Bourne Plows Now Equipped With Scanners

DPW worker Jim Boyle shows off one of the scanners (lower right) the department uses during storms to keep track of any police or fire emergencies that they might be able to help out with.
GENE M. MARCHAND/ENTERPRISE - DPW worker Jim Boyle shows off one of the scanners (lower right) the department uses during storms to keep track of any police or fire emergencies that they might be able to help out with.

Just in time for this season’s particularly harsh winter, the Bourne Department of Public Works made an investment that has helped them better assist the police and fire department as they respond to emergency calls.

Bourne Department of Public Works superintendent George W. Sala said radio scanners were purchased and installed in six of the department’s plow and sanding trucks.

When a storm hits, those six trucks with the scanners are dispatched: one to each of the town’s six villages. The truck driver can then monitor calls, along with Mr. Sala in his supervisor truck and Michelle L. Freeman back at the DPW office.

If an emergency call comes in, the DPW driver can head to where the call came from or send another truck if that driver is closer to the scene of the incident. Use of the scanners in the trucks eliminates the time it takes for the police and fire departments to call the DPW and request a sander and plow be sent to a specific area, Mr. Sala said.

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Mr. Sala said the DPW has long been monitoring police and fire calls from the office, but not directly from the trucks.

“So if we’re monitoring them from the trucks, we can get there a lot faster,” he said.

Bourne Fire Chief Martin Greene concurred that the DPW has been monitoring emergency calls for several years now. The chief said that he found out about the new scanners during a recent conversation with Mr. Sala.

“Apparently, the DPW has different crews in different parts of town, and when he [Mr. Sala] hears of an emergency in a certain part of town, he sends a crew there,” Chief Greene said.
He noted that during a snowstorm, the fire department can get anywhere from a dozen to 18 calls during the day, so having the DPW monitor his department’s emergency calls and provide assistance by clearing the road to where the call came from is a huge help.

He said that the stretchers paramedics strap victims to tend to be top heavy, so not having to carry a stretcher through four feet of snow is a help. Making a home more readily accessible allows paramedics to offer medical care quicker, and makes things safer for patients and the rescue workers, he said.

The chief also said that he is aware of fire departments in other towns that have encountered problems answering emergency calls this winter because of the substantial snow that has fallen. He said that, as far as he is concerned, the Bourne DPW has done an outstanding job keeping the roads clear this winter.

“I have no complaints,” he said.

Bourne Deputy Fire Chief Joseph J. Carrara echoed the chief’s sentiments. Mr. Carrara said that whatever the season and whatever the emergency situation, be it downed trees or snow, the DPW does “whatever they can with the resources they have to assist the fire department.”

“Our calls are emergencies, so we don’t have the luxury of prioritizing. Each call is an emergency, and the less time we take to get there, the better it is all-around, and the safer it will be for our people,” he said.

Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside said that his department does not rely quite so heavily on the DPW. The chief said that police vehicles are smaller and more maneuverable than those used by the fire department, so they do not run into the same issues in trying to get around during a snowstorm.

“We get pretty much where we need to get,” he said.

The chief did commend the DPW on its snow removal efforts during this particularly harsh winter season.

“They do an exemplary job, and generally, it is one of the best relationships we have in town; they do a spectacular job,” he said.

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