April 8 Wareham Fire District meeting to focus on safety

Mar 29, 2019

The Wareham Fire District will host its annual meeting on Monday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the High School Auditorium on Viking Drive.

Alongside funding for collective bargaining and the district’s stabilization fund, the district is also requesting funding for safety upgrades. Fire Chief Matt Rowley noted that all of the requests for funding are coming out of “free cash” and will not require any tax increases.

The Fire Department is requesting $164,000 for a system that would remove diesel exhaust from the air in the stations and at the maintenance facility. Diesel exhaust is a carcinogen, and currently, firefighters along with their living quarters and protective gear, are being exposed to exhaust from fire trucks.

The department is also requesting $14,000 to remove and replace the asbestos pipe insulation at Station 1 on Main Street. Asbestos is also a carcinogen.

The department’s wildland protective clothing, purchased in 2006, has exceeded its 10 year life expectancy. The department is requesting $25,000 to replace it.

The department is requesting $41,786 to repair vehicles that have been corroded over time by salt. It is also requesting funds for a new command vehicle to replace a 2004 Chevy Tahoe which has required extensive maintenance and was due to be replaced last year.

The Fire Department is also hoping to make some new hires, including a new fire prevention officer. Currently, the department only has one fire prevention officer to conduct inspections-- of which there are too many for one person to do alone.

The department is also requesting $50,000 to train new call firefighters. Rowley said that the department is projecting six to ten new hires this year.

Due to state work on Routes 6 and 28, the department will have to rewire fire alarms that are hardwired from businesses to the station via the telephone poles, which will be moved. This work will cost $14,055.

The department is also requesting funds to purchase a new system that will allow firefighters to update and share reporting, dispatch, and fire prevention data on the go, rather than just from the station. The department also needs a new website, as its previous website was hacked and had to be shut down. These technology requests total $32,940.

The Water Department is requesting funds for equipment maintenance and upgrades, including $115,000 to upgrade the power grid in the Maple Spring and Seawood Springs wellfields, $15,000 to upgrade the communication source at the wellfield, and $21,000 to replace air release valves.

The department is requesting funds to update vehicles, including $40,000 to replace a 1996 Chevy pickup, which recently failed inspection and was taken out of the fleet. The department is also requesting $15,000 to purchase an equipment trailer and a tool box for an existing crew cab pickup to increase efficiency at construction sites as crews would have all the necessary equipment with them.

The biggest item on the warrant is a chlorine disinfection pipe which would disinfect water from viruses. The Maple Springs wellfield will soon fall under the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Ground Water Rule and Revised Total Coliform Rule, which requires disinfection for viruses.

The pipe will allow the controlled use of chlorine to meet the regulation, which will prevent water boil events like those in 2007 and 2008.

The district received a $14 million low interest loan from SRF to construct the water purification plant that included principal forgiveness in the amount of $653,904. The district is requesting $565,000 of that forgiveness for this project, which requires a ⅔ vote.

To read the warrant, go to the district’s website, www.warehamfiredistrict.org.