Former State Fire Marshall Critiques Falmouth Decision

FALMOUTH – Retired State Fire Marshall and Falmouth resident Steve Coan spoke at a recent public forum regarding the facilities and staffing of the Falmouth Fire Department.

A major element of Coan’s address at Falmouth High School focused on the decision to close the West Falmouth Fire Station, which would happen in July if the shut down continues as planned.

The town is looking to build a new station to serve both the north and west areas of Falmouth, but it is estimated that the new station would not be operational for another five years.

“This decision will clearly reduce the level of fire protection to that community,” Coan said.

Coan said the decision was weighted too much on budget factors.

He liked Fire Chief Michael Small’s idea to add more staff in East Falmouth, but only if it doesn’t hinder services in West Falmouth.

According to Coan, the United States Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association estimates that people have three to five minutes to escape a residential fire that quickly spreads.

That time frame was more than 15 minutes three decades ago. Not only are initial response times delayed with less fire stations and staff, but it also delays backup for firefighters who arrive to the scene first.

Coan said every minute and every second counts.

“I’m deeply concerned about the safety of those first arriving firefighters that may become trapped or run out of water from their truck, without the rapid arrival of additional resources,” he said.

Falmouth’s department responds to over 8,000 emergency calls annually, the most across the Cape.

Coan criticized his displeasure in the town’s inaction in taking advantage of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants program, which provides federal funds to local fire departments to increase resources and response times.

He called upon the town’s elected officials to provide safety to both residents and first responders moving forward.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy