FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen has agreed to continue pursuing a collaborative effort among area fire departments with another meeting in the next couple months.

Last week, the board discussed the Regional Fire Service meeting held April 30 when selectmen, town managers and members of fire departments gathered at Franklin Memorial Hospital to share current concerns about fire service.

After voicing challenges such as money, manpower and outdated equipment, an analysis of the available firefighting resources in Franklin County — the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — was made.

Facilitator William Guindon of the Maine Fire Service Institute recommended each department review the responses, analyze and prioritize their needs and meet again within 30 to 45 days to compare among departments.

With June town meetings approaching, 60 to 90 days for the next meeting seems more realistic, Town Manager Richard Davis said at last week’s meeting.

After the April 30 meeting, Farmington fire Chief Terry Bell requested feedback from local towns on possible ways to collaborate on issues such as equipment purchasing and sharing, training or staffing, he told the board.

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So far, only Wilton and Livermore Falls town managers have replied, he said. Both were positive and wanted to continue discussions, he added.

“Where do we go from here?” he asked.

“We need to pursue it and keep the ball rolling,” Selectman Josh Bell said.

The board asked Bell to have his department analyze the information and bring it back to the board at its June 10 meeting. Davis suggested the departments look for “what are the commonalities between the departments.”

Chairman Ryan Morgan said he wants another meeting to take place. He suggested invitations be sent for another meeting within a couple months.

Let’s see who will show up and where this will go, he said.

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“We’re in this together,” he added.

During the April meeting, the term “regionalization” was dropped.

No one is looking for a one-chief system, Morgan said.

The desire is to consider more collaboration, communication and cooperation, Guindon said.

Collaboration has already started with the Chesterville Fire Department, indicating a desire to attend upcoming training and work with the Farmington department, Bell said.

The board agreed the meeting was an eye-opener for elected officials, who may have not known some concerns their fire departments were facing.

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