Early Tuesday morning, surrounded by about 40 firefighters, town officials and members of the public, Concord Fire Chief Mark Cotreau presented the department’s newest vehicle: a brand new ambulance donated by resident Audrey Mold.
Following a 2011-2012 study of fire services in the town, the department identified the need for a second ambulance. Mold, who attended a hearing at which the need was mentioned, gave the town $198,000 to buy the truck, which includes equipment funded by two installations of $37,500 each from Middlesex School.
Matt Crozier, the Middlesex School’s chief operating officer and a Concord resident, read about the department’s need for ambulance equipment in the warrant.
“They always take care of us,” said Crozier. “We’re eager to support the town and the public safety [departments].”
Cotreau said the new ambulance should cause a reduction in mutual aid received by 75 percent. Staffing the West Concord ambulance daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (the busiest hours for medical calls) are Chuck Hopkins, Brendan Lyons, Jimmy Mazzola and Matt Vickery. When new hires arrive, those four will get bumped up to the typical 24-hour shifts.
“Most of our runs are in this district, so it saves us from going from Concord to West Concord,” said EMS coordinator and firefighter Tony Geanisis. It will also eliminate the need to call another town every time there are simultaneous medical calls; from 2008 to 2011, annual simultaneous responses ranged from 515 to 749.
That need left Concord asking for mutual aid rather than giving it.
“We require nine ambulances into Concord for every one ambulance that goes out of Concord into another community,” said Cotreau. That means chunking together pieces of different EMS systems rather than operating inside Concord’s uniform internal system, and leaves vulnerability in the town assisting.
“Mutual aid is just what it sounds like—mutual. We had other communities supplementing our service. That’s different from mutual aid,” Cotreau said.
A study of 2011 CFD medical emergencies and motor vehicle accidents showed about 13 percent of calls had a response time greater than eight minutes. Ideally, the department would respond to 90 percent of calls in four minutes or less.
“A focal point of this program is the reduce the time it takes to get a first response,” said Cotreau, who saw a large difference in response time to areas in downtown Concord—overall, pretty good—and West Concord. “In West Concord, they’re mediocre, at best,” Cotreau said. In a December 2013 report, the department suggested garaging an ambulance at either at Station 2, near ORNAC, or on Powder Mill Road.
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