WILTON — The Fire Department was awarded a Safety and Health Award for Public Employers (SHAPE) from the Maine Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Standards on Tuesday at the selectmen’s meeting.
The award is special, explained Michael Roland, deputy director from the Bureau of Labor Standards. He presented it to fire Chief Sonny Dunham.
The Wilton Department is the 16th of 454 departments in the state to earn the award.
Started in 2005, the SHAPE award recognizes public sector employees who strive to provide a “safe and healthful” workplace for employees, according to a letter sent to Chief Dunham.
The award follows a thorough review and inspection of the department’s policies and procedures, including an OSHA log used to document injuries, a review of safety and health policies, training programs, an inspection of the station and equipment and a review of the department’s record keeping.
By earning the award, the department is exempt from the Bureau of Labor Standards inspections for two years, Michael LaPlante from the Department of Labor said at the meeting.
“It’s a big deal and not given out lightly,” he said.
While fire departments encounter more hazards than most town entities, the award tends to roll through other departments bringing them on board for better health and safety practices throughout the town, he explained.
Dunham credited the work of Assistant Chief Kyle Ellis and Capt. Robert Burdick for the “paperwork and record keeping” involved that helped the department earn the award.