Chief Philip Simonian acknowledges the high volume of emergency calls, or “runs” that fire personnel respond to during this peak time, and says that it’s only growing.

“We do agree with the concept of adding more personnel and we’re looking to incrementally add more personnel because of our continuing growing run problem. The eight hour peak shift model is new to us and I suppose it could work. There are some departments on the Cape that have a day-shift schedule for certain individuals similar to the peak hour,” said Chief Simonian.

Simonian went on the say the he still prefers around-the-clock coverage for the town, adding that adequate staffing for non-peak shift hours is still needed with the unpredictability of emergencies and the town’s continuing growth.

“Personally, I’d like to see it around the clock. We’re going to continue to grow as this town grows and the economic development of this town. We’ve got an increasing run volume and I honestly think that we need the people 24-7,” Simonian explained.

“Our shift coverage is based on ‘10’s and 14’s’. Years ago, before we switched to 24-hour shifts we worked two 10-hour days, two 14-hour nights and then off for four.”

The study also found that while the department provides “a reasonable level of coverage” for fire and emergency medical calls in the town, that coverage to certain parts of the town can be an issue at times.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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