The Rangeley Board of Selectmen toured the Oquossoc and Rangeley fire stations prior to the start of their August 16th meeting.  Fire Chief Michael Bacon led the tour and explained the capabilities of the varied Fire Department apparatus.  Engine #1 which has a 3000 gallon water tank capacity is kept in Oquossoc to compensate for the lack of hydrants.  Rescue truck #2, also kept in Oquossoc, is equipped with Haz Mat response materials and a Jaws of Life extraction unit.  Rescue boats, snowmobiles and ATVs are positioned seasonally for their appropriate response.

Homeowners insurance can get costly for dwellings located more than seven miles away from a fire station.  Strategically placed dry hydrants located at accessible water sources and the construction of driveways that can accommodate fire fighting equipment may help lower insurance premiums.  These actions may also reduce the number of specialized pieces of fire fighting equipment the Town may need to purchase in the future.

Mike Senecal, the Director of North Star Ambulance Service, joined the Selectmen at Fire Station #1 in Rangeley to update them on ambulance service operations.  North Star has two ambulances housed at Station #1 with one of them staffed 24/7 with a Paramedic or Advanced EMT.  The second ambulance is mostly for backup and can be deployed using a North Star or Rangeley Fire Department EMT.  There are approximately 400 calls per year in the Rangeley region about 20 of which go to Saddleback Ski Area in a normal operating season.  For all calls the transport rate is 49%.  The average response time is about eleven minutes from the time of the dispatch call until the ambulance arrives at the scene according to Mr. Senecal.  North Star has a total of eleven ambulances, two in Rangeley, two in Carrabassett Valley, one in Phillips, four in Farmington and two in Livermore.  They use a System Status Management Program to anticipate where the next call is likely to originate.

The Selectmen discussed two local cell tower projects that could impact public safety while they were touring the fire and ambulance facilities and also at their meeting.  The Maine Bureau of Parks and Land, which owns the top of Bald Mountain is seeking feedback on the modification of the tower located there.  An increase in tower height of eighteen feet is being proposed.  The Maine Land Use Planning Commission is having a Public Hearing on a new cell tower to be located on private land near the Dallas Plantation Town Office.

The primary purpose of both tower projects is to be part of First Net.  The mission of First Net is to deploy, operate, maintain and improve the first high speed nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.  Public Safety agencies and first responders will then have the tools to get more information quicker helping them to make faster and better decisions.  In addition, local cell phone service will be improved for many private cell phone users.  The Selectmen voted unanimously to authorize Town Manager Joe Roach to provide letters of support for both projects.

Representatives from USDA and Maine IF & W met with the Selectmen to discuss Rangeley’s goose situation.  Rangeley’s large and expanding goose population is creating health and maintenance concerns.  The presenters discussed several strategies including specialized landscape plantings and an organized goose round up as parts of the solution.  They agreed to return to Rangeley to assess the problem areas and help the Town decide which management practices are likely to succeed.  The two parties are hoping to have a plan ready for the spring of 2022.


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