I am pleased to submit the annual report for the Cumberland Fire Department for the fiscal period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The members of the department have once again shown a high level of professionalism to our community. Their sustained commitment to training and responding to emergencies at all hours of the day offers our town a tremendous level of comfort and protection. It is with great pride that I have had the opportunity to serve for fifteen years as the Chief of such a fine organization.
Every year we continue to experience an increase in our responses. For the period included in this report the fire department responded to 1,241 medical and fire incidents with about 2/3 of those occurring during the daytime hours. Our three most active responses are medical emergencies, fire alarm activations and fires in buildings. In addition to our emergency responses, the department also provides fire and medical safety coverage at several events over the course of the year. These activities include football games, running events, multiple athletic events at Twin Brook Recreation Facility and several events at the Cumberland Fairgrounds, just to name a few.
The department offers a student live-in program for five students. This program offers housing to students enrolled in either fire science or paramedicine at Southern Maine Community College by living at one of our two fire stations. These students live at our stations free of charge while in return providing the community with emergency responses while they are at the station. The students must fulfill pre-determined minimum shift coverage at both stations, with no compensation, in return for the housing agreement. This program provides the students with real life emergency fire and medical experiences by assisting our on duty firefighter/paramedics, as well as our other on-call members, during training and emergency responses. All five of our students graduated from SMCC and another group of five have been chosen to start the two year program for this coming fall semester.
The department continues to provide great medical services:
Three of our paramedics have completed a year-long intensive training on “Community Paramedicine”. This new program will provide certain medical evaluations and care within a person’s residence instead of at a medical facility. Although this service will be billed to the person’s insurance, it is a planned part of a Nation-wide program to reduce Medicare and other insurance costs. The savings will be realized because it will cost less than fees incurred at a medical facility. This is in the incipient stage, as our department was one of only eight departments in the entire State of Maine to complete this training. We will be continuing to work with the Metro Chiefs Group as well as Maine Emergency Medical Services to identify the parameters of this service.
A Non-Emergency Transportation (NET) program has been developed by the department to provide a service to citizens who are not able to drive and/or ride in a passenger vehicle to medical treatment programs. One example of our NET program has been to transport a fellow citizen to and from dialysis treatment three days a week. Our staff performs this service with one of our ambulances and provides the citizen with the highest level of care and compassion.
Our medical equipment loaner program has been an increasingly utilized benefit to the community. There is almost a daily request for equipment to help people in their homes with making their mobility safer by helping to prevent fall or slip hazards.
A few of the department’s members have the “Child Passenger Safety Technician Certification”. Scheduled appointments can be made with our staff to assist with ensuring that a child safety seat is installed appropriately. This program works hand in hand with local law enforcement agencies who ensure that safe transportation occurs for our children.
The department is an American Heart Association-affiliated Training Center. We offer CPR, AED and First Aid training every month as well as regular training for Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement professionals. Over the past year the Cumberland Fire Department’s certified instructors have trained over 300 people in our training center. This low cost training is offered to any citizens or businesses and we truly hope you will take advantage of this service---it could save a loved one’s life.
Fire prevention also continues to provide exceptional services:
Businesses are inspected on an annual basis for fire and life safety measures for not only the public but also for the employees. Information gathered from these inspections is also entered into our response programs to educate our emergency responders on the layout and building construction features of the building.
Safety training has taken place with some businesses in town. This training includes exiting procedures as well as using a fire extinguisher to learn when and how to effectively use them.
Our education programs in the schools teach the children how and when to call 911, how to escape a fire in their home safely and how to extinguish a fire on a person’s clothing.
The year 2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the Cumberland Fire Department. Past and present members, along with the Cumberland Historical Society, performed countless hours of research to reflect upon the changes and improvements that have occurred with our department since 1915. During the fall months there were presentations that identified our state of the art training and equipment to articulate the outstanding services that are provided to the citizens, businesses, mobile and fixed infrastructures that are within the Town of Cumberland. Books were made that show the changes of dispatching, staffing, equipment and services provided. These books are free at fire headquarters for anyone interested.
In the fall, communications began regarding replacing our 50 year old central fire station. A renovation design committee was established and their recommendations will be provided to the town council in the fall of 2016. The committee has devoted many hours researching the staffing, vehicle, equipment and service needs of the facility for not only the present time but also for at least the next 25 years.
In closing, I would like to remind the citizens of the Town of Cumberland that we are always looking for people to join our organization. From assisting with traffic control, to driving fire trucks or ambulances, to wearing air packs, to becoming an EMT, it is likely that we have a job for you. To learn more about the rewarding skills and benefits of firefighting and emergency medical services please contact the department at 829-5421.