Dennis Fire Chief Seeks More Staff

COURTESY OF THE DENNIS FIRE DEPARTMENT

COURTESY OF THE DENNIS FIRE DEPARTMENT

DENNIS – The Dennis Fire Chief is looking to increase the size of the department.

Mark Dellner presented the department’s strategic plan to selectmen recently and expressed his desire to apply for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency grant through FEMA.

Dennis Fire is the fourth busiest department on Cape Cod, but isn’t staffed that way.

“We have 40 full-time firefighters on the floor,” said Dellner. “Most departments that are number one, two, three, and even five and six are operating with almost 60 full-time firefighters.”

The two-year grant through FEMA would allow the department to hire about eight more firefighters.

“If we were to get the grant, our shifts would go to 10-man shifts with eight-man minimums to 12-man shifts with nine-man minimums,” Dellner said.

The grant would provide $682,000 in salaries and benefits to increase the staff and only cost the town $76,000 in upfront costs including uniforms and equipment. The estimated saving in overtime for the town would be $125,000 in the first year.

Dellner said staffing was one of the objectives he was going to review when he got to the department.

“I don’t think I was here two or three months and I saw a need definitely to put more people on shift to keep the costs down and to be operationally affective,” he said.

Dellner said the increased staff would help the department put firefighters and paramedics on the street quicker without having to call a lot of off duty personnel to come in.

Dellner said there are 72 goals in the department’s strategic plan. In three years about 40 percent of the goals have been completed.

“Some of the items in the strategic plan, very frankly, are costly – a lot of money” he said. “And that is why it is going to take a lot of participation between us workshopping issues and putting issues to committee.”

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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