Top News

Door remains open on maintaining Yarmouth dispatch service

Peter Poirier makes a point during an Aug. 29 meeting in Tusket to discuss the fire dispatch service, a session organized by the Yarmouth County Mutual Aid Association. Poirier is one of the Yarmouth dispatchers.
Peter Poirier makes a point during an Aug. 29 meeting in Tusket to discuss the fire dispatch service, a session organized by the Yarmouth County Mutual Aid Association. Poirier is one of the Yarmouth dispatchers. - Eric Bourque

Mutual aid should be part of dispatch discussion, say county fire department reps, officials

There remains hope that the Yarmouth fire dispatch service will be maintained, following an Aug. 29 meeting organized by the Yarmouth County Mutual Aid Association where the matter was discussed.

The Town of Yarmouth had indicated in the spring it was looking to outsource its fire dispatch service, saying the existing model had the town’s taxpayers paying a disproportionately high percentage of the cost.

The town more recently had sent letters to fire chiefs of fire departments that use the service outlining options to maintain the local service, but the response from the departments was that what the town was proposing was unrealistic and too costly for them.

The town had set Sept. 24 as a deadline for departments to declare whether they would stay with the Yarmouth service, a timeline the departments found was too tight.

At a meeting Wednesday night in Tusket – a session put on by the local mutual aid group – Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood said the town may be prepared to look at the issue again. She asked the departments to have a letter written on their behalf, expressing their concern with the Sept. 24 deadline and other issues.

If the letter is received in time, she said, the matter could be discussed at town council’s Sept. 13 meeting.

One of the main issues raised by many attending Wednesday’s session in Tusket was mutual aid, the argument being that while the town may pay the lion’s share of the cost of fire dispatch, it also benefits from the mutual aid service provided by fire departments in the county. This needs to be part of the fire dispatch discussion, they said.

Some of those who spoke during the Tusket meeting suggested the town should see what its citizens think about the dispatch service and what it's costing them.

One person suggested the turnout for Wednesday’s meeting might have been higher had people thought there was a chance of getting the town to reconsider its position on the dispatch service, but she said they perhaps felt it was futile. Town CAO Jeff Gushue responded by saying, “It’s not a done deal.”

A number of people stressed the importance of having dispatchers who are familiar with the local area, which can make a difference during an emergency.

The mayor said – as she has before – that the town recognizes the important service the dispatchers provide, but she said the funding model for it has to be more equitable.

Recent Stories