Through the welcoming of Firefighter/Paramedics Russell Hall and Richard Yunker, the Department initiated the transitional process toward providing Advanced Life Support (ALS) for the community. Starting on February 4, 2005, the Department’s ALS staff immediately provided life saving care to a resident experiencing a severe diabetic emergency. Since then Firefighter/Paramedics have successfully intervened in a significant number of 911 situations whereby the administration of medications assisted persons experiencing cardiac and respiratory emergencies. Coinciding with the implementation of ALS, the Department further enhanced emergency medical services through the deployment of two ambulances to serve the community. Having a second ambulance available ensures the community receives rapid response and transport for medical emergencies.
Additionally, existing staff will be completing their paramedic certification training during early 2006. Firefighters Richard Clancy and Mark Haigh, along with newly appointed Firefighter George Bent will be mentored by our ALS staff. Also newly appointed Firefighter Jamie Materson started his paramedic training and will be eligible to practice in 2007.
Fortunately the community experienced only two serious building fires during the year. An unoccupied Spring Street dwelling, being prepared for re-sale, incurred fire damage to the basement and first floor due to an electrical problem on April 6th. Also a Berkshire Road residence was the scene of a two alarm fire after the roof area encountered a lightning strike on July 19th. Given weather conditions, mutual aid units assisted at the scene and responded to a residential fire alarm during this incident.
Statistically, the Department responded to 1,101 calls for emergency assistance, of which nearly 60% represented a response for emergency medical assistance, such as difficulty breathing, cardiac related incidents, trauma from motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. The local real estate market
remained active, reflected in a 15% increase for the inspection of new fire alarm systems and for the inspection of smoke detectors within dwellings being purchased. Also the Department’s emphasis to re-establish the inspection of commercial buildings ensured virtually all such occupancies were inspected during the year.
The much anticipated arrival of the Department’s new rescue engine occurred during the early spring. A non-traditional color configuration, all black, combined with the apparatus motto, “Dare to Be Different”, emphasized the new direction of the Department toward enhanced service. This apparatus not only carries a significant volume of water for fire suppression, along with fire and rescue tools, but has been designed to maximize rapid deployment as an all hazards unit.
Also the Department was awarded a Department of Homeland Security Grant, $27,159, through the United States Fire Administration, to certify firefighters at the Fire Inspector level. This Certification represents the means for on-duty staff to initiate inspections of commercial and residential property enhancing life safety and reducing the potential for fire. Furthermore, the Department was the recipient of a $12,000 Local Preparedness Grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety, Homeland Security Division for multi-gas detection equipment, replacement of hydraulic rescue cutters and dual function electric fans for cooling firefighters and removing toxic conditions from buildings. Finally, the Department received $3,115 from the Executive Office of Public Safety, S.A.F.E. (Student Awareness of Fire Education) for community fire prevention programs.
Working with the Director of Public Works, Permanent Building Committee and Town Officials, our Department, in concert with the Police Department, continued to review potential sites for a new Public Safety Building. Cooperative discussions with the Federated Church initiated a means for considering a parcel of the Church property for the facility. This site will be evaluated to determine its suitability for meeting public safety’s needs to mirror the Town’s build-out.
Continuing the Department’s commitment toward community service our staff hosted the annual Senior Dinner; actively participated at Norfolk Day providing food and entertainment, along with treating fifteen youths for heat related problems; scared young and old alike at the Haunted Train Ride; delivered Santa at the Christmas Parade; and hosted the annual Open House at Fire Headquarters. Firefighters also continue to provide fire safety presentations to community groups and within the schools, install child safety seats for residents and conduct CPR and AED training.
The Department has been fortunate to receive wide spread support from the community supplementing our municipal budget. During the year Holbrook Commons, LLC and Norfolk Town Center provided a donation which allowed the Department to replace fatigued components of our “Jaws-of-Life” hydraulic rescue system, while Fore Kicks contributed toward equipment for the backup ambulance. Also the Norfolk Community League graciously contributed to the Department’s CPR/AED community training fund.
Working cooperatively with all the Town Departments, Boards and Officials creates an environment conducive to gaining support and we are grateful to all who provided assistance during the year. Our special thanks have been extended to the Police Department and Communications Center staffs which have ensured emergencies and routine calls are answered in the true spirit of community cooperation, Also the Town’s Electrical Inspector, Ron Bain, was called upon many times during the year to evaluate electrical problems at emergency scenes. Lastly we would like to thank the Department of Public Works staffs who maintain our apparatus. However, our most heartfelt thanks must be extended to the businesses and residents of Norfolk. Thank you for your continued support!
Coleman C. Bushnell
Coleman C. Bushnell, EMT, full time
Stephen A. Wood
Peter J. Petruchik, EMT, full time
David C. Holmes, EMT
John F. Kelley, EMT, full time
Mark R. Kantzer, EMT, full time
Douglas E. Johnston III, Paramedic, full time
George W. Bent, EMT
Darren Bycoff, EMT
Richard F. Clancy Jr., EMT-I, full time
Peter R. Curran III, EMT, full time
Michael P. Findlen, Paramedic, full time
Nathan G. Fletcher, EMT
Mark W. Haigh, EMT, full time
Russell A. Hall, Paramedic, full time
Stephen R. Hamlin, EMT, full time
Peter S. Hildebrandt, EMT
David W. Johnston
James F. Leary
Richard E. Yunker, Paramedic, full time
John C. Zajac, EMT