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Selectmen Discuss Firefighter EMT Requirements, Ambulance Response Times

Follow along with Wednesday's Board of Selectmen meeting, which included a lot of commentary on the Seekonk Fire Department's ability to serve the public.

Oct. 5 Board of Selectmen Meeting

Patch reported live from the Oct. 5 Seekonk Board of Selectmen meeting, when the board voted against EMT training for two previously hired firefighters, endorsed the Seekonk Planning Board's master plan and provided details on the annual "Food for Fuel" pasta dinner.

7:07 p.m. - The board unanimously approved the change of managers at on 353 Highland Avenue from Jennifer Broderick to Joshua Gleason. Joshua Gleason explained that Broderick is no longer the general manager and he will be taking over. Gleason says he has worked in restaurants all his life and has been manging them for 16 years. Additionally he has worked at Buca di Beppo for the past two years. Francis Cavaco said it was a standard change and sees no problem. Gleason is not Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) certified, but indicated that there were two full-time employees one of whom would be on hand at all times. TIPS is a training program designed to prevent intoxication, underage drinking, and drunk driving.

7:20 p.m. - The board unanimously voted against the signing MOA agreement for two newly hired Seekonk firefighters to be exempt to the law requiring all hires have EMT training. Cavaco said that this issue has come up previously and the fire department filed a grievance regarding the policy and were found in the right. The firefighters are expected to get the training within four years. The board voted to change the wording from “may” to “shall” or “will” in regards to the training to ensure they would be trained. The agreement will be returned to union for them to agree on.

7:45 p.m. - Selectmen endorsed the planning board’s master plan and decided to develop a job description in conjunction with the planning board regarding the forming of committees on economic development and sustainability energy. The planning board said they are hoping to have the master plan finalized by the end of this year or the beginning of next year and have the various action items implemented within the next five years.

8:11 p.m. - Robert DelRosso spoke to the board about a public safety concern about response time an ambulance saying that in a recent incident there was 14 minutes between the call to 911 and the ambulance’s arrival, though police and fire arrived earlier. “If we have a problem with response time this isn’t it,” said Rice.

Parker said he agreed with him and pointed out that the board approved the fire chief to make four new hires and said there now is an ambulance on available at all times which was not previously the case.

“We have got to resolve these issues in the north and south end,” said McLintock.                        

8:20 p.m. - Donald Kinniburgh spoke on the issues with the fire department saying that the original agreement with the fire department called for the town to hire two firemen a year. “It’s about time the town works together and gets this thing done,” he said on the hiring of more firemen. “It’s something we need and it should be a top priority.”

8:25 p.m. - Lt. Michael Bourque, a 23-year veteran of the Seekonk Fire Department spoke on the concerns with the response time and said the Selectmen are on the right track with the hiring of new firefighters. He said volunteers are a dying breed and that the hiring of new full timers is a necessity. However he also acknowledged that due to budget constraints there is a need to move slowly and hire a few at a time.

8:28 p.m. - Town Administrator Pamela Nolan announced that the fourth annual "Food for Fuel" pasta festival at Seekonk High School will be held on October 20 from 5 to 8 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children, and free for children under the age of three.

8:37 p.m. - Selectman Parker wanted the community to come forward and call town hall with any complaints about the television broadcast so they can improve the broadcast.

8:40 - Selectman Parker also unveiled what he called his new board uniform, a referee's shirt. Parker jokingly said that next week he gets his whistle.

8:45 p.m. - Selectman Cavaco said the town received $450,000 from the collection of the meal's tax over the past year.

9:05 p.m. - Selectman Cavaco said he requested proof of insurance from the Columbia Gas Company and their subcontractor, they responded by asking for a request from the whole board. The board said they will address this issue at next meeting and develop a bylaw or policy to address the insurance concerns.

9:07 p.m. - Meeting is dissolved. Next week's meeting will be held at the library and include open meeting law training.

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