Fire departments to continue discussion of needs

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FARMINGTON — Fire Chief Terry Bell has an open mind about discussing collaborative ways to meet the needs of area fire departments during a meeting planned for Wednesday.

“It’s a chance to share information and see what comes out of it,” he said.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the Bass Room at Franklin Memorial Hospital. It’s open to anyone interested in the area departments, Bell said.

It is a followup to an April 30 meeting of about 80 firefighters and town officials who discussed issues facing the county’s volunteer fire departments. At that meeting, facilitator Bill Guindon, director of the Maine Fire Service Institute, led participants through a discussion of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats faced. He asked each department to do the analysis and bring the results to the second meeting to compare findings. 

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“I know some of us have done it,” Bell said.

Although a Franklin County Municipal Officers Association notice sent to town officials throughout the county asked those planning to attend to RSVP to Bell by Oct. 27, few have responded, he said.

He hopes people will just come. There’s plenty of room, he said.

“We’re all sharing the same issues. The problem is not going to go away,” he said.  “There’s nothing wrong with admitting we have deficiencies and seeking ways to correct them. It is part of our job as fire chief to let the community know what the problems are.”

The idea of regionalization doesn’t sit well with many who have watched the regionalization of school districts, he said.

It’s an idea that will take years before the change is made, he said.

It is more about collaboration, he said. Some departments have already started to buy equipment together and share it, he added.

One day down the road, communities may save when everyone doesn’t have to buy everything, he said.

To RSVP for the meeting, contact Bell at 778-3235, 491-3235 or email tbell@farmington-maine.org.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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