According to a report from The Sandwich Enterprise, the former Forestdale Fire Station on Route 130 in Sandwich will be converted as the base of operations for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Emergency Management Department. The station was sold at auction in October 2020.
Prior to leasing the building, the department was based out of the Mashpee Wampanoag Government Center on Holland Mill Road in Mashpee.
Emergency Management Department Director Nelson Andrews Jr. said the department is operated under the National Incident Management System and is the tribal equivalent of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. He also said the fire station was chosen because it has the size capacity to house the department’s response vehicles as well as its proximity to Mashpee.
The department owns a boat and a drone, both of which are equipped with thermal vision capabilities, allowing the department to help locate missing persons in the water and on land. It also has an SUV and a Chevrolet Silverado, both equipped with lights and sirens, and an HVAC trailer, so if there is a power outage, the department can generate heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Just last week, the department was dispatched to Yarmouth for that very reason.
The department wants to help with emergency management operations across the county, although Andrews said that it wants to focus on the tribe’s elders, whom the department help secure air conditioners, smoke detectors, and air purifiers. Department personnel also plow driveways in snowstorms and helps with debris cleanup after thunderstorms.
Andrews is a six-year veteran of the department after working previously with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. When he started, the department was run through one small grant, but he has been able to work up to about $4 million in funding, primarily through federal grant money.