Falmouth Sees Improved Fire Response Times

FALMOUTH – At a recent Select Board meeting, Acting Fire Chief Timothy Smith reported that Falmouth has seen an improvement in response times despite staffing challenges at the West Falmouth fire station.

From July 1 to September 24, the department saw its town-wide response time drop by half a minute on average when compared to the same time in 2019.

“We’ve been able to see a decrease and we feel that even in the instances when the West Falmouth station isn’t staffed. We attribute the decrease to the fact that we have additional personnel at headquarters and the East Falmouth station which are the busiest,” said Smith.

The West Falmouth fire station has been troublesome to fill due to retirements and a difficulty hiring new recruits amid COVID-19 impacting firefighter training and testing, said Smith.

Injuries and vacations have also depleted staff number over the summer season, when personnel usually take time off.

Smith said that a new staffing model implemented on July 1 helped improve the response time.

The new model increased the number of firefighters at the start of each shift from 11 to 14 across the department. 

“By virtue of having four people at station five for example, the ambulance goes on a call and there’s a subsequent call, the engine is staffed with two and they’re able to get out, whereas prior to July 1 it was unpredictable if we were going to have any staffing there because of the call-back system. We are seeing improvements and more efficiency with this plan since it started July 1,” said Smith.  

He said that the department expects further improvements in staffing when six more firefighters are hired come January.  

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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