On Wednesday, March 22 the Upton Board of Selectmen will meet at Fire/EMS Headquarters at 6 p.m. to discuss the future direction of the department. Members of the department will be in attendance. At 7:30 p.m. the board will move to Town Hall to discuss the 2016/2017 budget strategy with the Finance Committee.
Earlier this month, Fire/EMS Chief Ron Goodale met with the Board to discuss the current state of Fire/EMS staffing. The department, in accordance with their license to perform Advanced Life Services (ALS), will need to provide ALS staffing 24 hours a day, seven days a weeks by the fall of 2017.
The department made the transitions from Basic Life Services (BLS) services to ALS in November of 2014. ALS provides at least one paramedics on ambulances where BLS has EMTs only. Many 911 calls require ALS transportation.
Goodale stated that when deparment is fully staffed the average rollout time is 1 minute. Some weeks the department is meeting staffing requirements, other times not. Goodale advised the board that department members are motivated differently stating fifteen volunteer commitments can be unpredictable.
Staffing needs also need to be reviewed based on demographic changes of the Town’s population, residential structures, and the response expectations of residents.
Goodale presented two options for the selectmen to consider.
Increase Per Diem Paramedic staff to cover overnight hours.
Cost $55K to $73K annually.
Reduces compensation for medics responding on night calls .
365 shifts to fill each year.
No fire coverage.
Not permanent employees.
Short term fix.
Hire 2 FF / Paramedics at cost of $118,000 plus benefits and uniforms.
Establishes 24 hours Career FF/Paramedic with dedicated staff.
Eliminates need for Per Diem Medic shift on Saturdays saving $15,000.
Reduces compensation for medics responding on night calls.
Apply for SAFER Grant to cover above costs for 2 years.
source 3/8 BOS meeting minutes draft document