BY AL BARBER | HINESBURG FIRE CHIEF | FEBRUARY 27, 2020
Thank You for Your Support
The members of the fire department would like to thank everyone for your support. We are very dedicated to serving the public in your times of need regardless of the circumstances. We know that we usually see you mostly in your time of need, but we really enjoy connecting with you once that time has passed.
This year we are requesting the first fulltime employee for the fire department. This employee will have many duties including fire/EMS responses during the day. There are many other duties that the person will be responsible for, including but not limited to preplanning emergency responses, daily equipment checks, battery changes, safety committee meetings at schools and daycares, building walk-throughs for response planning, general equipment maintenance and repair scheduling, and scheduling trainings for fire and EMS.
This position is very important for a few reasons, namely daytime responses to fire and EMS emergencies. This person will really be a support person for the department volunteers. Because of the number of responses, it is taking more and more time to keep everything in tiptop shape ready to be put into service. The more time volunteers need to spend doing noncritical work, the more burnout will occur and loss of membership happens; there is just not enough time in a volunteer’s life to get everything done. We need to allow the volunteers to focus on responses and training and not the everyday maintenance jobs. A healthy volunteer squad needs a support person to allow them to thrive.
A Five-Year Plan Since 2006
Since 2006 the fire department has had a strategic plan in place to help the community plan for the future needs of the department. This plan not only has a five-year plan but also a 10-year plan, and it has always been on our website at hinesburgfd.org. Over the past 12 years of the plan’s existence it has been pretty much spot on for its projections in anticipation of how the community needs would grow. It is derived by extensive research using many sources for the data used to produce the document; some of these sources are the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Vermont Department of Health, Chittenden County Regional Planning, census data, building permits from our community as well as from surrounding communities, other local fire department experiences, other community development review board growth data and any other data points that would help us with the project growth, calls for service increases and anything which might contribute to shaping our future needs.
The need for an ambulance in Hinesburg has been well documented. Many talk about a regional concept, we are already engaged in a physical regional operation, but not on a fiscal level. We have mutual aid agreements on a county level in place and used daily for both fire and EMS operations. When we plan for future needs in the fire service, we talk to all of our mutual aid partners so we aren’t duplicating equipment, and are only purchasing when it’s necessary, same with EMS on a district level. Currently Hinesburg is the one community which is having a large impact on the EMS system in the district because of our call volumes and anticipated increases coming as the town begins to expand.
As a department we are ready to operate an ambulance for transporting patients now. The only way we can improve outcomes of our citizens’ medical needs Is to transport them quicker; time saves lives especially if you are having a stroke or heart attack. We firmly believe that the ambulance service, once in service, will generate enough reimbursements that it will have little effect on the bottom-line cost to the fire budget. Local control is very important when a community wants to have input on how a department or service is run.
We are ready to serve the community, yet again, at the next level of service as our community grows in the volume and frequency of calls. In the future, as noted in our strategic plan, we will need a new station and a quint fire truck, (a pumper with a hydraulic ladder) when and if the community grows. We do expect that within 10 years, we will have a much larger full-time staff again when and if the community grows. I always welcome questions from those we serve in the community, please feel free to contact me at Chief@hinesburgfd. org or give me a call 802-777-2240. Follow us on Facebook at HinesburgFireDepartment and be sure to visit our website.